Monday, September 15, 2008

Nice Girls Rule!

Most of us know the slogan, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” and I’m willing to bet every one of us has broken it at least once...

I’ll ‘fess up. I recently I tried to encourage a friend to say something totally NOT nice. We were having a restaurant lunch when in came someone who had repeatedly “mean girl’ed” my friend. And while I’m actually quite good at forgiving people who hurt or come after me, I’m part barracuda and part elephant-who-never-forgets when it comes to “my peeps.”

(Behold, an attractive reenactment of the lunch, except for the fact my friend and I do not smoke.)

Anyway, looking at the Mean Girl, the perfect line struck me. I whispered it to my friend, and dared her to go by the table and deliver it to Mean Girl, to put her in her place.

My friend laughed--yep, I’m clever--but then shook her head.

Me: “Come on, you know you want to do it.”
Her: “I couldn’t. It’s too mean.”
Me: “After all the stuff she said to you? She deserves it.”
Her: (shaking head)
Me: “I’d do it.”
Her: “Yes, Tina, I know. I’ve read your books.”

Touche. In fact, this suddenly did feel like the mall scene from Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, except my main characters are never the ones who say the mean things.

So in the end, we took the high road. Okay, my friend took the high road. And I suppose I’m sleeping better for it. And now I’m back to being nice. (I am!)

How about you? Have you ever delivered the perfect line, or had it in you, then bit your tongue until it bled?

What I’m Watching: I'm not reading anything because I'm on deadline, but I'm watching back-to-back episodes of The Office.


Tina Ferraro
How to Hook a Hottie - Book Sense Top Teen Pick
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress - Finalist, National Reader’s Choice Award


Cara King said...

So....what was the (never used) line???


Anonymous said...

I'm like you. I rarely say anything mean, at least not on purpose. It's just not worth the energy.


TinaFerraro said...

Cara, sorry, but it wasn't a good sound byte, just dead-on for the situation. You kinda had to be there, you know?

Anonymous said...

I've wanted to be snarky and rude more times than I can count, but always hold my tongue. More often than not, I'll come up with a snide comment 5 mins AFTER the fact.

TinaFerraro said...

Thanks, Janie, and yes, Celise, I usually come up with the best lines after-the-fact, too!

Janette Rallison said...

Okay, I want to hear the comment too. And I never said the mean things--but I was always telling my daughter to say them when she would come home and tell me high school stories. Luckily, my daughter has more self control than I do, so she never said the mean girl things either.

TinaFerraro said...

Yeah, writers it's our natural inclination to strive for the perfect comeback, and sometimes we're lucky enough to come up with it. But it's all about self-control, huh, and assessing whether that line would actually make you feel better...or make the situation worse.

stephhale said...

I'm always so stunned when someone verbally attacks me that I never think of the perfect comeback until ten minutes down the road. Then I'm usually itching to hunt them down and deliver it the rest of the day.