Hissy Fit - March 2019
Little Word: BIG PROBLEM
March 2019 Issue
I don’t like it a bit. That little comment—usually women—make. “I read your little magazine.” “How’s your little project coming along?” “Is your little problem working itself out?” “I just love your little house!” “I enjoyed your little retreat.” “Congratulations on your engagement and your little ring is so cute.”
I can’t be the only one who hears the venom coming out of these pseudo compliments. Or, maybe that’s just the way some people talk, and it is not meant to belittle, but it does—literally. It’s that one little word in thrown in to weaken and downplay. The word: Little.
Fact: The word little is negative. No matter how thoughtful or sincere of a person you may be, by using the word little in your compliments and comments, you are negating your genuineness and diminishing the compliment. According to Merriam-Webster, little is defined as: “Small in condition, distinction, or scope; narrow; not much; small in importance or interest; trivial.”
Small in importance?
Is this the purpose of your sentiment?
Now that we are perfectly clear about the definition, let’s agree on something: Unless you are referring to a baby, puppy, kitten, black dress, bikini, or sports car, the word “little” is inappropriate, demeaning, and basically bitchy, which is a reflection on you. Never use the word little to describe what someone believes in, has or does. Even in the examples listed, consider proceeding with caution.
Compliments are supposed to make someone feel good, or at least better. There is nothing positive about little and it doesn’t sound cute either, which is another derogatory word in most cases, especially if you are referring to a grown woman.
We interrupt this article for a sidebar on cute:
Ribbons in little girls’ hair are cute; a ball gown is not. If you’re just not that creative, or your vocabulary is underdeveloped, here are a few suggestions to tuck in that little brain of yours (See. Mean, huh? Point taken?): Beautiful, pretty, stunning, gorgeous, wow, dynamite, ravishing, hot, splendid, and if you must, awesome and amazing—anything but cute. Or there’s always the option of doing what all our mothers taught us: If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.
Back to Little:
I’m not sure of the origin of little being used in this context. Some may think it’s just darling, perhaps even precious, however, it is a biting habit. If you sincerely have a compliment for someone, then say it like you mean it. If you don’t mean it then it's best to keep your thoughts to yourself.
For comparison, let’s read those same comments sans little: “I read your magazine.” “How’s your project coming along?” “Is your problem working itself out?” “I just love your house!” “I enjoyed your retreat.” “Congratulations on your engagement and your ring is stunning.”
Not only do these comments sound kind, sincere and caring, they also come across more intelligent and open-minded. There is a pronounced difference.
Bottom line: Women need to talk to women better. It’s easy to tell who the strong women are. They are the ones building one another up instead of tearing each other down. The Dalai Lama said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” It doesn’t take any more energy to be nice, and it offers a much better outcome for everyone.
Well, that’s it; short and sweet…some may even say little.