Thursday, November 13, 2008

I don't know, maybe...

I read recently that an "I don't know" statement automatically means "no." I don't think that's quite true. Sometimes, maybe, but not all the time. I can't exactly sit and lecture people about using non-definite statements (it's not that I don't like to commit, I just don't give definite answers until I'm sure).

Maybe it's okay to wait on giving an answer when you're looking for more conclusive information. Maybe it's okay to wait when you're unsure of your own feelings or how your actions might change someone else's feelings.

For example, when someone asks me on Monday if I want to do something Friday, they will most likely hear "I don't know, maybe." It's not that I don't want to do something with them or that I'm waiting for other plans. I don't know yet how I'll feel or how much money I'll have to do something at the end of the week. It's not personal. It's not about you. It's just me.

Or in another example, my friends like to label things. They like to pigeonhole me into neat compartmentalized boxes of words they understand. So when they ask me to define myself or say what I think or believe in, I usually give an "I don't know" statement. It's not that I don't know who I am or how I feel, but that I'm not sure what words they want me to use to define myself. I don't know how to express to them that I'm not simply X or Y or anything they can brand. Maybe I'm X to them, but I'm Y to myself. That's not fair, is it?

"I don't know, maybe..." shouldn't be taken as the negative statement most people make it out to be. More than anything else, I think it is a question. A plea for more input. A thought more than a statement.

In the end, it doesn't matter. Yes or no will always come. They have to. That's how the game works.


cm0978 said...

Words are so inadequate to express our thoughts -- my "word picture" may not match your idea of the "word picture." And sometimes it's easier to not give an answer to everyone. And how much of yourself do you want to give; is it worth saying anything if it will be misinterpreted or you have to defend your thinking/feeling? I often find myself hedging what I say if I feel that the other person does not agree (even if it's about how I feel about something). Souldn't I have more guts to sya "this is how I feel" and not worry about whether they agree? Not happening yet.

Michael said...

You once said you see people in colors... Could this apply here?

"Do you like this?"
"It currently gives me a really orange vibe with a magenta overtone."
"Uhh... we are talking about my cooking."