Say what you mean and mean what you say

“Women are impossible to understand.” “Men have their own language.” “She speaks in codes.” “He doesn’t listen to a word I say.”

We’ve all heard the arguments and probably participated in a few. Personally, I think all people are hard to decipher, no matter the age, gender or native language.

And I’m here to say, I think I have a solution to this problem in communication and it’s called … (wait for it) … the truth.

I can’t tell you how many avoidable arguments I’ve had with friends and significant others because they didn’t say what they really wanted. Instead of telling me what they wanted to do or where they wanted to go, I got the typical “What do you want to do?”

Naturally, I did what I always do: what I wanted. That’s not what they wanted. Now I’ve entered into WWIII unarmed.

I understand sometimes people are trying to be nice by offering options or by letting me pick what we do that day. But if they just say, “I don’t really want to see that movie” it would be so much easier than expecting me to pick up on negative body language and rolling eyes, especially if we are having the conversation on the phone.

More than anything, I hate when I ask if everything is okay and they say they’re fine, which is the furthest thing from the truth. If you say you’re fine, I’m going to believe you and move on. So if everything isn’t fine, don’t lie and say it is. It’s just going to make me angry that you lied.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but my days are packed with things to do. I don’t have the time or patience to pick up on passive/aggressive behavior (whoever invented that concept should be shot). I respond much quicker and can solve the problem a lot faster when someone says, “Hannah, you really pissed me off yesterday.” That way, I can fix it and we can move on.

This crazy concept of blunt honesty doesn’t apply just to angry moments. It works wonders on getting past the ridiculousness of: “Does he like me as much as I like him? I can’t tell. If I hear from him today, then he definitely does. Well, maybe I could send him a text and see if he responds. That’s the same thing as him starting the conversation, right?” Ugh!

This might be a little harder for those who only ever play games with crushes, but think of the alternative.

On the one hand, you can plant subtle hints and see if he eventually picks up on the idea that you like him. Or, you can say, “Nathan, I think you’re really cute” and see what happens. Yes, there is the issue of open rejection, but one day of embarrassment beats weeks of games and waiting. Especially if he doesn’t reciprocate, think of all those wasted weeks you could have spent finding your next crush.

Sure, being blunt can cause a fight. But that fight in that moment isn’t nearly as bad as the blow-ups that can come from suppressed feelings. That just gets ugly and there can be casualties — friendships or relationships.

So try something new, step out of your comfort zone and speak up. The next time someone asks, give your opinion. We all know you have one, so share it. If you like him, tell him. If an idea sounds lame, go find something else to do. Whatever the opinion, just remember to say what you mean and mean what you say.

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