Life constantly requires us to give other people some hugely awkward messages: that we don’t love them anymore; that we do love them (though we’re not meant to); that they smell a bit; that they’re fired; that we’re furious with them (though we adore them) or that their music is too loud…
Often, out of embarrassment, we just stay quiet. Occasionally we explode. And typically, we stumble about, looking for the right words – dreading that we didn’t find them and thereby causing more hurt than we should.
This is a book to help us locate the best possible words to get across a range of life’s most difficult messages. With twenty case studies drawn from relationships, friendships, work, our families and service situations, we are gently shown what we might – in an ideal world – find ourselves saying to make our intentions known while causing minimal harm. We are guided, among other topics, to how best to end a relationship, how to make it up with a child and how gently to let down a friend who wants more.
We laugh, we recognise our troubles – and we’re introduced to a range of deeply empathetic ways to navigate some of our most acute social dilemmas.