This I Believe

Tara - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 20, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: golden rule

“Say what you mean and mean what you say”. It’s a saying we have all heard, but have we ever stopped to think of how the world would be if everyone followed this advice? At first glance, it sounds like a cliché, but I believe it’s the saying we should live by.

I am in college. For the past four years I have lived in very close quarters with three girls. As you can imagine, we have had more than our share of tiffs, full blown fights, and most commonly, days upon days of the silent treatment. This last phenomenon is by far the most difficult to deal with. How do you solve a problem that has never been addressed in the first place? One roommate in particular loves to utilize this silent tactic to get her point across that she isn’t happy about something. But, by the time I realize she has been ignoring me and try to decipher what I did wrong, I’m the one angry at her for being so sullen.

Say what you mean. If something is bothering you, come clean to the person you are having trouble with. That person may not be happy to hear it, but you have taken the first step toward getting the problem solved. For example, after three exasperating days filled with thick tension, I finally asked my roommate what her problem was. “You never pick your dirty clothes up off the floor after you come in from the bars. I’m tired of cleaning up your messes.” Three days lost in our friendship because she didn’t say that sentence seventy-two hours earlier. Say what you mean.

Mean what you say. If you are someone who blurts out whatever comes to your head, take a second to stop and think. Realize that your spoken word is your strongest power of communication. Don’t waste words saying things that you don’t mean, or could be misconstrued and cause problems. Articulate your thoughts clearly and your misunderstandings will be cut dramatically. I once told the roommates I would be having a get-together that Friday, fully knowing that it was going to be a raging party that would leave our apartment in shambles. My roommates gladly agreed to let “a few people” into our place—the next day after they came home to find the wreckage from Hurricane Keg Party, we had a few days of the aforementioned silent treatment. Mean what you say.

If you are looking to live by a certain code, include this simple piece of advice: “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” It will cut down on some of the drama in a life already chock full of it. I mean it.