Why We Should Say What We Mean And Mean What We Say

by Haley Schluter

It is a concept (and absolutely wonderful advice) that stands as a lesser-represented idiomatic phrase from our childhoods. Many of us remember classics like, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Or, "I'm rubber and you're glue; whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you."

Those may have helped us through bullying scenarios on the playground or in the sandbox, but forgotten phrase "say what you and mean what you say" has returned to my advice forefront. It's more useful now than ever.

As college students, recent grads and young adults in the workplace, it is more important now than ever to be an able communicator. Effective communication among friends, peers and colleagues is not solely comprised of small talk, emotional conversations or the occasional argument.

Rather, to be the best communicator right now, the most important communicative skill you can employ is to say what you mean and mean what you say. Here's why:

Why Should We Say What We Mean?

Being honest and upfront is so valuable for all types of relationships in which we engage daily. From your romantic partner to the guy you see every Tuesday during lunch break, speaking honestly and from a genuine place will greatly improve the conversation and what comes from it.

Sometimes, we just don't feel it's necessary to tell the whole truth -- and nothing but the truth so help us God -- when it centers on something seemingly irrelevant. The way I see it, it's less necessary to lie, or to let useless fluff come out of your mouth.

When you are asked a question, or hear the little voice in your head engaging in the dialogue, genuinely say what comes to mind. This does not mean you should be blunt, rude or insensitive. It just means we must stop walking around, giving lip-service to everyone because we are cultured to be filtered, reserved and voiceless.

Also, when you don't say what you truly mean, you will experience less overall satisfaction with your environment. If your boss asks whether or not you want coffee in the meeting, and you say you don't care because your c-workers did, you'll just be tired in the meeting.

If you were to say, "I'd love some, actually!" Then guess what? You just went from tired to wired at meetings. #Win

Lastly, we are a generation so full of social anxiety that being upfront can be downright difficult. Whether or not you feel this to be true to your life, as a whole, our generation is very tentative with assertions. We are afraid to give our friends advice that comes from the heart because we feel the advice won't bode well with them.

Or, we don't speak up when we are asked questions because the answer could cause for some awkward tension. We sometimes dance around information or refuse to be straightforward because we don't deem our feelings relevant to those around us and don't want to "look weird."

Whatever the reason, we are often very cautious communicators when in actuality, honesty truly is the best policy. Start being more honest with friends, and suddenly, your opinion won't be "harsh," but rather, it'll be "genuine" because you often speak openly.

State your positions and thoughts more often and kaboom, your buds will turn to you for thoughtful opinions. Saying what you truly feel, when framed correctly, of course, will make you genuinely happier in your own shoes.

Plus, you'll no longer eat foods you hate because none of your coworkers had any idea you hate them.

Why We Should Mean What We Say

See, to me, this one's pretty obvious: I mean, hello, why would you not mean what you say? What is the point of even speaking at that point? As someone with an absent filter, however, I understand I'm the minority here.

Many of us say either the obvious or the easiest in conversation because why say something odd and then look stupid? Or offer an answer that the asker did NOT want to hear? Or say something that will cause us to have to act in a certain way?

So, we say things we perhaps half-mean or want to mean. Meaning what you say will similarly change your life for the better. This means, something about which you choose to talk, be open about or respond with should be genuine and uncontrived.

Embodying and acting on what you say will make you feel automatically more productive, and there won't be one person reading this who doesn't want that. Also, it is just a good feeling to not only talk the talk, but to also walk the walk.

Also, this will make you more credible to others. Having others see you as someone who speaks from a genuine place and who doesn't say things that hold no truth will allow them to feel comfortable talking to you and pretty generally, just being around you.

When you actually mean what it is you say, it shows and allows you to gain more confidence in yourself, as you're acting on a principle you've instated just by communicating openly.

With that being said, we can see how the two go hand-in-hand -- saying what you mean and meaning what you say, that is. The overall premise of the two is to speak from a place of honesty and then watch how your relationships and environments improve, day by day.

We should work to put an end to the bullsh*t conversations that take place in spaces where we aren't comfortable being open with each other. No such place should exist.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It