Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sincerity of Statements

I was talking recently in a group with some friends who were married a few months back and someone asked the typical newly married question, “so how’s married life?” What kind of a question is that? What are they going to say in a group setting, much less with their new spouse standing beside? Even if life is the worst it has ever been, the answer will be something like “every day is more beautiful than the last, it is like a sunny day on the beach eating fresh peaches and ice cream.” Ok, maybe not quite that cheesy, but it will be a glowing review. This got me thinking about the sincerity of that question and many other similar questions/statements people say to each other.

First a disclaimer. I’ve said most of the following stuff myself. I have never meant to be artificial or shallow when I’ve said it. I know we all say this stuff. I’m just being a bit sarcastic about it all. I’m sure most of these have been the fodder of many a stand up comic, but I wouldn’t know.

1) Say hi to __________ for me.

Come on. You don’t really want to say hi to that person. If you did, you’d pick up the phone and call them, you’d send them an email, or you’d stop by yourself. Furthermore, you know whoever you say this to most likely won’t deliver the message. Let’s be honest, this is an attempt to earn points with either the person you are asking to deliver the message or the person the message is being delivered to.

2) Does this ________ make me look fat?

“No, your lard makes you look fat.” You know if you are fat. Everyone else knows if you are fat. A piece of clothing won’t change people’s perception of your fatness, it will change how repulsed they are of your flaunting it.

3) How was your weekend?

Do you think most people who ask how your weekend was really care? Maybe. Or maybe they just want to appear friend and hate awkward silence.

4) Do you like it? (in reference to gifts)

Come on, do you really think they are going to tell you? They know what they want, not you. Give the person cash, let them give you cash. On second thought, skip the gifts all together and tell each other that you still like them. I thought it was the thought that counted anyway isn’t it? Or is that just talk?

Do you have any others?


Blogger Karin said...

I disagree on the "How was your weekend?" Most of the time that I ask/am asked this, it is genuine. I think "How are you?" is probably the worst one - if you say anything other than "fine" you tend to get a blank look that says "uh-oh this could take a while".

2/28/2007 12:47 PM  
Blogger Erin Bennett said...

I'm with Karin on "How are you?" But even worse is the response. "I'm fine. How are you?" You're only asking because they asked, and you really don't care how they are, but you have to ask to be nice. :)

3/02/2007 3:19 PM  
Blogger david said...

Karin - Like I said, I'm sure many people are genuine, I just don't usually get the impression that is the case with the exception of good friends.

Erin - Yeah, it all comes down to being nice and cultural norms. I think you hit on something there. There is an expectation for such a response and so we have to give it.

3/03/2007 3:05 PM  

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