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Lighthearted Approach to Saying What Needs to Be Said

My friend Ginna has this theory that you can say anything to anyone, no matter how difficult, if you just preface it with “Dude.” As in, “Dude, pick up after yourself" or "Dude, I need some space!"

If nothing else, the "dude" theory gets us to laugh and lighten up. It also helps the other person save face. And more often than not, it gets our point across.

The Gym Incident

Barely one day into the new year, I came this close to playing the dude card. My once-a-week personal trainer, who has also become a friend, kept dropping hints that I could be doing more to stay in shape. I get it. That’s his job.

On the other hand, I'm just there to tone up a bit—not fight Dolph Lundgren.

So as I huffed and puffed through set #3 of forward lunges with an overhead press, I cheerfully reminded James the trainer, “I’m proud to be hitting the gym on New Year's Day!” He laughed a little and said “Touché."

Spoiler alert: Later that day on my way out of the (empty) gym, James called out, "Great job as always!" Dude, that's more like it.

When was the last time you cut yourself some slack?

Notice how much easier it is to cut slack to others when you cut yourself a little slack as well—and how much easier it is to speak up, without having it turn into a battle or drama-fest.

Don't be afraid of speaking up. When the situation calls for it, be afraid of not speaking up. Better to clear the air with kindness than to suffer in silence.

Don't be afraid of speaking up. When the situation calls for it, be afraid of not speaking up. ​

Gina DeLapa

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Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at