I’ll admit I have a tendency to say things without thinking, but doesn’t everyone? Personally, I’ve found that that the only time I give serious thought in how I want to express myself is when I’m in a debate with someone and not angry yet. Otherwise, words normally just spew out, and I simply hope that they make sense.
My first week of class during my spring semester of sophomore year, I expressed myself terribly to my new professor. It was my introduction course to public relations; the course that made me realize I wanted to pursue PR as a career. The professor started off the first few lectures by asking the class of around 150 students what we thought PR was.
I like sitting in the first few rows in class. It helps me stay engaged, I can hear the professor better, and I gain more confidence to speak because I can’t see everyone behind me. By the fourth lecture when my professor asked us what we thought PR was, I thought to myself, “I’m smart; I have thoughts! I can contribute to this conversation!” in order to mentally prepare myself to speak in front of 150 peers. After my little mental pep talk, I was ready, and I raised my hand. The professor picked me, and I knew what interesting point I wanted to make about the PR industry. I wanted to point out how now word-of-mouth is viral. People don’t trust companies when they say they’re the best. People trust people. This is why people write recommendations for everything now, and that’s what drives people’s decisions.
I guess subconsciously I had been really bothered by a bad joke that the professor kept making each lecture. He would joke about how he was “the best looking professor” at our college constantly. The first time he said it, it was funny. The fifth time he said it I found it annoying. I have no idea why I said what I said, because it wasn’t even on my mind when I was planning my comment.
When he picked me, I gave a brief explanation about how this word-of-mouth process has become viral and than I said, “For example, I’m more likely to believe that you’re an attractive professor if I saw it on RateMyProfessor.com and you had a red chili pepper featured, than if you keep telling me yourself that you’re attractive.” Word vomit. I couldn’t believe I was saying this as I said it. I didn’t even know where it came from! I was mortified for the both of us.
The professor was taken aback, but handled the comment with grace. First, he complimented me on making a good observation on how the industry is changing, and then he said something that rightfully guilt-tripped me for saying that comment. He said, “As for the whole good-looking teacher thing, I joke about that because it’s actually my biggest insecurity.”
This is why people, including me, should really thoroughly think before we speak. I decided to go to his office hours and personally apologize and luckily he was actually a really cool guy! Sometimes the things I say make me want to smack myself in the head, but I also hear other people speak and take comfort in the fact that I’m not alone in saying stupid things sometimes. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it makes me feel better.