It's Not How You Say It, It's What You Say
We all know the cliched adage, "It's not what you say, it's how you say it." We're all told time and time again that it's okay to be critical as long as you're polite about it. But that's not true. I think what you say and your general mindset for why you'd say it are far more important.
People are generally good at interpreting BS. That's why there's the critical grandma stereotype, and all the jokes associated with it. You know what I'm talking about. The "sweet" old lady who says nothing but insults, but acts like she couldn't be happier. This character makes its way back into novels and TV shows and movies repeatedly, because the audience immediately understands what's going on.
We instinctively pick up on what's fake and what's genuine. It's part of our nature! So when someone's being rude or critical or generally negative, we know. You probably have a "friend" that comes to mind whenever you're thinking of this, too. There's always someone who thinks they can get away with the whole "it's not what you say, it's how you say it" thing. But they can't. It's not about how you say it. It's all about what you say.
We get syntax. We know people. We understand what people mean when they say certain things in particular ways at specific moments. And what's really interesting is that we typically understand the type of mindset someone has when they're saying something negative and try to cover it up with a happy tone, or when someone continually over-qualifies whatever confrontational thing they're trying to spit out.
When someone's negative, especially when that negativity is a part of everything they say and do, it shows. We can tell. It means that this person has a pessimistic, hurtful, negative, and/or hateful outlook on most things. Who wants to be around that?
It's not how you say it, it's what you say. If you want to be kind to others, if you want to build quality and productive conversations, if you want to constructively create anything with anybody, you've got to check your general mindset and what's coming out of your mouth.
Nobody wants to be around the person that sugarcoats snide remarks. Everybody wants to be around the person that finds good in every situation.
There's a cliche that fits here nicely. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Your mom was right! If you can't say anything good, people will pick up on it, and they won't want to be around you. This affects everything from your relationships to your job opportunities, and everything in between!
It's not how you say it, it's what you say, because what you say to people is a direct representation of your own morals and personality traits. It's not how you say it, it's what you say, because how you interact with and treat people around you shows what kind of person you are. It's not how you say it, it's what you say, because people pick up on BS. Nobody wants to be around someone's who's faking in an ill attempt to cover up their insults and what they really think of you.
If you're around someone who can't say anything nice, don't spend time with them at all! That kind of negativity will only ever bring you down. And if you're the kind of person who's constantly negative, to yourself or to others, work on fixing that! Instead of speaking, don't. Instead of being snarky, shut up. You're only hurting people with what you say.
It's not how you say it, it's what you say. If what you say isn't going to better someone's day, why say it?