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There are 4 reasons this story stinks

She went to a party and met the man of her dreams. He was good-looking, charming, and a great dancer. 

She was a little surprised when, caught up in the moment, she left the club, got in his expensive car, and spent the night at his penthouse (not that she cared about such shallow material things, of course). 

It’s not something she’d ever done - but she thought love at first sight was worth the exception.   

In the morning, he kissed her awake, told her breakfast was ready, and that he, unfortunately, had to run off to work. 

She could stay as long as she wanted, he said, and slam the door shut on her way out. They exchanged phone numbers, kissed again, and he left. 

Overcome with happiness, she sent a group message to her best friends: 

“Wake up losers!! Just met my future husband, WHO were you DOING last night??!? 😄😄😄”

She had breakfast, got dressed, and ran to the bathroom (the coffee sometimes had that effect on her). 

Usually, she would feel awkward doing that in someone else’s house, but he wouldn’t be back for hours. 

She felt alright about it—until the toilet didn’t work. She tried and tried, but no luck. She looked for a bucket to help flush everything down but couldn’t find it.  

Feeling increasingly flustered, and unable to think of anything less disgusting to do, she wrapped her hands in a plastic bag, reached down, and removed the evidence. 

She double-wrapped the bag and got ready to leave, somewhat relieved she’d avoided a complete catastrophe. If he got home and found that left there… he’d never call her for sure. 

She grabbed her purse and let herself out. As soon as the door clicked shut, she realised:

She hadn’t taken the plastic bag. 

It was still inside the apartment—where it would stay, for the rest of that hot summer day. 

Did you spot the four reasons? 

My friend Camila told me that story. It happened, she said, to a friend of hers. My initial reaction was, 

“But what happened then? Did she tell the guy anything? Did she warn him somehow?? Did they ever speak again?!?” 

She said she didn’t know any more details. I pressed, and she said: 

“Well, it was actually a friend of a friend, I don’t know the person”. 

If by now you’re doubting the veracity of the whole thing — you’d be right. It didn’t happen to anyone she knew—or at all. It’s an urban myth, and versions of it have been around for years. 

That’s the first and biggest issue with this story: it never happened. You can’t share fiction (or what might be fiction) as if it’s true - if it gets out, it will absolutely destroy your credibility. In doubt, don’t share it. 

Second, name the places and characters. Remember: generic tales aren’t about anyone; specific ones could be about us.

Third, use dialogue. The “he said-she said” approach gets repetitive quickly (and makes the story longer). 

Fourth, the language is too formal. You don’t talk like that to your friends, right? Speak like a human being, not like a (bad) literary author. 

There might be a fifth problem too: the subject can put people off. I’m not squeamish, but even I wouldn’t tell this one in a more professional environment. 

I guess I’ll find out pretty soon how squeamish you are… (don’t leave me! I promise I won’t do it again 😅)

Stories like this can be fun, but only if you tell them right – and at the right time. 

Or you’ll stink up the place just like Camila’s “friend” did 🤘


Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. Getting clarity through your story to stand out from all the other coaches, speakers and entrepreneurs out there 

  2. If you dream of speaking on the Red Dot, take this Scorecard and instantly discover how likely your idea is to be accepted by a TED-style organizing committee

  3. If you (or your team) got any storytelling challenges, I’m sure there’s something we can do together ;-)

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