Service of the Best Way to Say ……

August 26th, 2021

Categories: Bad News, Firing, Job Hunt, Jobs, Quit, Words

You don’t have good news to share and you want to say something positive but the bottom line is that there’s nothing upbeat or cheerful about the conversation. How do you best construct your words?

For example:

You accept a job with a dream position in the wings that finally comes through after a few weeks. How do you word your exit?

A longtime advisor at a prestigious company moves to a tiny unknown firm and you have solid reasons not to follow. What do you say to her/him?

The chef comes over to your table and asks “how is dinner?” and it’s barely OK. You smile and respond what?

A tech person at a doctor’s office is nice but subpar. How do you tell the doctor so that the person doesn’t retaliate the next time you go?

Can you add other scenarios in which you want to carefully choose you words? How would you address some of the ones in this post?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

4 Responses to “Service of the Best Way to Say ……”

  1. Martha Takayama Said:

    Perhaps the easiest of the situations listed to handle is the gracious job exit. You can show appreciation and enthusiasm for your experience and regret that you simply must move on for a multitude of personal and career reasons. Be gracious above all.
    In deciding not to follow someone to a new firm you might say that at present you are simply not able
    to contemplate any (more)large changes at least at this time because the pandemic itself has proved to be a minefield of unanticipated circumstances and events. As always be gracious and leave open the possibility of following up with person perhaps, maybe, one day…
    As for responding about a meal, it is not really terribly important unless you are a frequent or long time customer to say much. A faint smile and a nod that it’s “fine” is sufficient. The “kiss”method.
    Dealing with personnel such as a doctor’s assistant or any assistant to any person who i powerful and important to you is much harder. I do know that many young doctors I have spoken with have said that beloved senior doctors used to knowingly keep terrifyingly mean and contrary secretaries as a . form of protection for the demands made on them and their time. Nowadays if you believe that patient satisfaction surveys remain anonymous you can deal with medical personnel that way.
    I find it difficult to be pressured to accept inviations that I feel are unsafe durig Covids. I just remain firm even when pressure, because I think it is selfish and thoughtless if people don’t understand refusals.
    Everyone is terrible stressed and frazzled over minor issues, and I think the best thing to do is to try in so far as possible to remain gracious.

  2. lucrezia Said:

    Life is full of potentially embarrassing moments, to downright dangerous ones, all depending upon what one may say. It gets worse when dealing with a different culture, and a seemingly bland comment morphs into an unforgivable insult, and one watches a promising association fall dead. There’s no insurance against saying the wrong thing, but the use of a nod or enquiring demeanor can prevent disaster. One friend successfully escaped most difficulties by making conciliatory sounds. One’s mind is not always as nimble as one would like, so sometimes silence is the best policy. The humble admission of being at a loss for words often keeps one out of trouble.

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Superb suggestions. I was thinking along the same lines as your comment to the person who isn’t getting a former customer’s business at his/her new firm. I love the faint smile and nod to the chef!

    I so miss my retired principal doctor. He had longtime lovely nurses/receptionists. Grouchy tech assistants aren’t my favorites but worse are the ones who don’t know what they are doing so that the doctor is not getting accurate test results on which he/she makes crucial decisions.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Years ago we visited a Massachusetts inn for lunch because Homer knew the new owner and wanted to be supportive. The owner came over to greet us and to ask how we liked what we’d chosen so far. My beet soup was a stunning color with zero taste. I managed a bright smile and admired the amazing color. I should have shoved another spoonful in my mouth, nodded and smiled. If someone had boiled a beet and put it in a food processor–that’s it–the result would have had more taste than this. I wondered if he’d bothered to taste what his chef was serving.

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