I do not mean…

Any utterance prefaced with a caveat such as “I don’t mean to hurt your feelings” or “I’m sorry. I do not mean to be rude, but…” should be spoken without it.

Just Stop

Stop SignIf you are afflicted with a total lack of filter (not an affliction IMO), you still do not need to preface the truth. Invariably, we apologize for telling the ugly truth in place of a placating or chocolate-covered lie. The excuses pile up to tower over the smell. No matter what the reason, when we preface the truth with anything, we offer the opportunity for the listener to discount what we have to say; in short, we give them an out when they do not want to accept the truth of their (situation, bad behavior, consequences).

If you tell someone you should not be saying something to them, they have every single right not to listen to what you are saying, use what you are saying to make their lives better, use what you are saying to stop making your life miserable. When you tell someone “I don’t mean to hurt your feelings,” you are saying, “I am willing to hurt or let you hurt other people rather than tell you the elephant you rode into the centre of the room shat on the rug.”

You have two choices:

  1. Say what you have to say without excusing your observation of facts as irrelevant, irreverent or both.
  2. STFU

Second Choice

If you choose to STFU, you relinquish all rights to complain to your friends and family about the (hurt, abuse, misery) you maintain in your silence. If you are silent about the cause, you must remain silent about the result. Why should anyone listen to your lament when you are perfectly capable of affecting change? Misery may love company, the rest of us, not so much.

The silence shrouds the problem in a layer of acceptance. Think that is wrong? Riddle me this…

If your toilet were malfunctioning and spreading feces on every surface, would you still be silent?

The person you are giving an out is the toilet, spreading feces on the surface of your relationship and your view of the way other people act.

First Choice

Skull Shop Optical Illusion

Skull Shop Optical Illusion

The truth is the truth is the truth. We all know there is more than one perspective. If what you are trying to preface away is the fact your perspective is different, you have missed the point. The majority of people who act badly have no concept their behavior is revolting to others. From their vantage, there is no (disrespect, discomfort, hardship). By unapologetically delivering your observation, you can easily point out their perspective shows the smooth water at the bow instead of the tumultuous wake astern.

The truth is not hurtful. The truth reveals what others may have missed when they scanned the horizon. The truth reveals the ripple effect. The truth stops many people from being hurt.

The person who is behaving badly will continue to do so until someone points out the behavior is bad. In time, the unchecked bad behavior repeats, with someone new in the victim’s role.


If you still feel the inescapable need to preface your statement, do so in a manner which does not give your listener an out:

I am going to tell you the truth and help you, if you want my help.”

After all, you are already helping by telling the truth.

Hashtags: #truth #communication #friendship

Can you quote another preface people use before they tell the truth? Do you see how prefaces present an out for bad behavior?

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  1. While I must agree completely, I would think, given the general run of human nature, what you relate is going to shock all but those who know you well, and do agree; most will only give it lip service.

    Laziness and the ability to deny reality seems to me to be most folk’s approach to most everything, especially the truth; it’s why we are in the mess we’re in, culturally, since it stems from the same root cause, the fear of the unknown, big bad universe, and the ego’s need to stay in its comfort zone.

    To my way of thinking, your way is the only way; if the world COULD accept it, we’d find it a very different place… This kind of reminds me of the Lazarus Long observation regarding a similar idea, to wit: ”

    The phrase “we (I) (you) simply must–” designates something that need not be done. “That goes without saying” is a red warning. “Of course” means you had best check it yourself. These small-change cliches and others like them, when read correctly, are reliable channel markers. ”

    Shoulda, coulda, woulda….

    Tell it like it is…. the only way to fly….

    gigoid, the dubious recently posted..Move Ragnarok back to Tuesday….My Profile

    • I watched a two-minute video yesterday which included five renditions of “it goes without saying”. I marveled at how short the video could have been if all of those things had remained unsaid, as was clearly warranted. I say it all the time: Words have meaning. Now, if only the lips would stop moving the seat of the pants…

  2. “Just an observation ….” Any version of this is said often and when I’ve heard it come out of the mouth of others, it’s usually icing the “I’ve got something offensive or high-horse to say” cake. If I start with this, then I sincerely think I’m being kind, but I’m worried the person will take offense because people don’t always want the truth. Well ….. Unless it matches their own version of it that is.
    ArticlesofAbsurdity recently posted..To my children: “I’ll never be your friend.” Love, MomMy Profile

    • When I really know I mean not to offend, I tell them in advance they will find the truth offensive. Those with high horses often have crapped the saddle, in my experience. Great to see you. 😉

  3. More often than not, it’s better just to keep your moth shut.

  4. Sometimes, depending on the relationship, it still helps to soften the blow. I know, it does give an out yet there are some of us who are abrupt in our delivery and can be taken as harsh. It doesn’t hurt us to try to find a softer landing for our words.

    <3 <3

    • I am weary of it. Every time I use some softening agent, whatever I have said is deemed only good for hearing the sound of my voice (or in most cases fingers on the keys).


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