The new four letter words
It’s a Monday. That means lots of calls w/vendors, clients, friends, relatives. Some good, some tiresome. Some loud. Others obnoxious. The last part only became so when the person I was talking to kept repeating the same words, overandoverandover, to the point I wondered if the individual actually had more than five words in (his/her) vocabulary (we must keep this anonymous)…
Seriously. Really. Right? and the mother of all phrases, are you kidding me?
At one time, these words were used in the context of happy and light, excitement and genuine need-to-know-interest. I’m finding that more often than not, each one is said sarcastically, rhetorically, many times when nothing should be said at all. The worst offense is right.
Know those people who say something, and immediately follow-it up with “right?” It’s the amateur’s way of eeking out an agreement from the listener, except the speaker using the word keeps talking right on through/over/under, the potential responder. Even well-spoken, multi-degreed CEO’s fall into the trap of using this one word to gain a confirmation that what has been said is in fact, accurate. Sadly, there is rarely the pause following this word that actually would give the desired affirmation.
Remember the good old days, when it was only the F-word that had the kind of flexibility embodied by these impersonators? It was intentionally used in place of a coma, a space, of course, an exclamation point.
This whole-bad-Engligh, bad/irritating grammar has got to stop. The next time someone says “Really?” and they aren’t being genuine, you could say, ‘Seriously‘ right back. They’ll respond by saying ‘Are you kidding me?’ and you can end this enlightening conversation with a ‘Right‘!
Other options with 6 words or less meant to gain an affirmation include:
- Are we on the right track?
- Are we aligned on this?
- Does that make sense?
- Sound good?
- How does that sound?
- Fair enough?
If you actually want to move the conversation forward, go the extra mile and provide a statement.
“Now that we are on the same page, let’s discuss the details…” It elevates the level of discussion, it’s focused and strong. The way a leader should be.