if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all

I remember when I first heard the first part of this adage. It wasn’t from my mom, it was from my first grade teacher who had 34 kids just learning what words would get a laugh. Her goal was simply to head off a few mean insults.

When you’re talking to 5-year-olds, you need to keep it simple.

But when we grow up, we are smart enough to not be mean and also to think of conversation that is … you know … not stupid.

Here’s my drama student daughter in a conversation that makes this point, and maybe another one.

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do your laundry or die alone author becky blades

Becky Blades, Author of Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone, and contributor to Huffington Post, Oprah.com, Scary Mommy, and Grown & Flown.