This too is another of those instantly gripping directives worthy of scrutiny; viz., “Say what you mean!” Not always a pleasant task; one which may come with embarrassment. Who among us has not been told the bullying mandate at least once? Indeed there are perhaps less complimentary renditions such as when one has been caught in a deceit. Saying what you mean is not for the pusillanimous!
Nor likely is it an accident there are reputedly members of the criminal classes who notoriously say what they mean. For the remainder of us – that is, for those of us who suffer the social affliction of reserve – the adoption of the seemingly simple prescription is at times a challenge. Others may have adjusted themselves to the necessity of obfuscation in the name of communicability or a perverse belief of independence. But few of us say what they mean.
The unfortunate corollary of the avoidance of saying what you mean is that one begins to mean only what one says which I think you’ll allow is not entirely free of possibilities. Effectively we operate in two universes. So accustomed are most people to NOT saying what they mean that we’ve ended instead a society of select people. Normally this would not matter. Having one group called family and another called everybody else is predominantly usual in any case. I am assuming family gets the straight goods on the balance. The significance of being in the “everybody else” category is that it taints our native reaction to what we are being told. This is laudable because it warns of irrationality. Yet while we mustn’t be ingenuous it is nonetheless regrettable that often we’re not more openly disposed to imagining we’re hearing the full story.
There can be no question that in the end saying what you mean is the best course of conduct. And I mean for the party on either end of the proclamations. It advances the position of everyone at table. Like Geo. Washington I never told a lie; but if I were to have done so I’m guessing it would be very stressful to have NOT said what one means.
For the adventurous, saying what one means is frequently not without its comic element. Some people cherish the vulgarity with far more glee than proper. But it is a misconduct which invites retribution so to that extent there is a price. This I know is saturated with the semblance of mine that “little white lies” don’t really matter. And that is I suppose true. But more importantly I attribute a strategic element to the so-called patent falsity. For one thing most people could care less what you mean. And before you get uppity on me, let me ask how often you regret not knowing what others mean? In that regard, it’s a much overrated virtue.
You may perhaps wish to sanctify the anomaly of not saying what you mean by attaching to the limitation a legal custom to dilute or restrict whatever one says to avoid subsequent allegation of liability. While it is certainly true there is no recognizable entitlement to what one hears, there have been instances specifically within the commercial environment in which not saying what one means has devastating consequences.