Have you noticed lately that people seem to be “watering down” their language? If not, perk your ears up and start listening. Maybe you will find you are doing it too! Some examples:
*”literally” Even news-casters don’t seem to know how to use the word “literally.” There’s a character on Parks and Recreation who misuses “literally” as a joke and it’s funny. Here’s crash course on how to use this word…if you have a shirt with hearts on it, you can say “I, literally, am wearing my heart on my sleeve.” It’s funny and cleaver when appropriate. Perhaps people are using “literally” as just another way to put emphasis on their point?
*”kind of” More and more people are using the phrase “kind of” before expressing true opinions and feelings. Listen for it and you will hear things like “I kind of think that I want to quite my job” or “I kind of want you to show me you care about me.” In both of these cases, what is “kind of” doing here?…watering down the sentiment and making communication unclear.
*”sort of” See “kind of”…same thing.
*”you know” “You know” has become a filler phrase similar to “like.” Do you, does the person using this phrase really think you know? Probably not. More likely, it’s a phrase to help curb anxiety while speaking, becomes a habit and is hard to stop saying after said-habit is formed.
*”you” instead of “I” There is a trend of disowning one’s own feelings and opinions and it can be heard in language by such phrases as “You just feel like you’re lost.” In this example the speaker feels like he/she is lost. When did “you” replace “I.” Why are “we” afraid to say “I.”…..”I just feel like I’m lost.” There’s power in saying what YOU feel.
*”you guys” Okay, this one might be getting too picky, but why are women referred to as guys?…as in a room full of women are addressed (often by another women, even) as “Hey, you guys!” Hmmmm.
Lastly, psychologist have recognized for many years another way one’s point is watered down and it’s when one raises his/her voice at ends of sentences, like a question when making a statement. It conveys that the speaker is unsure of himself/herself and weakens credibility for the listener. Again, this is often habitual and hard to break, but can be done with time and attention.
Mercury is retrograding now until mid-March…a perfect time to take a look at the way we communicate and how we communicate. Are you being heard? Does it seem like you are being misunderstood? If you answered no to either of these, then it’s time to turn the tables on yourself and listen to the way you are communicating (which includes listening, of course).
Check it out:
March 16th: “Uncovering Treasures of Body, Speech, and Mind.” With Meredith Monk, Lanny Harrison and Acharya Judy Lief at Naropa University (register:) http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/328633