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The ‘don’t say it’ meme reveals our worst automatic responses in social situations

The brain is still powerless over the mouth...


Stacey Ritzen

Internet Culture

Posted on Nov 12, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 1:51 am CDT

No matter how much we’d like to tell ourselves otherwise, our silly human brains are constantly working against us when it comes to everything from bad habits, self-criticism, and procrastination to—yes—even casual conversation. So let he or she who has never had an awkward social interaction cast the first stone when it comes to this wholly relatable “don’t say it” meme, which perfectly illustrates the disconnect between our brains and our mouths.

The meme can apply to bad jokes, social faux pas, and so on, in nearly any and every situation in which saying less (or nothing, for that matter) would be better than whatever our brains are desperately trying to keep from our shameful, whore mouths—usually with unsuccessful results.

As you can see in a handful of the examples below, this can apply in interactions with everyone from coworkers to cashiers.

Although the meme really exploded in popularity over the past several days, it seems to date back to July of this year, when Twitter user @Pandamoanimum used it to illustrate the dreadful internal struggle of not wanting to talk to your cab driver, but at the same time feeling obligated to make polite small talk.

Not surprisingly, more than a few others have had similar experiences when it comes to taxi or Uber drivers:

And then, of course, there’s that stupid thing where your brain is hardwired to respond “you too” to literally any pleasantry with a server or hospitality worker.

And then there’s this excellent example, which evokes a popular old Vine:

Or this one, that delivers an absolutely scalding burn to Sarah Palin:

The “don’t say it” meme is not all that dissimilar from another one that went viral recently, the distance meme which uses emojis for people to roast their internal struggles by taking a short walk to a foregone conclusion.

Until the day we can finally all collectively get our brains in check, there will likely be no shortage of memes to poke fun at ourselves.

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*First Published: Nov 12, 2018, 2:19 pm CST