A tongue in cheek guide to relationship idiot speak

OK, so now the dust is settling, the smiles are slowly starting to return.  I lay in bed last night reflecting on some of the conversations that have taken place in my life when relationships have come to pass.  In my younger days I would have taken some of the statements I’ve heard recently and in the past at face value. 

Once you get a bit more mature and relationship savvy (dare I say once you hit your thirties) you can spot the sub text.  So here’s my attempt at a bit of humour to lighten the mood.  Having debated this endlessly with girlfriends (and boyfriends) over the years, here’s some relationship idiot speak and what it really means.  I’ve said some of these things myself so I feel qualified to reveal their true meaning, as much as having been on the receiving end of some of them and then seen what’s transpired after such statements were made!

And can we all just take a moment to thank the author of Bridget Jones for bringing the phrase ’emotional fuckwittage’ into our lexicon.  Here goes:

1.  What they say: I love you

What they really mean: If said after sex, ignore.  It means that was a great shag.  If said within a short time of meeting you, ignore.  It means they’re in huge lust and trying to get a shag or secure more great shags.  If said some time into the relationship and its met with behaviours and actions that match the sentiment, you can start to believe it.  If said after periods of real strife and the behaviours/actions don’t match up, be supsicious.  It could be their spinning you a line to keep you on the hook whilst they’re working out how they really feel.  I’d much rather have silence than lies as far as this one goes.

2.  What they say:  I’m scared that if we continue and get x no. months/years down the line it might go wrong.

What they really mean: I don’t want to be with you any more but I’ve not the balls to say so.  Any relationship can go wrong at any point.  That’s just someone looking for an excuse to get out.  If that’s what they think, they shouldn’t be in any relationship, let alone one with you.

3.  What they say: I don’t have the confidence in myself to give you what you need / you deserve to be loved completely and I’m not enough for you / you deserve better etc.  In fact any variation on the theme of ‘it’s not me its you’ (this sucker can appear in myriad forms!)

What they really mean: I don’t want to be with you any more and this is my attempt at softening the blow by blaming the break up on me rather than acknowledging simply that I don’t think we’re right for each other.

4.  What they say: I’ve done some really stupid stuff and I don’t think you’ll ever forgive me

What they really mean: Either they’d like to start fresh with someone new so they have a blemish free sheet  (normally said by someone who has trouble getting over stuff themselves and has a tendency to hold onto things – bad in itself) or again, this is someone looking for excuses to get out rather than just admit they don’t want you anymore.

5.  What they say: you’re fantastic and I love you but I’m just not ready for this

What they really mean: this is a tricky one.  If dating a widower, this could be a geniune acknowledgement that they aren’t gone grieving yet.  If uttered by anyone else this is just another attempt at depersonalising the situation instead of just saying they aren’t into you.

6.  What they say: Our lives aren’t compatible, you live here, I live there, I can’t see how we’d compromise etc (or any variation on a similar theme).

What they really mean: I’m not interested in finding any compromise because I’m too selfish or too stuck in a rut to want to change and accommodate you in my life.

Interestingly a chap called Drew has blogged about this and says he’d rather have silence than what he calls bullshit rejection lines.  I’d disagree.  Silence leaves you wondering.  At least if someone has an attempt at explaning how they feel it gives you the chance to assess whether they are spinning you lines or not. 

Spinning lines doesn’t always happen and sometimes the real truth is spoken.  In fact because bullshit rejection lines are so easy to spot, I’d say even when they are spoken if you have a bit of savvy you can unpick the meaning behind the words and get to the truth.  It just takes a bit longer.

Et voila.  Feel free to send me any you’ve heard or said and I’ll add to the list.  These are just my particular gems.

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1 Response to “A tongue in cheek guide to relationship idiot speak”


  1. 1 thoughtsappear March 19, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I agree with you. I hate the silence.


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