Main page on "should"

Yesterday someone told me I should put some shelves in my room. Today I am wondering, when I "should" do that, and what I "shouldn't" do with my time instead. And I am wondering whether she thinks I "should" buy them or make them and what the priority level should be on doing that. "Should" it be more important than listening to a suicidal teenager or writing to Melissa to let her know she is in my thoughts.and remind her that her life matters to me, her feelings matter, her freedom matters? And I am wondering if the shelves "should" be wood or metal and what color they "should" be.

I suppose that if I were to start asking the person all of these questions they would feel defensive, and I don't to get into a debate. Also, this person rarely tells me what I "should" do, so I don't want them to feel msrepresented. But I do want to offer them this gentle reminider of some of the problems with uising this word "should," and of course I want to help others see this also. By the way, one of my "smart aleck" responses which I created as a defense against people telling me what I "should" do is to say, "Thanks. What else should I do? Could you make me a list?"

I could expand this by saying, "Could you start the list with what time I shoud go to be, and when I should wake up and what I should do first thing in the morning, and for the rest of the day, and for the rest of my life? In fact, is it okay with you if I call you ever time I am not sure what I should do? And would you like to talk to anyone who disagrees with you on what I should do, so I won't have to try to explain to them that I already know what I should do because I have put you in charge of my life?

I feel pretty sure that this will help a few people stop saying "should" so much, or at least will help them be more aware of the use of the word.

S. Hein
Podgorica, Montenegro
Feb 3, 2009


Now I have a dilemna. I don't know what I "should" do right now! "Should" I finish posting this or go see someone who I promised to meet. I am afraid I will be late...hmm, what should I do? Should I call the person who told me I should get some shelves and ask her? But what if she is in class and she has been told she "shouldn't" take phone calls or she will be punished...? How am I to know what I "should" do?? Oh my! This is confusing? Will I get punished if I do something I shouldn't? This is a bit stressful! I am starting to think people should not tell others what they should do! Ooops.... ha ha