Cringing in My Car

Chances are you’ve been here before.  You’re sitting with a group of friends or acquaintances swapping stories.  You share something that’s personal or shows your personality, and it seems OK at the time.  As you leave, you start to replay the conversation in your head.  You begin to pick apart what you said… it was too personal, it wasn’t accurate, it was dumb… Etc.

You get in your car and cringe.  You think…“OMG, did I really say that?”

“I hope they don’t share that with someone else.”

“I can’t believe I said that! I barely know these people.”

The conversation replays over and over in your head. You start to make up stories about how others interpreted your words.  Soon,  you’re torturing yourself with thoughts of what you think others are thinking of you.

Before long you’ve spent minutes, hours, maybe even days thinking about it. 

This happened to me a few nights ago when I was sitting with a group of friends at a restaurant here in town.  One friend shared how another woman had mocked her at the gym.  I made a comment, in jest, about “punching that gal in the face,” if she ever mocked my friend again (sometimes I have all the maturity of a 12-year-old boy).  I didn’t think about it at the time, however, as we left and I got in my car, my voice of inner doubt kicked in.

“Alex, seriously, punch someone in the face? Are you twelve?”

“Don’t we have enough violence in the world without you perpetuating the concept?”

“She’s got to think you a total dork now.”

“I’ve never punched anyone in real life!”

“How are these women supposed to take you seriously? You are part of a group of women that seeks to empower and inspire other women. Could you have said anything less empowering or dumb?”

I  drove home, cringing all the way.   I couldn’t stop beating myself up about saying something so dumb. I fell asleep thinking about it.

I woke up thinking about it. I was driving myself crazy. I didn’t want my friend to think less of me for a stupid comment I made.

What am I going to do? Let it go? Say something? What the heck would I say?

It hits me…

What would happen if I told her I’m cringing, thinking about what I said? 

I decided to find out.

I texted her and told her everything.  I explained the comment that was bugging me and why it was bugging me. I told her that I didn’t mean to sound like a 12-year-old boy.  I told her that the comment was my immature way of saying “Man, I hate it that she said something nasty to you.  What can I do to help you have a conversation with her about it, so it doesn’t happen again?”

I was vulnerable with her. 

She responded immediately, saying she didn’t think I was dumb and she didn’t mind the comment.  She interpreted the comment as me expressing that I had her back.  She told me not to think another thing of it.

I felt so much better. 

We had an emoji laugh about it. More importantly, our relationship deepened a level because I was able to go to her and say;

“Hey, I said this thing, and I’m driving myself crazy with worry about how you interpreted it, and I need you to know that.”

I could’ve saved myself so much discomfort if I’d sent that text as soon as the cringing started.

The thing is, it’s scary to admit to someone else that you said something you didn’t mean, feel uncomfortable with or that you are worried about what they’re thinking of you.

It’s even scarier to think about what we do to ourselves and what we are missing when we don’t say our truths, fears, worries, out loud.

Today, I’m challenging myself and YOU to spend less time cringing in the car.

Let’s make the call.  Let’s send the text or have the conversation in the moment.   Let’s be vulnerable with our words and stories.  I think we’ll find that, more often than not, our cringing wasn’t necessary and our relationships with each other are better for it.





2 replies
  1. Lisa pay
    Lisa pay says:

    Yes!!! Don’t let the crazy take root! I love how you doubled down on the vulnerability by publishing the whole thing for the world to see. How awesome is that? Gives everyone permission to be human and let vulnerability and finding our voice be the way out. thank you 🙂


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