Danger in a Tone

That old adage, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it,” is so very true. It’s that tone we use that can make all the difference in the world. I don’t think most of us give much thought about how we sound or come off to others. And it’s not just the verbal tone we use, but also the tone we use in print, especially in our e-mails and texts.

Tone represents the mood we are currently in, but not necessarily how we actually feel toward the people or subject we are dealing with at the time. So if we are in a bad mood then how we deal with the people around us verbally or in print will have a hard and sometimes nasty edge to it. This can cause a lot of problems at work and in our private lives. And this can especially be devastating when dealing with children or very sensitive people.

Sometimes it’s hard to know when our tone is off because we are busy people, and always in a hurry. We speak or text very fast before we have really processed all information. Yours truly has made that mistake many times. Usually this happens to me when I get caught up in a situation that I feel is critical and the other person has a different view.

So what do we do about keeping our tone smooth and cordial? “SMILE.” That’s right. Before you open your mouth, or write that offensive line, smile first. It’s pretty hard to say or write anything in a mean tone while smiling.

It doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves to be kind and gentle toward others. We all have stressful days, but a bad or really cruel tone can throw another human off into misery, and I don’t think any of us ever mean to do that.

Life can be hard, so put that smile on your face and let’s watch out for one another.

“Tone has the living soul.” ~ Shinichi Suzuki

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26 thoughts on “Danger in a Tone

  1. That’s why I use lots of ‘Smiley’s’ in my writing Michele, it always infers my comments are given with a gentle 😀 or loving place ❤ , not meant as an affront or aggravated place 😀
    Mind you, even then it can touch awkward places 😀

  2. tric says:

    How true. I rarely have to raise my voice at home, it’s all in how I say it. I also have a face that looks cross when I don’t smile, which can also put people off!

  3. Monochrome nightmares says:

    A wonderful piece of
    writing Michele. 😃

  4. smilecalm says:

    great reminder, Michele!
    when words are not
    going to work
    i really try to have
    a positive tone
    to my smile 🙂

  5. Val Boyko says:

    I agree Michele 😊
    I also recall in a training session for a call center, to always smile before answering the phone. It lifts the tone of our voice. People can hear a smile !

  6. Michelle says:

    That old saying treat others as you want to be treated comes to mind when I read this. We all want people to talk to us from a happy smiley place so we should do the same. Thanks for reminding us to treat others kindly.

  7. You’re welcome, Michelle. We need to remind ourselves of this for sure.

  8. inesephoto says:

    Absolutely agree with you. Say no word without testing it with your smile 🙂

  9. Thank you, Marie, for your wonderful comment! It really does make a difference when we smile.

  10. This is great advice – to smile first. I think kids are really keen on tone. When I think I am hiding my bad mood, my daughter always calls me out on my tone. She’ll say that I sound angry…even if the words don’t sound angry, my tone does.

  11. So true, Elysha. My granddaughters catch my tone too, and so I have found that the smile really does work. It brightens my mood too.

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