Deep Imprints

Your Workplace is your Ministry

The Hardest Words I’ve Ever Said

Did I say that?Some people hate to say

  • “I’m sorry” or
  • “I was wrong”

Those aren’t my thing. It is easy for me to admit fault in those ways.

However, even typing this next sentence is emotionally trying. I hate to say “I don’t know.”

And, I’m married to a very inquisitive man. He asks questions – usually until he hits the bottom of the barrel with me. For years, he put me in a panic. I hated to say those dreaded words so much that I’d cause a fight just to avoid saying them.

You might know that panic – your blood races, your brain feels like someone turned on the AM static, and your chest feels like something is trying to crawl out of it. No matter what I did, when I could sense that final question coming – the one I couldn’t answer – the panic would start, and panic gives rise to adrenaline, which fuels our fight or flight response.

Some would say it is a pride thing. It probably is. We all have them. Some women don’t want to be caught without makeup, some of us can’t stand to admit we were  wrong, or own up to the damage we’ve done in others. My panic was as personal to me as yours is to you.

Then I discovered a work around. In recent months, I’ve expanded my abilities. Today you might hear me say:

  • “I don’t have anymore information on that”
  • “You have reached the end of my knowledge on the topic”
  • “That’s all I’ve got” and even
  • “I’ve got nothin'”

People are important. If our failure to say those very hard words means something to them, it should mean something to us. If we have phrases that send our adrenaline into an instant polka routine, then we need to face our fears and find a better approach.

What is it that you hate to say? Would it help to find some workarounds?\



  1. As for questions that get my heart beating and my stomach in a knot, the first and foremost is not even a question. “We need to talk,” twists me in knots. What did I do now? is my first thought. The question has an ominous quality to it that bodes no good. I truly need a workaround in my bodily response.

  2. Janet W.

    30/09 at

    How about the spouse who just keeps asking, and asking, and asking – much like the inquisitive child. The answers simply provide more questions, which eventually start running in circles, until the questioner catches an apparent inconsistency, and then gets mad at the dishonesty.
    the hardest words then turn into “you have asked this enough times. You don’t need to do this anymore.”
    Obvious flaws, but not in transparency.

    • Kim

      30/09 at

      Janet – great perspective and I see where it might look like that. We tend to be a science household, so our questions aren’t juvenile or repetitive. Usually they have a tendency to touch the exact point of the other’s ignorance. I have learned to ask questions – like “what do you think the answer to that is?” That sort of question seems to work no matter the level of the quiz (for the toddlers as well as brainiac teens and spouses.) Thanks for continuing the conversation!

  3. Great coaching post!

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