The problem: I was at a party over the weekend and said something stupid. It wasn’t terrible, but … ack. Should I follow up or let it slide?
Low road: Call the hostess in distress and ask her, “How could you let me behave that way? I thought you had my back. Waaa!”
High road: You don’t say whether the comment was made in front of a group or to one person, but either way, I bring heartening news: Your brief lapse in social tact most likely is playing far larger in your mind than in anyone else’s. That’s because the other guests are busy gnawing their nails or metaphorically flogging themselves over their own social missteps. And this is why we love to get together!
The truth is that most of us are very hard on ourselves in social situations. I dressed too casually! I overdressed! I talked too much! I was too aloof! I ate too much! I insulted the host by not eating more! It’s amazing that anyone ever ventures out of their garage.
Step back and do a broader assessment of the evening. Did you mingle with people you like? Did you eat well or enjoy the music? That’s the big picture and it’s likely better than you thought.
If your comment was made to several people, let it go and assume that, if they are true friends, they aren’t judging you by one comment.
If you made the remark to one person in particular, I see nothing wrong, and plenty of class, in shooting him or her an e-mail such as, “It was great to see you Saturday night. You look wonderful and it was fun to catch up. I’m worried, though, that I may have unintentionally upset you when I said X. I regret it and will make a New Year’s resolution to think before I speak.” I am 99 percent sure that you will hear back soon after with a generous comment along the lines of, “Oh, I never thought twice about it! It was nice to see you, too.”
Send questions about life’s little quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more of Gail’s “High Road” columns at startribune.com/highroad