Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could take all words at face value? Fortunately we know that words are only one portion of the underlying message. Inflection, intonation, and body language also help us interpret and translate hidden meanings.
Take extra care and truly tune-in when you hear these words:
(1)Fine. Fine is most commonly used in two contexts, the first often in response to the question–how are you? Humorists would have us believe fine stands for: Fussed up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional. To self-help gurus, “fine” is the status quo and they suggest we respond with “great,” or “terrific” as opposed to “fine” to increase our energy and vibration. Fine has also come to symbolize the end of a conversation, usually when both or all parties are at a standstill. According to a recent funny email I received in reference to communication between the sexes,the author suggested “fine” is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you (men) need to shut up. It was attributed as a female response, but I’ve heard men fall back and punt with “fine” as well.
(2)Nothing. I often default to “nothing” when I just don’t have the energy, stimina, or patience to explain what’s going on inside my head. For example: what are you thinking? Nothing. A better response might be “it’s too complicated to explain.” John Gray, author of Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus, states men and women have very different uses for this word. Women can use it as a diversionary tactic. Men really tend to be thinking of “no thing–nothing.” “Nothing” is like a safe, mental box for men. The email I received said, when women use the word, “nothing” is the calm before the storm. Nothing really means something, and you should be on your toes if you hear it. Arguments that begin with “nothing” usually end in “fine.”
(3)Whatever. I hate to be “whatevered,” and I use the word rarely, and only with great frustration with even greater trepidation. “Whatever” is a dismissal, it means you are no longer listening to, honoring, or respecting the other person’s viewpoint. It symbolizes a communication breakdown or lack of interest in continuing the conversation. According to the email, it translates to “you’re an idiot and I’m not listening to you.” Use “whatever” cautiously. Interpretation will be up to the listener.
Avoid these common “watch out” words and enjoy smoother communications.