I have always liked the little book Silver Boxes: the Gift of Encouragement for what it has to say about our words. Words can hurt or they can help. Which do you choose?
Then I thought about that old saying, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar". My grandmother introduced me to that proverb when I was young. Apparently it comes from Torriano's 'Common Place of Italian Proverbs' (1666). Though I suspect most of us would be more familiar with it in Benjamin Franklin's 'Poor Richard's Almanac'.
Then I thought about a person I knew as a teen who made up a honey/vinegar combination - basically tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of raw honey plus water, a freshing drink that is supposed to cure about anything that ails you.
Well you know what? It does not take a lot of vinegar to spoil the sweet taste of honey (unless you like vinegar) and it takes a bunch of honey to overpower vinegar. (I do like the mix but just thinking of the pure taste of honey vs vinegar here.) So what if I applied all of the above to my words?
When speaking to others do you serve them vinegar or honey? A mix of the two might be fine yet I suspect that then, you need to have more honey than vinegar for the vinegar-y words to be well accepted. If you mainly hand out vinegar, can you really expect people to keep coming back for more? I'll go along with the thought that a bit of vinegar might make the honey seem even better but will leave with this thought..
Remember in your relationships, whether it is friends or children:
You'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!