Growing up in our small family there were certain words and phrases that were not allowed. We simply were never allowed to say them. Ever. And I brought them along to my family, to my kids. They’re not used in our family.

Yet I hear them said by others – strangers and friends – and frankly, I cringe. And I see how friends can become enemies or at least no longer friends. Sad, a few words can destroy so much.

Perhaps your family had words you weren’t allowed to say. They’re not dirty words, they’re not 4 letter words, they’re simply mean spirited, unflattering, and hurtful words or phrases that don’t need to be said.

Perhaps we can bring CIVILITY back by rephrasing some of these “not so nice words and phrases.”

What are some of your words and phrases that weren’t allowed in your home?

Here are ours from years ago that I have NEVER said to anyone. Ever.

  • You’re stupid. Or even telling someone their ‘idea’ is stupid. Just never have said it. Think before you do.
  • LIAR! Yup, never said that either. Or ever called anyone that. Ever. There are so many other ways to express your thoughts on this.
  • You’re wrong! My mom taught us to say, “Well, maybe you’re right.” It really works much better.
  • Shut up! Oh my! How I cringe when I hear people use this phrase. Just not necessary. Especially to our kids. These words were never spoken in our house.

And like many of you, we never said, “I can’t” and a few other words and phrases that weren’t allowed. But I’d feel very good if we can get rid of the top 4. I believe our world might just be a bit better.

Please try it.

And let us hear your family words and phrases that were ‘forbidden’ in your house.

Have a wonderful holiday season.

Nancy Friedman

Nancy Friedman

Communication and customer service expert Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, founder and chairman of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is back in the saddle again. Well, back into live onsite programs, and still offering her ZOOM programs, in a cost saving manner. Whichever you choose, onsite or Zoom, you’ll be glad you did. The reviews are excellent, and audiences have loudly applauded her in either area. Sales, customer service and communication skills are her area of expertise, and she welcomes calls, texts, or emails. You can reach her directly at; through the website at, where you can sign up for her newsletters; or call/text directly at 314-276-1012 central time. Bring it on. Whether you need a keynote speaker or workshop/breakout speaker on customer service and communication skills, you’ll make a great choice.