"I always say the wrong thing"



I was born with foot in mouth disease. I can always been relied upon to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, and it always takes me a few minutes to realise what I have said and the effect it has had (laughter, deathly silence, death stares just to name a few).

Today was no exception.

I work casually at a really great company full of cool and witty people. So whenever I walk in I already feel like a bit of a dork. Today we had a meeting that went on for a bit. Some of us were cracking jokes and the atmosphere was casual. Then it was announced that my direct boss was leaving the company. And I said, “When’s the party?”

Let me explain myself.

I meant to say, “When’s the send-off?” In my experience when someone leaves we meet for drinks to wish them good luck.

After delivering the news of his resignation there was a little shock and silence. I am the kind of person who is always jumping in to fill silences. And it’s in these circumstances that my foot-in-mouth disease is at its worst.

Everyone burst out laughing. It sounded like I was happy he is leaving and in actual fact I am devastated because I get along with him really well. Thankfully someone else spoke and I was left to stand there feeling ill and planning my apology.


He shrugged my apology off. He obviously knows me better than I thought.

Here’s another one.

My son was invited to a birthday party in a pretty nice part of town. I didn’t know anyone there. I took a deep breath and walked in. I introduced myself to the host and thanked her for the invite. We started talking. She made a series of references to her recent split from her son’s father and how he takes her son every other weekend. It was obviously still raw. I said, “It must be nice to have every second weekend free (from the husband and son whom you love).” Her look communicated disbelief and left me feeling a bit like a worm that had just been squashed.

Unfortunately I married the male version of myself in this regard. Instead of being able to rescue me in situations he usually out performs me by a country mile.

When we visited a relative who had recently given birth he took one look at her still large tummy and said, “Is there another one in there?”

I know, it’s mortifying. We really shouldn’t leave the house. We should just sit at home and say inappropriate things to each other. He can tell me I look fat and I can tell him he doesn’t satisfying me sexually. If we focus on insulting each other maybe we can spare the wider population.

There are too many other incidents to share here. I’m always giving an awkward kiss or going in for an unplanned hug that doesn’t quite hit the mark. I think people see me a bit like an over-excited puppy. I mean well but I fall all over myself. And I never get the joke. I always need a sec. It’s embarrassing. Was I dropped on my head?

It’s a shame really. I’d always planned to be a quiet, classy woman. I’d planned be tactful, polite and appropriate. I’d planned to be mysterious. I fail every day.

Right now let me explain how I feel. I feel a bit queasy. I feel embarrassed. I keep talking to myself. While preparing noodles for my children’s lunch I kept saying, “Why did you say that? You are such an idiot? You should never speak.” Then I’d say, “Stop it. Forget about it. Move on. It’s okay.”

I’m glad we aren’t meeting in person. I’d probably ask you when you are due (if your tummy is a little bloated) or recommend a new cleanser (if your skin is a bit spotty).

I’m never speaking again.

Jo Abi is the author of the book How to Date a Dad: a dating guide released by Hachette Livre Australia.  You can read more about her many and various exploits here and follow her on Twitter here.

Have you ever put your foot in it?

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