Twenty case studies explaining how to gently deliver a range of life’s most awkward messages while causing minimal harm.
Life constantly requires us to give other people some hugely awkward messages: that we don’t love them anymore; that we do love them (though we’re not meant to); that they smell a bit; that they’re fired; that we’re furious with them (though we adore them) or that their music is too loud...
Often, out of embarrassment, we just stay quiet. Occasionally we explode. And typically, we stumble about, looking for the right words – dreading that we didn’t find them and thereby causing more hurt than we should.
This is a book to help us locate the best possible words to get across a range of life’s most difficult messages. With twenty case studies drawn from relationships, friendships, work, our families, and social situations, we are gently shown what we might – in an ideal world – find ourselves saying to make our intentions known while causing minimal harm. We are guided, among other topics, to how best to end a relationship, how to make it up with a child, and how gently to let down a friend who wants more.
We laugh, we recognize our troubles – and we’re introduced to a range of deeply empathetic ways to navigate some of our most acute social dilemmas.
I want us just to be friends
Do you still love me?
We should break up
There’s this thing about me and sex
Yes I did have an affair
Do you want to be friends with me?
I don’t want to be friends with you anymore
I love you
I can’t take your success
Thank you for dinner
I’ve screwed up
There’s something wrong with you
Did you have a nice weekend?
Do it now!
I’m so sorry for letting you down
I love you but we have so little in common
You have to do your homework
There’s a fly in my soup
***What readers are saying:***
'This is a little gem of a book. In School of life language, (which I hear in my head as the voice of Alain de Botton) which just succinctly, and without arrogance explains some clear ways of articulating difficult conversations or thoughts with family, friends, partners, work colleagues and strangers. There’s something for everyone. Would be a perfect stocking filler gift.' – NetGalley review
'A helpful little book. Sometimes it’s so hard to find just the right words to say in difficult situations. This book can help with that.' – NetGalley review
'This is a cute short read offering many suggestions to how to get around the awkward situations that are unavoidable in life. They are bound to happen at one point or another, don't get caught off guard! This book will help you tackle these situations with grace and confidence.' – NetGalley review
'The School of Life puts out some lovely books, and this is similarly stellar. There are some golden nuggets in here about areas of life that people rarely discuss.' – Goodreads review
'A small book but with some very good advice. We all need help in delivering difficult messages, or in finding more subtle and socially acceptable ways to avoid the direct route.' – Goodreads review
'A warm, supportive book. A short read but containing plenty of moments I went back to re-read and really think about. A lovely reminder that when we're communicating, what we really want to do is extend and experience kindness – easier said than done!' – NetGalley review
"I found [this book] to be very insightful, practical, and helpful. It's a book that would make a fine addition to your library as it's one you'll want to refer to again and again as new situations arise in your life.” –NetGalley review