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Shut it down: How to get your fam to stop saying things that annoy you

You know how it goes: You’re having an awesome afternoon, totally rocking your English essay to the merry tune of “this gal is totally getting an A+ on this paper”…until your mom pops her head in. Before she even opens her mouth, you know by the look on her face what sort of sentence is gonna rear its ugly head. And you’re cringing already. Here’s how to make this time the last time.


“Honey, why didn’t you blow your hair out this morning? It makes you look so much prettier.”

You know you look pretty when you make more of an effort, but you don’t think you look any less lovely going sans makeup or curled hair or high-heeled shoes—and it sure does hurt when anyone infers otherwise.

Say this: “I know you don’t mean to hurt my feelings, but when you phrase it like that, it doesn’t sound like a compliment to me. Instead, it feels like you’re criticizing the way I look, and that makes me feel bad about myself.”


“A B-? Your brother aced that class a few years ago! You should be doing better.”

The kicker is you worked your bum off all year, and since this teacher is super hard, you’re super proud of your grade. Who cares if it’s not the perfect score your sibling received way back when? Not this girl! You earned every single point you got.

Say this: “It’s great that Sam did so well in that class, but I did great, too. I’m really proud of the grade I received, and it would make me so happy if you could be proud of it, too.”


“Oh, Aaron, I didn’t know you were coming over! Behave yourselves, you two.”

The thing is, Aaron is your best guy friend, and has been since you were in 1st grade. He’s practically your brother, but for some reason, your Mom likes to pretend you have this romantic thing going on. And it is So. Embarrassing.

Say this: “I know you think it would be cute if Aaron and I started dating, and maybe we will, someday, but right now, he’s like a brother to me. It really embarrasses me when you imply that something else is going on—could you please not do that?”




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BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 3/23/2014 12:00:00 AM


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