“People don’t remember what you say; they remember how you make them feel.”
I forgot who said that, but I thought of it this weekend.
Saturday night a friend and I walked into a pub. There were no free tables so we asked to join another group at their table.
They said yes.
We sat down.
And to be friendly, I started a conversation.
After just a few minutes one girl stopped in the middle of her sentence and cried, “My English is terrible!”
What was going on?
Four adults: three girls, one guy. Office workers. Early thirties. And all English speakers.
In fact, one guy used to live in Florida and one of the girls was paying a private teacher every week for lessons.
Here’s my interpretation: they had “English Baggage.”
In English, if something bad happened to a person, and it still affects him today, we say, “He has emotional baggage.”
Imagine a man with a bag of negative memories that he carries with him everywhere.
Well, it’s the same with some English speakers.
But instead of memories of a violent ex-boyfriend or an alcoholic mother, their baggage contains memories of a mean high school teacher, a bad test score, or classmates who laughed when they made a mistake.
Did this group in the pub make mistakes?
Maybe. I guess. I don’t remember.
All I remember is that I felt uncomfortable talking with them.
Why did I feel uncomfortable?
Because they were uncomfortable.
And emotions are contagious.
So what’s more important than the third conditional?