Encouraging Words “Could I speak to the manager?” My friend’s sudden query to our waitress startled me. Our dinner at a popular pizza restaurant had seemed uneventful, and I wondered what Eileen was up to. The manager appeared at our table a few minutes later. “What can I do for you?” she asked hesitantly, as if she were expecting yet another reprimand from an angry customer. “I just want to you to know that our waitress tonight has been really exceptional,” Eileen began. Then she described several things our server had done that impressed her. The manager was obviously relieved – and delighted. So was the waitress, who was standing nearby. The four of us laughed and chatted for a few minutes. Eileen had made the day of two hard-working women… and left an indelible impression on me of the power of positive words. When we think about our words, it’s easy to focus on the ones we’d like to retrieve. Fortunately, however, there are certain phrases that are almost always the right thing to say – words that communicate love and encouragement. Here are a few: “You do that really well.” “May I pray for you right now?” “How are you, really?” “What you said helped me.” “I was wrong.” “Thanks for leading/serving.” “Have I offended you?” “I appreciate the way you ________.” “What can I do to help?” “Tell me about your day, job, kids….” “Please forgive me.” “I still love you.” “God is big enough to ________.” “I’m proud of you.” “You’re really growing.” “Please come over for dinner.” “I missed you.” “I’m so happy for you.” “I prayed for you today.” “That must have been very difficult.” “I’ll be glad to!” In short, if there are words you’d like to hear, it’s a good bet they would encourage others, too.