JEN: I’m more of a hippy, crunchy granola person.
BRIAN: Yeah well I’m more of a greasy bacon kind of guy.
People love labels. You can label anything! Put it in a category and you’ll probably spark some interesting or humorous conversation. Labels already come pre-loaded with meanings, memories, and feelings. People love to put complex things (people or situations) in nice little packages and compartments. You can even label actions or intentions. Labels and references can also help improve your exaggerations. You may disclose: “I haven’t gotten a pedicure in quite a while.” But you could exaggerate the severity by saying: “It looks like a crime scene down there! CSI might be showing up soon.”
A teacher was complaining about teacher appreciation week. Instead of just saying she didn’t like it, she said “It’s teacher appreciation week…but it should be called shove donuts in your face week. That’s all I get all week – and it’s not helping my diet.”
You’re at a carnival. Your friend wants to ride the Tilt-a-Whirl ride, but you think it’s too extreme. Instead of a boring “No,” or “I can’t handle that,” you could state, “No way. If I rode that they’d have to call it the Tilt-a-Hurl!”
Instead of saying “It’s basically a station-wagon,” try “It’s so cheaply constructed; we call it our plastic-wagon.” Or “We barely use it; we call it our grocery-getter.”
Your coworker says he’s just eating Raman noodles for lunch. You could label his food choice by commenting, “Going with the old college special huh?”
Holding the door open for someone at a party? Now you can playfully refer to yourself as the “Greeter” or “Doorman.” Do you walk up and down the stairs every day at work? Call it your “corporate aerobics.” Does your daughter take care of visiting wildlife in the backyard? You could refer to her as the “Squirrel Whisperer.”
Many labels and descriptions reference common knowledge.
INSTEAD OF SAYING: That’s a funny pose.
TRY: That’s your Michael Jackson pose.
INSTEAD OF SAYING: I can’t get past his monotone voice.
TRY: I can’t get past his Dracula voice.
INSTEAD OF SAYING: He thinks he’s so cool.
TRY: He thinks he’s Don Draper or something.
THEY SAY: Hey! We should keep that box and make a spaceship for Timmy.
TRY: Yeah…the USS Enterprise Box.
THEY SAY: I can bring Sangria.
TRY: I call Sangria the party in a glass!
If you (or someone else) add a successful label to a conversation, feel free to expand on it, explain why the label fits or does not fit, etc. For example:
JUSTIN: You always have to keep everything don’t you? You’re such a hoarder.
MELISSA: I’m not a hoarder – I’m more like a collector, but definitely not a hoarder.