You Don’t SAY

Andrea Freedman

Have you ever noticed that people say a lot of things that they either don’t mean, or that never end up coming to be? I can’t help wondering if they just say things that sound good, or that make them feel better about themselves.

There are those who continuously say they are going to meet you for a fictitious drink that never comes to pass. I once had a friend who repeatedly told me, “I’m going to invite you and your husband for a barbecue this summer. This time I really mean it.” I, naively I might add, thought she had “meant it” the first, second, third and all the other times she had said it.

When I first began to write full-time, there were a few people who repeatedly mentioned either collaborating with me on a writing project for their business, or hiring me to write for them. I must confess that at first, even I made the mistake of getting my hopes up, only to be disappointed.

Some friends who have promised that they would support me as a writer by doing a simple thing of following my blog have let me down. I guess I should know better. I don’t think I have to worry about offending any of them by writing this – since they probably won’t check out my blog, even though they said they were going to.

People say they are going to do business with someone, only to forget about that person without a second thought. Or, they say they are going to show up for a meeting or appointment, but will often renege or even not have the courtesy to call to cancel, regardless of whether or not someone else wastes his or her day waiting around for that person to arrive.

The other day, I was headed home when I spotted an acquaintance in her car. This woman has told me countless times that she is going to get in touch with me to arrange to meet for coffee, but so far – not surprisingly – it has not happened. Funny, this same person has no problem calling when she needs something.

When I waved at her and I noticed her start to roll down her window, rather than go over to hear her talk about us having coffee yet again, I chose instead to smile and keep walking. It is not so much that I care about an alleged coffee; it is more that I can’t bear to listen to the same BS over and over again.

Sometimes the words “I’ve been meaning to call you” could be true, but often they just roll off a person’s tongue without thinking, possibly out of a sense of awkwardness or feeling of obligation; they do it so regularly that it has become second-nature. Or, they are said out of feelings of guilt. Perhaps there are certain people we just don’t feel like calling, and we need to simply accept it and stop pretending.

I really make a conscious effort to practice what I preach. I don’t make promises I don’t think I can keep, and I call people on the day I really want to see them, rather than continuously saying that I am going to see someone, only to cancel or not follow through. Similarly, I have also learned to take what other people say with a grain of salt.

I wish people would just not bother saying anything. I for one do not need to be appeased with insincerity. Contrary to what they might think, others’ lives are not in fact hanging in the balance waiting for some fictitious drink or dinner invitation.

I hope one day when one of these phonies says, for the umpteenth time, “We’re going to get together soon”, that I will get the nerve to say “No, actually, we are not going to get together; and that’s just fine. No need to keep up with this charade.”

Personally, I would rather hear silence than waste my time listening to lip service. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. If you can’t do that, don’t say anything at all!♠



Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2014


About andfreed

I am a Toronto based writer of articles, columns, essays and novels.

Posted on August 22, 2014, in Weekly Thoughts and Observations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. With you completely! When I started freelancing, I was excited at every query I had – it took me a while to see that a query was just that. Now I only punch the air in delight when I get the “congratulations, you’re hired!” email from odesk or elance.

    Judge people by their actions and not their words 🙂


  2. Hi Andrea:
    I know exactly what you are saying. It would be better to not make any promises rather than disappoint the person they are making them to and not intending to follow through.with them. That’s the way people are, now, and always were, and there is not much sincerety in the world and our so called friends. The best thing is not to answer, and if they really want to see you, speak to them when, and if, they follow through.


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