Week 3: Wrap-Up
This week was almost a complete bust, and I have to say I'm okay with it. These "filler words"? They are a necessary part of my sense of humor, and it completely falls apart without them. As with most issues, I see both sides: I understand the word "like" is used way too often these days, and I appreciate the importance of communicating with brevity and purpose. My friend perhaps presented the best argument for the elimination of filler words when he said to me, "You guys don't really say anything, you just recycle the same words to get out of having to really communicate." Ouch.
After reflecting more on his comment, I’ve realized that some of my favorite fillers can, indeed, mean so many different things, depending on tone and topic:
Snap: *Crazy! *I don't really know what to say right now, but I don't want to be silent. *I'm shocked. *Awesome! *That's not okay.
Um.: *I think we both know what I'm thinking. *The answer is no. *I'm going to remain silent but I just want to express my disapproval/discontent. *That caught me off-guard.
K.: *Got it. *I'm over this conversation. *I'm driving and can't really text.
The other side of the argument is this: I love being able to say something in a certain way, and instantly one of my best friends knows exactly what I'm feeling. Then there's the Internet: when chatting and communicating online, sometimes the fillers feel almost essential to keep the conversation flowing. I've done a lot of thinking about this, and I honestly did try for the first few days. The times when I made a concerted effort to monitor myself and what I was saying, the conversation felt stilted and formal – not my style.
Since I communicate so differently in my work life than I do in my personal life, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m okay with not being mindful of using these so-called “fillers” when I'm off the clock. Worrying about every word that’s coming out of my mouth, especially when I’m trying to tell a funny story or give a friend advice, is one area in which I’m okay with not being super-mindful.
My book speculates that these types of words and phrases are a mark of our post-modern, politically correct world, in which no one wants to offend and so we use these words to “soften” what we are really trying to say. I have to say that I'm okay with "softening" things sometimes to keep the peace. But that's just my viewpoint.
Week 4: Appreciate your Hands
Several times a day, when your hands are busy, watch them as though they belonged to a stranger. Also look at them when they are still.