People often tell my husband and I that we are too busy. They’re right. I could give them six very real examples of just how right they are lately:
- I have been so tired recently that I can’t fall asleep, because sleep has become unnatural in the past few weeks and my body forgot how.
- My husband picked up my dad from the airport and wandered around for an hour because he’d forgotten where he parked, (can you say Seinfeld Episode?).
- I went to the grocery and spent eighty dollars on things I didn’t need, but forgot the one thing I did (we still don’t have it by the way).
- My husband couldn’t figure out what was wrong with his contacts, when, after ten minutes, he realized he had put one on top of the other.
- I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with my contacts, and spent five minutes trying to take out the “blurry” one, poking myself in the eye repeatedly when I noticed that it had fallen to the floor and never, in fact, made it into my eye at all.
- Finally, I walked into the kitchen two seconds before my husband put a metal coffee mug into the microwave, saving us (and the electrical wiring) from a potential hazard.
The thing is … don’t you think we know how busy we are? We laugh (and sometimes cry) at our own tired stupidity, but still, people like to point out obvious things, with obvious phrases like: “I’m just saying,” “No offense,” and, my personal favorite, “Let’s drop it.” These phrases are sadly, not limited to us and our situation alone, however. In fact, any time people use any of these phrases directed at me, I think of the well known Tumbler quote that says, “Unless your name is Google, don’t act like you know everything.”
Let’s start with “I’m just saying.” No one is ever “just saying.” If they’re saying anything, it is without a doubt because they’ve got something to say, or they wouldn’t have stored it up to blurt out at you. Now, this is not to say that some kind friends and family in your life don’t have real things to talk to you about, it’s their job to keep you on track after all, but kindness doesn’t begin with, “I’m just saying.” Think about it. If you’re, “just saying,” then you inherently don’t want to hear anything back. You aren’t looking for a conversation or revelation … you just want to say your piece, have it heard, and back out of the discussion before a real one can begin.
Next, what’s up with “No offense?” Seriously? “No offense,” is always followed by a “but,” and where there’s a “but,” there is most assuredly an offense. In fact, if you have to preface your advice to me with a, “No offense,” I will inadvertently be offended, either because what you said truly was offensive, or because you already knew I’d be offended but said it anyway! No matter which way you go here, “No offense,” is not a great pre-dialogue move.
Finally, the inevitable, “Let’s drop it.” People only want to “drop it,” when they’ve already dropped a loaded comment that probably would have been safer tucked away. I’m not saying honesty shouldn’t be shared, but again, sharing is a two-way street. Using a line like, “Let’s drop it,” means that the person is trying to end the little powwow deliberately after they’ve said what they wanted to say, but before it turns into a debate. That is one cowardly conversation my friends, and I think we know it.
Ultimately, talking is good. Heart-to hearts, exchanging of views, consultations, negotiations, huddles … all great. But tossing out hurtful, obvious phrases just to be, “heard” only makes the rest of us annoyed at best, and offended at worst. I agree with David Pratt, “I do not know it all, and do not claim to.” I am sure I have been one to offend, and I ask for forgiveness in my sometimes flawed conversation. But Leo Buscaglia spoke of the non-apologetic kind, saying, “Those who think they know it all, have no way of finding out they don’t.” Well … I’m just saying, I think that in this post I found a way to tell them. No offense. And since I think I’ve made my point, let’s drop it.