What People Say Vs. What I Hear

In her article What People Say Vs. What They Mean, Chelsea Fagan wisely points out that you can’t always take casual comments at face-value. However, there are also those of us (we, the neurotics) who look so hard for hidden subtext in sincere remarks, we end up blowing things way out of proportion. Sometimes people actually mean what they say — we’re the psychotics reading too much into them.

What They Say: “Ohmygosh, you look so skinny!”

What I Hear: “You look skinnier than the last time I saw you, but obviously I’m paying attention to your weight, so clearly I used to think you were pretty fat. I mean, you still have a long way to go in the battle against your love-handles, but I’m proud of you for starting to make an effort. They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, and honey — keep walking, because that’s the only way you’re going to get that ass down to a normal size!”

What They Say: “What are you up to tonight?”

What I Hear: “Everyone else is busy. Believe me, I checked. We could get drinks or something – you’re bearable when I’m drunk.”

What They Say: “I have a friend I want you to meet!”

What I Hear: “When I say friend, I obviously mean someone I hope you’ll end up sleeping with for a few weeks, at least. This whole ‘whiny single’ thing you’ve been doing recently is really starting to get on my nerves. Your desperation is palpable to me and everyone else around you. And frankly, we’ve been spending way too much time together — it’s time I pass the ball to someone else for a bit. I need a break.”

What They Say: “That looks like a good book.”

What I Hear: “I’m surprised you’re not thumbing through one of those trashy tabloids you love! I guess I just assumed if there weren’t any pictures of drugged out celebrities or Who Wore It Best polls, you weren’t interested. Oh wait, that’s Jenna Jameson’s autobiography? That makes more sense.”

What They Say: “I like your shirt!”

What I Hear: “I know you wore that shirt yesterday, and this is my passive-aggressive way of calling you out on it. You thought people wouldn’t notice, huh? You thought you could just spray some Febreze on that baby, shake it out, and nobody would see what a hobo you are? Well, we see. And we judge.”

What They Say: “I’ve never heard this song.”

What I Hear: “I hate this song, can we please change the radio station now. I know you were just singing along, so clearly you like it, but honestly — you have the worst taste in music ever.”

What They Say: “Can I get you a refill on your Pepsi?”

What I Hear: “You seem like the kind of person who comes to restaurants instead of making yourself dinner at home largely because of the free soda refills. This is your fourth one of these, right? I just whispered to the busboy that I bet you won’t leave that table until you hit double-digits. Prove me right, dude. I got five bucks on this.”

What They Say: “We’ll be right back.”

What I Hear: “Run! Run for your life! Don’t look back now or he’ll follow us! This is our only chance to ditch him, go, go, go!

What They Say: “You wanna dance?”

What I Hear: “Your self-esteem seems just high enough that I think you have the ability to dance with me in front of other people, but low enough that I’m not worried you’ll reject me to dance with someone hotter. Plus, I made a bet with my friend over there that I could get laid tonight, and you seem easy, so how about it? Just a few songs and then we’ll get out of here?”

What They Say: “Excuse me, I think you dropped these.”

What I Hear: “You sloppy, stupid idiot! You are so lucky there are good people like me in this world who will pick up after your careless ass! Now take your goddamn car keys back and stop wasting my life!”

What They Say: “How was your weekend?”

What I Hear: “You have circles under your eyes, a hickey on your neck, I can still smell the cigarette smoke on your clothes and you have a bar nut in your hair. Your two-day bender is painfully obvious, but I’m checking to see if you have a well-thought out cover-story to explain your disheveled appearance; or if you’ll spill the sordid details and allow me to judge you openly.”

What They Say: “Wow, it’s cold outside tonight.”

What I Hear: “I never want to speak to you again.” TC mark

image – Patrick Hoesly


More From Thought Catalog

  • Audrey

    What They Say: “What are you up to tonight?”What I Hear: “I texted every girl in my phone and none of them were free to hang out, so I’m texting you as a last resort. Wanna hook up?”

  • Merriam

    Someone has low self-esteem…..

  • Stu

    haha a little too pessimistic for me 

  • Sheniqua Jones

    “ive never heard this song”/any nonopinion based statement (i.e, “does katy perry sing this?”) is my go-to for when stupid ass people try to play me stupid ass songs and i dont wanna sound like a total bitch by speaking my mind

    • http://twitter.com/wesjanisen Wes Janisen

       See, this is totally reinforcing my neurosis! I love Katy Perry songs!!

      “This is the part of me, that you’re never gonna ever take away from me, yeah!”

  • Ola

    this is really bad. some articles on here are incredibly good literacy and content wise; while some i completely don’t understand how they even got published. this is just my opinion though.

    • Samanthamarcelle

      I think it’s funny. Personally, I look into things people say too much at times. I don’t believe it’s an article that’s meant to be taken super serious, I mean really just read the last part. It’s clearly a stretch. I think you’re missing the dry humor. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    I wonder what my friends mean when they say, “You look like shit.  Also, you need a girlfriend.”

  • Sophia

    welp, someone just read my overanalytical mind. hello, my life

  • JoAnna

    this is terrible. so insecure/self-loathing.

    • whyallthehate?

       i always think it’s funny when people call others out for being insecure. like insulting them is supposed to make them more secure? makes me wonder about the self-loathing tendencies of the commenter herself… just sayin!!

      wasn’t really my fav article either haha, but I don’t feel the need to be a total bitch about it.

      • JoAnna

        more like, i was expecting something different when i came to read this article and was completely turned off by the self-hate. in my opinion, it’s pitiful. has nothing to do with my own insecurities.

blog comments powered by Disqus