5 Ways to Bounce Back After Saying the Wrong Thing


Head in HandsI didn’t earn the nickname “Tourettes” for my great small-talk skills. If there is a way to accidentally offend someone, I will find it. Here are some of my favorites:

When I took my daughter Katherine, whom my husband and I named after my grandmother and my great grandmother, two very strong women in our family tree whom I wanted to celebrate in my girl’s name, to meet her third-grade teacher, the teacher asked her, “What would you like to be called?”

She responded, “Katie.”

Taken aback, I immediately retorted, “No! No, no, no! … You don’t want to be called Katie! … Katherine is so much more sophisticated.” I went on and on why she should not be called Katie. (I do like the name Katie for every Katie who is reading this, but I was attached to Katherine for heritage reasons.)

What I didn’t realize is that the teacher’s name was Katie.

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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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4 Responses
  1. John Diehl

    I was given the nickname “loose cannon” for speaking my thoughts. Then I was placed on the “need to know” list, as in “doesn’t need to know,” because I might spout a contrary opinion, or have an anxiety attack followed by a depressive bout.

    Since my youth, I had/have a greater problem with doing the wrong thing: actions and especially inaction. I still carry guilt and remorse from 40 years ago for things I should’ve/ could’ve done. Maybe I’ll start dropping rocks in the lake.

    1. Therese Borchard

      That’s funny, John. There is a beer “Loose Cannon” 🙂 If you drop the rocks, just don’t steal them from the Naval Academy. Still have guilt on that one.

      1. liberty920

        I left a comment that is waiting for moderation, concerning a recent exchange with a bank teller. I’ve been feeling down all day about something I said that was taken the wrong way; it was clarified with the receiver the moment I said it but I still feel bad. Christmas is just days away and I do not want to carry this around for a week. I feel that going back and trying to re-clarify or apologize would just make things worse. For all I know she may have put it our of her mind already.


  2. Rod

    I can relate to this in a most sincere way. A few years ago, I went to see my Dr that had just previously prescribed me an anxiety med to replace one that I had stopped and I never told him I stopped it since it seemed like no big deal. Three weeks later I came down with withdrawals that I in no way linked to the stoppage of my anxiety med the previous weeks ago. My Dr never asked about whether I was still taking my previous anxiety med and gave me one that was too short acting. I went to see him a day before I was going out of town because I wasn’t able to see him on my next scheduled appt and when I arrived my anxiety med had worn off and I was very depressed as a result. I ended up saying the wrong thing and he carelessly prescribed a combo of dangerous meds that caused me to have a severe reaction that has left me clinging to life a couple of years later. I personally feel it ruined my life and the Dr admitted it was his bad advice. I have deeply regretted this and it haunts me to this day, this has been a most painful lesson and one that is impossible to forget.