Scripts for Tricky Situations

There are plenty of tricky situations in life. Here, I’m talking specifically about little scenarios – both personal and professional – where it sometimes pays to be a bit delicate or diplomatic. Most of the time, honesty is the best policy. But honesty comes served in many different forms, and ours is going to be coated in sugar and perfectly palatable.

Of the people I’ve canvassed, not everyone agrees with my suggestions below. That’s fine, there is no singular response that is going to suit everyone. After having people write in their own tricky situations, along with a smattering of my own, I have devised the following responses to help you navigate tricky waters and let you emerge unscathed (and with all your hair).

Hair fail

girl at hairdressers foils.jpg

The situation:  

Your hairdresser has royally messed up. You brought in five photos and clearly articulated the exact shade of colour you were after. They foil, rinse and dry… and it’s hideous.  (My employer at the time told me, “The colour really washes you out.” Bless her blunt soul)

Your thought:

Did you even listen to what I said? Now I have to wear your incompetency on my head.

Your response:

“This isn’t quite what we discussed. How about I let it settle over night and if it’s still not right in the morning, I’ll come back in and we can fix it?”

Set the tone for your dissatisfaction: No big smiles or effusive thank yous. Be polite and then call up in the morning and book in for a correction.

Second date

The situation:  

You went on a date. You thought he was nice. You even contemplated a second date for a second. But you didn’t really connect, if you’re being honest with yourself. And if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no. Now here he is, texting about a second date. He definitely doesn’t deserve a ghosting. You need to decline in the kindest way possible.

Your response:

“It was lovely to meet you but I got more of a friends vibe.”

Toilet etiquette

 Science Gallery Melbourne

Science Gallery Melbourne

The situation:

Someone knocks on the toilet door while you are on the toilet.

Your response:

“Occupied!”


Genital Warts Waiting to Happen

The situation:  

You love your waxer. She plays good music and you talk about renovations while she is inflicting pain upon you. She doesn’t wear gloves. If it were a leg, you might be more understanding. But it’s not and you’re not.

Your thought:

Put on some damn gloves! I don’t want to catch anything.

Your response:

“I think it might be more comfortable for both of us if you wore gloves.”

Seriously, if they’re not wearing gloves after your polite request, get a new waxer.

Anaphylaxis Eat Your Heart Out

The situation:

Someone comes to the front counter to serve you and they are already wearing gloves. They look like they have olive juice on them. These gloves must not touch your food. 

Your thought:

Today’s not a good day for food poisoning.

 Your response:

“I have allergies. Would you mind changing your gloves?”

Cold Coffee, Needy Barrista

 Full bodied with a soapy aftertaste

Full bodied with a soapy aftertaste

The situation:

You ordered a coffee. It arrived cold and terrible. Now the validation-seeking barista is asking how you enjoyed your lukewarm drink.

Your thought:

Do you actually want genuine feedback on your crappy coffee?

Your response:

Alright, thanks.

(They don’t want genuine feedback).

Office Slacker

The situation:

An office co-worker is constantly trying to palm off their tasks on you.  

Your thought:

What work do you actually do around here?

Your response:

“I’m not sure if I have capacity to take on this project but I’m more than happy to take on a support role.”

Skirting the Truth 

The situation:

A pushy sales assistant has been hovering outside your change room. You tried the shirt. It was bunchy around the sleeves and vaguely resembled maternity wear. She asks how you went.

You think:

Ugh can you not be here please.

Your response:

“Fine thanks, I’ll have a think about it.”

You definitely will not.

Phone Addict

The situation:

You are on a date. First, to be exact. Your date keeps checking their phone during your conversation.

You think:

We are not going on a second date.

Your response:

“Are you expecting an important call?”

Name Game 

The situation:

You keep forgetting someone’s name.

You think:

Crap crap crap. Not again. Was it Marilyn? Do I take a stab? How many times am I allowed to forget a person’s name?

Your response:

“Hey do you have any nicknames?”

Windscreen Wiper

The situation:

You’re stopped at traffic and a dishevelled man makes a bee-line for your windscreen. He is holding a wiper. You don’t want your window cleaned.

Your response:

Wave your arm no firmly. Mouth ‘no’. If they proceed, despite your protests, do not pay. You said no.

No Split Bills

The situation:

You’re at a Vietnamese restaurant. You go to pay and discover the place doesn’t split bills. If you pay on your card, you’ll be chasing people up forever. And it’s always a little uncomfortable chasing someone for $7.50. So basically you are paying for everyone’s meal.

Your response:

Immediately choose one person (don’t be vague and suggest “someone pay on card”). Offer to transfer them right now. Get your phone out and pay.

Dating Fail

The situation:

You are five minutes into a date from Hinge. He is intolerable. You have to get out of there before he makes one more needless remark about your lifestyle.

If someone is so insufferable that you must abandon the date five minutes in, they must be pretty damn bad. In this case, what you say doesn’t really matter. If you bump into this person in the future, you will be crossing the road. Just don’t stoop to your date’s level. You’re better than that.

You think:

Why did I not vet this guy with a phone call? Amateur.

Your response:

“Hey I’ve got to head off sorry. Enjoy the rest of your day.”

(For anyone a bit boring or odd, you can probably do the decent thing and stay for thirty minutes of mind-numbing small chat.)

Between Jobs

The situation

You’re effectively unemployed but let’s not call it that. You’re having a hard time and it’s only exacerbated every time someone asks “what are you up to these days?”

You think:

Lying on the couch, pondering my existence.

Your response:

“Taking some time to decide where I want to go next with my career.”

How would you respond to these scenarios? Let me know below!

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