Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I mean what I say

In general, I'm a "mean what you say, and say what you mean" kind of lady. I find it very confusing to try and decipher if someone else really meant "yes" when they said "yes", or did they mean "I really don't want to but I don't know how to say no" when they said "yes."

I've had two occasions recently where I started communicating often and regularly with "new" people in my life. One was a new work colleague and one was a woman in my neighborhood whom I didn't know well, but we were working together on a community project. After the first few communications with each I said something to the effect of: "It looks like we're going to be working closely on this. Just so you know, I'm a mean what you say, say what you mean type of person and I find it tiring and time consuming to try and deciper if other people are the same way. So, I'll generally assume that you are a straight shooter too and that way we don't have to feel badly or waste time trying to figure out if the other person meant what they said."

In one situation, the my conversations with the woman became more frank, short, and to the point because we didn't have to beat around the bush. In the other situation, I think the woman was still saying "yes" when she really meant "I'd prefer not to" but in that case it's her own darn fault !

What is still troublesome for me though is when other people think that I don't mean what I say.

So, if in an e-mail on Monday I say, "Why don't you read the attached document and if you're still interested in participating give me a call on Thursday or Friday and let's talk over the phone" that is what I actually mean. When the reader sends me a reply Tuesday morning saying "I'm interested, what should I do next ?" I want to channel my friend Helen and scream "Read the f-ing e-mail already ! That's what you should do next !"

If I say, "I don't have my e-mail on all the time, so please give me 24 hours notice when you want to pick up your package" and the person sends me an e-mail at 9pm telling me that she'll be stopping by to pick up a package from my porch at 7:30am the next morning, it's not my fault if the package isn't there.

The converse is also true. When I touch someone on the arm, or look straight at them and say "Name, how are you ?" I really, really mean HOW ARE YOU ? I really want to know the nitty gritty if you want to share it.

I should qualify though that this is never an excuse for rudeness. It's entirely possible to say what you mean and mean what you say in a polite manner !

How about you ? Do you mean what you say and say what you mean ?


Elaine said...

Here's an extension of that. Many people have the speech pattern "well, honestly, I think xxx". Guess what? I'm being honest when I speak - I never qualify my phrases with "honestly". Likewise, other people don't have to qualify when they are being honest, because I'm going to assume they're honest all the time. And if they're not, they have bigger fish to fry than signaling when they are, in fact, being honest.

Marya said...

Yes, I do. It is so funny because I had an conversation with co-worker on Monday when he kept saying things like, "Well, I wasn't sure if you meant . . ." or "I just wanted to check and make sure you didn't think . . . because some people think . . when I say . . " Finally, after the fourth time he came back to my desk to check again if I meant what I said I looked him in the eye and said, "Mr. X, I promise you from the bottom of my soul that if you ask me a direct question I will give you my honest direct answer. Now, if others in your life don't do this then you need to talk to them and stop trying to make sure I am not them. I have work to do, thank you." The end.

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