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Foot in Mouth Syndrome - debunked!

Updated: 4 days ago

There’s a famous scene in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral, which I’ve always felt encapsulates perfectly, the social affliction better known as...‘Foot in Mouth’ syndrome.

The particular scene in question, is the one where Hugh Grant asks a fellow wedding guest how his girlfriend is. When the gentleman replies ‘she’s no longer my girlfriend,’ Hugh wades in with a no-great-loss style response, only to then be told… ‘she’s now my wife!’

At this point, the will for the ground to open its gullet is palpable, and Hugh’s character’s efforts to back-track are as relatable (we’ve all done it, at some point!) as they are painful to watch!

It’s a situation which I’ve found myself in on more occasions than I’ve kept count of, and after much reflection, I can now understand that this symptom of ‘speaking before you think’…. often has some fairly complex roots.

In my case, it all stems, in part, from a fear of silence, and the resultant need to fill the conversational voids that naturally occur in social settings.

Apparently, this affliction of going all rabbit-in-the-headlights when the dialogue shows signs of drying up, is something that affects the few, and not necessarily the many.

For the constituents of the ‘few’, the engage-brain-open-mouth mechanism is all too easily crushed under the weight of silence.

It is also, most importantly, inextricably linked to self-worth, which means that ‘having nothing to say’ is a stick worthy of beating oneself with!

Having learned more about the roots of my ‘foot in mouth syndrome’, I’ve recently found myself better able to notice when I’ve fallen (or am about to fall) into the twittering trap!

Breaking this habit, by severing awkward's’ association with ‘silence’, is proving to be an ongoing and uphill process.

I’m learning to breathe through the discomfort of a perfunctory pause or two, and to not assume full responsibility for fuelling the dialogue fire.

I’m not gonna lie, the impulse to say something… ANYTHING, in times of strained exchange is proving a hard habit to unlearn.

Sometimes, it all goes to pot… and retreating to the relative safety of solitude, seems like both the only and best option, for damage limitation and self preservation alike.

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