Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say
As a society we have a hard time saying what we mean and being assertive. Studies like this one from Columbia show that being too assertive and not assertive enough are both shown as weaknesses in leaders. This is just one of those confusing studies that life has already shown us.
But I still must ask, wouldn’t it be great if people said what they really meant?
“I’ll call you” meaning “I won’t call you”
“I’ll pay you back” meaning “I’ll pretend like I forget because I don’t have the money”
“I’m almost there” meaning “I just got in the car to head to meet you”
“We should clean the house” meaning “you should clean the house”
“Let’s get together soon” meaning “I don’t have time to get together”
“It’s fine” meaning “not really but I’ll get over it.”
“This office meeting will be quick” meaning “this office meeting is going to suck an hour out of your day”
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all just said what we really meant? There would be less confusing relationships, less puzzling business meetings and more productivity in all our lives if we just got the message delivered clear, concise and to the point in the first place.
Probably the most common use of people not saying what they don’t mean is the use of the phrase “I don’t care.” Maybe there are some everyday things that maybe aren’t as important to you – however… “I don’t care” is typically not how the person truly feels about the subject at hand.
Being Authentic and Real
Being authentic means being genuine. Genuine means being real, honest and frank. Being real means not being an imitation or artificial.
In a relationship, whether it is a business, partner or friend – can we all agree that meaningful associations should be genuine, real, honest, and not artificial?
When we say what we really mean, it can turn future arguments or hurt feelings into less drama. Let me explain:
Your best friend loves this dress and you honestly think it is not flattering on her. But when she asked your response was “You look gorgeous in that.” She has a presentation and is excited to wear the dress to impress top executives and you know that is not the type of dress to wear during a presentation. So, you must be honest, because you were afraid to say what you meant the first time. Now she’s going to be self-conscious about whatever else she picks out of the closet because you didn’t tell her the truth on round one of wearing this dress.
When you tell the truth, and avoid the “sugar-coating” it doesn’t have to be mean. Start with a question like “Can I be honest?” or “Can I tell you the truth because I would want someone to do the same for me?” and I am pretty sure your honesty after will go a long way.
Let’s all build relationships that are real, authentic and then there is no concern of double meanings. Mean what you say, so it doesn’t come back to haunt you in the future.
What if we were all more authentic and real in our conversations? How different would our lives be? Is it easier to tell a little lie versus admitting the truth? I want to hear your thoughts. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Are you having a problem being authentic in your relationship? Do you have other questions you may need advice on? I encourage you to ask in my advice column.