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Say It Like You Mean It

August 6, 2015

Self Defense & Psychology: Say it like you mean it: How your language saves you.

 

To fit into society, and create a functional society, we lie. We weave small tales and white lies to grease the wheels and make people happy. This is all ok. This is functional.


The use of mitigating language (unclear and pacifying language), though, can have serious repercussions in regard to setting boundaries and getting your needs met.

 

 

Let me explain.  I have amarried friend.  She is gorgeous.  Like the “we all get it, you are so stunning without trying, geez”, hot.  You don’t miss her.  Especially in a bar.  She isn’t my friend based on her hotness but rather her genuine kindness.  She is so completely sweet to me. She is also so completely sweet to a drunk A-Hole in a bar.  She’s my friend because she is nice, she is my problem when we’re in a bar.  So she is beautiful and nice.  What could go wrong?  Well inebriation has a tendency to lead a person to push boundaries.  When this happens a healthy verbal (some times physical) shove can set them back in place.  But if you haven’t developed a language that is clear, concise, and true to it’s meaning, you might find yourself being too nice to the handsy drunk guy.

 

Drunk Guy: “Hey lady, I’m gonna buy you a drink”

Mitigating Language Lady: “oh, that’s really nice, that’s ok though, I’m ok.”

Drunk Guy: “Ok ain’t good enough, Bartender bring her a drink on me.”

Mitigating Language Lady: “Oh, ok. Thank you. That was nice.”

Drunk Guy (hand is now on her lower back): Anything for you, come on now, I got you a drink, you owe me a dance.”

……and so on and so on……


So what went wrong?

 

Well, her inability to clearly state what she wants and her use of mitigating (once more, unclear and pacifying language) has lead her to a dangerous path. This all might end up fine, sure. But what it has done is set the tone for her to be ignored, bullied, pressured, and potentially brought to the point of assault. Now, if you don’t know me, I am not a fear monger. She statistically isn’t going to get sexually assaulted. He isn’t statistically a sexual predator. But what she has done is be unclear (it’s ok, im ok, ect.). If she doesn’t want to engage with this person, she should be clear:


Drunk Guy: “Hey lady, I’m gonna buy you a drink”

Woman: “While I appreciate the offer, I do not want a drink”


There is no wiggle room in this statement. And you don’t have to be rude and awful. He’s done nothing wrong and probably doesn’t deserve that, but clarity will help him out. Blurry language while your blurry eyed is confusing.
Let’s say he still counters

Drunk Guy: “Hey lady, I’m gonna buy you a drink”

Woman: “While I appreciate the offer, I do not want a drink”
Drunk Guy: “Ok ain’t good enough, Bartender bring her a drink on me.”

Woman: “No, you won’t. I expressed that I did not want a drink, I was quite clear”


You’ve now established clear boundaries.  Your line is in the sand.  Your body language should have changed (See Blog Entry: Body Language).  You should be switched on but not aggressive.  Remember, you have just told some one what you want, and they are not respecting that.  You are not to roll over and let them do what they want.  That’s not how this works.
And if he STILL counters

Drunk Guy: “Hey lady, I’m gonna buy you a drink”

Woman: “While I appreciate the offer, I do not want a drink”

Drunk Guy: “Ok ain’t good enough, Bartender bring her a drink on me.”

Woman: “No, you won’t. I expressed that I did not want a drink, I was quite clear”

Drunk Guy (places his hand on your low back): “Baby, come one, im being nice, don’t be a bitch. Come dance with me”

…well, remember that line?  He has fucking crossed it.  When you are clear, used appropriate and understandable language and they still place an unwanted hand on you, now its up to you.  But this is where I always have to step in for my friend. She isn’t capable of being “a bitch.”  Me, I’m cool with that if it needs to happen.  So his hand will come off her by my doing.  And then she usually tells me how much she appreciates me but “doesn’t want to be a bitch.”


Now, every person is different, clearly.  And this comes easier to some than others.  This is an extreme example.  If you want to be heard by the people in your life and your language is pacifying and unclear, you will be ignored.  Examples of poor use of mitigating language are not limited to drunken grab ass.  Not being clear, not setting boundaries in every day life will lead you to not knowing your worth.
Do you answer work calls after hours?  Do you watch your “friends” kids when they are always late and show no reciprocation or appreciation?  Do you accept things that make you miserable?


You are worth more.  Do you HEAR ME?!  YOU ARE WORTH MORE.  Don’t allow yourself to be a victim in your every day life.  If you do, you will know that role too damn well if someone really wants to harm you.


My friend, she has a right to be beautiful at a bar.  That man, you should do him a solid and let him know his advances are unwanted.  You can let him know respectfully, at least while he is matching your respect.  But don’t be too damn nice to throw respect out the window if he crosses the line you made in the sand.


Speak clearly.  This can still be nice.  But don’t mince words.  Leave NO room for doubt in your meaning.  Say it like you mean it.  And if that doesn’t work, a good friend for back up usually works.

 


Parents, you can practice reducing mitigation language while parenting your children.  Very often you hear unclear pacifying language directed towards children as a way of getting them to bug off.  You are doing yourself and them an injustice.  No wonder they keep bugging you anyway, you were unclear and left room for doubt, wiggling, and begging.  Practice.  Be aware of how you communicate.

Start right now.

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