Saturday, March 28, 2015

Whatever as slang: the most annoying phrase in conversation

I've come to hate the word whatever. It has become annoying and according to the Marist College polls, the “most annoying [phrase] in conversation.” Whatever has become a slang word meaning “I don’t care about what you just said.” It is used to dismiss a previous statement and express indifference to what someone has said. It is considered rude and impolite to use in conversation. According to Urban Dictionary, whatever is used in an argument to admit that you are wrong without actually admitting it so the argument is over. It is considered an alternative to “f**k you.”

The word whatever when used as slang is a sign of indifference. I’m not talking about when it is used to in terms of “Sure, whatever works for you.” Indicating that whichever plan is agreed upon works. However, whatever has become a word of apathy and very passive-aggressive. It has become a put down and a signal to another person that what is being said is not important. This use of the word is what I hate the most. When it is used to end a heated discussion in which another person isn't going to persuade the other to his or her side of the debate. It’s “fine, whatever” replaces “You’re an idiot and there’s no talking to you.” This is especially annoying when being used by closed-minded people who cannot accept that someone just might have a different opinion.

Whatever can also be used to display skepticism. Skepticism is doubting the truthfulness of a piece of information and that’s not a bad thing. However, when someone uses the phrase, “yeah, whatever” dismisses the information without an effort on his or her part to find the truthfulness or deceitfulness of the information. Whenever I’m giving information that I doubt, I usually reply with “I’ve never heard that and I would have to look into it.” It is a much more pleasant way to dismiss information that you doubt without making the person giving it feel like a fool. There may be truth to their information and dismissing it without consideration is rude. I sometimes also say “Interesting. I’ll have to look into that” to a piece of information that I may doubt. Either phrase gives respect to the person without putting them down.

Lastly, whatever can be used to show exasperation. We’ve all been there especially when talking to a toddler. You’re tired and the discussion is going on for what seems like forever. You just want it to stop so you say, “Fine! Whatever.” It doesn’t indicate that you are fine with the topic or decision but you just want it to end. This has happened many times to me when a topic is brought up and the discussion gets out of control and I often regret that the topic was brought up at all. I suppose because I am the type of person who is usually open to other’s ideas in the formulation of plans, etc. I am truly annoyed when someone else isn’t as open when an idea is presented that is different from his or her own. Simply because they don’t want to do it or they want their plan to be the only plan. It’s the “my way or the highway” mentality.

When whatever is used in a tone of indifference, skepticism or exasperation is annoying. And I know that tone of voice is very important when using whatever. And it makes my blood boil when it is used. The use of whatever, when directed at me, usually leaves me feeling unimportant and unworthy of even having a different opinion or idea and I know that it is not true. I know that whatever, when used as indifference, skepticism, or exasperation, is often done without thinking. Be mindful of the tone of voice used when trying to end a discussion or even dismiss a piece of information which you don’t believe.