Boy, that’s mean, isn’t it? “They say the world has lost it’s finesse,” said Andre Braugher in the underrated Bruce Paltrow classic (classic, I say!) Duets. Admittedly (much like Groundskeeper Willie’s stubborn mule that refused to walk in the mud), he had about seventeen bullets in him, so he may have had a point.
If you’re anything like me, (and I suspect millions of you are), you’ve found yourself at odds with the internet writ large once or twice over the past month. As a public service, Martin EaZee is proud to present A (not) Common Sense Guide to Talking to People That Are Not You. AKA the Words and Phrases That WIll Never Be Interpreted the Way You Want Them To.
You just said something that theoretically agrees with the Person Who is Not You. Comity has been achieved. You were so close! BUT… now you’re going to walk it all back and pretend you agree but say something that is probably the exact opposite. Why not just say what you mean?
2. to play devils advocate
“I don’t have a personal stake in this argument and I could just as easily look the other way, but I like to argue for fun and will drive you crazy with sophistry until we are no longer friends, if not blood enemies.” This is what a Person Who is Not You will hear as soon as you drag out that stale chestnut.
3. to be fair
This has never been used fairly. Ever.
4. not all _______
“I once heard about someone who didn’t have the experience you describe, so all incidents unlike what I know are made up for attention. WHY ARE YOU CRYING?!”
It’s not a comma. People Who Are Not You know when you mean it and when you don’t.
6. just saying
We know you’re just saying. You just said it. What you MEANT to say was “I just said something diminishing or offensive but you can’t be offended because it’s only words from out of my mouth.” You might not agree with the assessment, but that’s ok. It’s your right and I’m just saying.
7. How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
I am Iago. I will break up Desdemona and Othello and get ALL the monies. This probably won’t be something you ever say to someone literally, but wasn’t that Iago just such a tool? Don’t be like Iago.
By no means is this definitive or exhaustive. Exhausting maybe, if you have run across these too often. The moral of the story is that not everyone who seems nice is actually nice. The flipside of the moral is that you may be doing your best to be nice but maybe you’re not that good at it. The hole in the moral is that it’s totally pretentious of me to tell you how to think and feel and probably not very nice. The sampler of the moral… is not something I’m going to make.
If there are words that make your brain go splodey, I would love to know what they are. Maybe they drive me crazy too. Or maybe I use them and I didn’t realize I sound like a jerk.