Worthless Words

My mom was found of telling me, “Say what you mean, and mean what you say.”  If you don’t mean what you are saying, then your words are worthless. Why waste your breath even voicing them?

Words are the currency of communication between humans.  For effective communication to occur, the words exchanged must have some value.  Sadly, though, the words we tender to  others are often worthless.  There is no value to them when they are spoken with little or no thought given and they do not mean what they would appear to convey.

Worthless words are part and parcel of every day conversation.  Here are a few phrases we frequently use which lack value, i.e., they are worthless.

  1.  “How are you?”  Confess.  You don’t really want to know any details.  You are just using the requisite phrase to begin a  conversation.
  2.  “I’m fine.”  Your world could be about to implode, but you would give this response if  asked “How are you?”  It’s the socially acceptable but typically inaccurate reply.
  3.  “Call me if I can help.”  Are you  truly expecting someone to take you up on that  offer if you make this offhand statement?  And are you seriously intending to  provide whatever assistance is requested?
  4.  “That’s nice.”  If this phrase is the best response you can give, chances are that  whatever it is is really not nice at all–you simply cannot say what you truly think.
  5.   Let’s get together sometime.  Voicing this phrase equates to getting together on  the 12th of Never.  If you are so vague about a subsequent encounter, chances are  you aren’t motivated to have one.
  6. I’ll call you.”  This particular phrase is commonly dropped at the end of a first date. Not only is it worthless, it is a lie.  The speaker has NO intention of making subsequent contact, but it would be rude to say, “Yup, this date was a disaster.  Have a nice life.”
  7. “I don’t mean to be rude, but….”  Yes, you DO mean to be rude.
  8.  “Nothing’s wrong.”  If a woman gives you this response, you can bet your bank  account that something is wrong.  If you take this statement at face value, you are  making a WRONG move.
  9. “What do you think?”  If a speaker asks this questions after voicing an opinion, he is not seeking your thoughts.  He is fishing around for you to agree with what he just said.
  10. I love _______ (insert noun of your choice, i.e., pizza, football, Brad Pitt, etc.)”  You don’t really LOVE this person or thing, you just really like or enjoy it/him.  Actual love is devalued when we use the word “love” so casually.

When we offer money to someone, we deliberately stop and count out the amount.  We don’t just reach into our wallet, pull out whatever we can grab and hand it over.  When using words as our currency, we should make the exchange more like a business transaction.  How?  Take a moment to consider what we are handing over and make sure what is tendered is appropriate. In other words, we need to engage our brains before opening our mouths.

Our words will have value if we mean what we say.  The less time we take to consider what we are saying, the more likely our words are to be worthless.  The words in this post clearly have value because I took a great deal of time thinking about which ones to use and yes. Mom, I meant what I said in this post!

Worth thinking about:  What useless phrases do I use?


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