If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…


“I have a simple philosophy. Fill what’s empty. Empty what’s full. And scratch where it itches.”–Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Clairee Belcher in “Steel Magnolias” was paraphrasing Alice Roosevelt Longworth when she said, “If you can’t say anything nice, come sit next to me.”

Alice’s version was “If you haven’t anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” *

There’s the snarky “If you can’t say anything nice, just point and laugh” or the smarmy “If you can’t say anything nice, sit there and look pretty.”

I even found a book on Amazon called “If you can’t say anything nice, say it in Yiddish.”

In “Bambi,” sweet little Thumper said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

I’m going to stick with “If you can’t say anything nice, give your mouth the day off.”

*Alice was something of a handful to her father, Theodore Roosevelt. ┬áHe was once asked by a visiting dignitary about parenting his spitfire of a daughter and he replied, “I can be President of the United States, or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both.”

5 thoughts on “If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

  1. Jennifer (Word Witch) Johnson

    I agree, Ashley. No matter what people say, you can’t take back hurtful words. And you can’t unsay something that tears a piece of someone’s heart. What if we all acted as if our purpose in this world was to build each other up in love? Because that really is our purpose here.

  2. Heather Bradley

    In Bambi, when Thumper first meets the young fawn, he begins to make fun of him. Thumper;s mother then reminds him of their rule which he then repeats. In honor of that very wise parent, whenever I sense that my children are going to say something untoward or unkind, I simply say 2 words, “Thumper’s mother.” These 2 gentle words remind them that there is a wealth of experience behind every action of which they are not privy and unforeseen sorrows lying ahead on a person’s journey, Sometimes, the simplest, kindest act is to not judge, but to smile and move forward.


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