It never fails. Whenever I consider a new purchase, it is made very clear to me just how abundant that very item is. If I am shopping for a new car, the road becomes filled with the same make and model of which I am most interested. If I am researching a new electronic gadget, everyone else seems to have one. I know I am far from alone on this and clearly, this is nothing more than the result of being more subconsciously aware of certain aspects of our surroundings.
Recently, I reached my tipping point regarding the use of noncommittal language and now I find myself surrounded by it. Think about it, how many people do you know who hide their true feelings through the use of such words as "Sure", "Interesting", "I don't care", and the latest "Just sayin'"? It started when I began noticing a colleague of mine repeatedly responding to most things he observed as "interesting", nothing more and nothing less. Now, don't get me wrong, with a little amplification, that can be a powerful response. For example,
Q: I've been working on this project for two months now, what do you think of it?
A1: I've read it and your use of non-traditional language and unique graphics to creatively communicate the message was an interesting approach and it really made things stick.
A2: It was an interesting approach but something that you need to rethink. I think you missed the mark on this one.
I would take A1 or A2 anytime over A3. A simple "interesting" without any explanation as to why we find things interesting is absolutely useless. When information is shared or feedback is invited, a thoughtful and clearly communicated response is the reciprocation of choice. I told my colleague that his standard response bothered me and that I interpreted it as his way of saying he disapproved of the information I was sharing or didn't like my idea and just didn't have the guts to tell me. I also reminded him that as a teammate, he had a responsibility to either refute or validate such an assessment.
I don't know about you, but I like to be with people who are constructively honest with each other, will tell the emperor when he's not wearing any clothes, and choose to acknowledge any and all elephants in the room. I don't want to spend time with people who choose to appease others only to share their honest opinions or point and laugh after the fact. I guess I like people who care enough to share their true feelings and speak frankly.
When someone asks us where we would like to eat dinner, why is "I don't care" a response we consider? When someone asks us to do them a favor, why would "sure" even roll off our tongue? Truth is we do care where/what we eat (at least we should) and we either want to help another or we are unable to do so. An "I don't care" doesn't help with the decision on where to eat and if we really don't care why are we even going (our only care might be that we go to a place those with whom we are eating would enjoy, but we still care)? If another person needs our help, why not an emphatic "yes" or an apologetic "sorry, I can't right now" (intentional or not, "Sure" implies at least a hint of reluctance)?
Lastly, I hear the phrase "Just sayin'" over and over again more and more...
"The door is open and it's cold outside, just sayin'."
"We're all out of coffee, just sayin'."
"The house is a mess, the bills are stacking high, you don't have a job..."just sayin'."
Odds are we're never "just sayin'", just afraid to speak directly. Why not...
"Would you please close the door?"
"Would you please make some more coffee?"
"I'm concerned about our situation as a family and think we need to do something about it."
Let's care enough to be authentic, let's care enough to speak decisively.