Warning: naughty language ahead!
You know what I am really sick and tired of lately? Ambiguity. Equivocating. Dancing around an answer. Replies that are as clear as mud.
People who are so concerned with hurting other people’s feelings that they give a bunch of pansy-assed, noncommittal and (what they assume to be) tactful responses that actually result in creating more pain than if they just politely and clearly said what they meant in the first damn place.
People don’t like the gray zone. Either say it, or don’t. Agree, or disagree, but for the love of all things living and breathing: Just. Fucking. Say. What. You. Mean.
Sigh. I might have a little pent up aggression here on that one. Speaking of might, check out number eight, below, on this list:
10 Vague Words and Phrases to Relieve Responsibility or Accountability:
1. I think I can/can’t.
Example: “I think I can make it to that event.”
Translation: I don’t want to say no until I have a better option or excuse lined out.
2. That might work
Example: “You want to meet for dinner? Okay, that might work on Sunday.”
Translation: It also might not. Actually, it probably won’t. See translation, above, #1.
3. That sounds great, but
Example: “That sounds great, but I’m washing my hair/cleaning my baseboards/have better things to do.”
Translation: Excuses are like assholes; everybody has one.
Example: “I think I like you. A little bit, maybe.”
Translation: I am terrified as shit of commitment; just thinking about it gives me the dry heaves. I don’t want to make a public declaration indicating anything remotely formal so I’m using an evasive, kidding-but-not-kidding phrase to leave myself lots of wide open space (to run, obviously).
5. I should be
Example: “I should really be working/leaving/something-other-than-what-I’m-doing-now.”
Translations: I’m feeling guilty, needy, or insecure—can you please give me a reason why it’s okay that I have fun with you instead of doing that thing?
I don’t want to do the thing with you, but I don’t want to hurt your feelings so I’m making up a reason and prior commitment or project so I can bounce guilt free.
Example: “I will probably be able to do that.”
Translation: I won’t be. See # 5 and 6. This is my exit strategy. Duh. I’m not putting it in my calendar and when you ask me about it the day before, I will have forgotten and scheduled something else.
7. Let’s play it by ear
Example: “You want to make plans for the weekend? Let’s just play it by ear and see how things go.”
Translations: You are a placeholder. When something better comes up I’m doing that instead.
I’m overwhelmed but I don’t want to say “no” because that sounds like fun so I’m leaving some room for “yes.” But just a little bit.
My calendar is so full already that if I add one more fucking thing to it, I’m going to spontaneously combust. Talk to me after Happy Hour and we’ll go from there.
8. I might have
Example: “I might have an affinity for the regular use and conjugation of the of the “F” word; because I’m an articulate fucking lady, obviously .”
Translation: I am being passive aggressive, but under the guise of sarcasm in (futile) hopes my humor will throw you off the scent and make you think I’m joking. I’m not.
9. I could, but
Example: “I could go with you, but I’m not going to be very fun/helpful/enthusiastic because I’m tired/distracted/bored.”
Translation: I want to sound like I want to go, but I actually don’t because I’m wearing my pouty excuses pants today, and I refuse to remove them. Also, let’s make this about me, can we please? I’m trying to throw a pity party over here, could you bring me a glass of fucking sympathy already?
10. Let me think about it/get back to you
Example: “I’m not sure if that works in my schedule; let me think about it and see what I can do. I’ll get back to you soon.”
Translation: I don’t want to do this, but I don’t have a solid excuse on hand, so I’m going to spend a bit of time finding something that sounds reasonable, hope that you forget you asked while I do so, and then use any one of the preceding responses to reply to you, and not anytime soon either.
Seriously people. Grow a set. Own it.
If you want to say “no,” then just say no.
I promise it will end better for all of us. Maybe.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman