The Unspoken Message

*Note – I originally wrote this post on Friday, Oct. 24. A little coincidental knowing what has taken place over the weekend.

I get frustrated with the verbal diarrhea that often comes out of people’s mouths. Now, I speak quite often but I would also argue that I spend an equal amount of time quietly observing the people and things around me. When I am a witness to some verbal diarrhea, I listen first to what the person is talking about and then listen to everything else that is being said. The unspoken message. The unspoken message usually reflects people’s insecurities and willingness to so easily believe the information they are handed without questioning the source and more importantly, without taking any real action toward change.

Allow me to provide a recent example:

Person #1: Well, I feel sorry for anyone who is going to get sick these days, with all of the nursing shortages and all. It’s a mess and they’ll be ignored and lying in some hallway.

REAL MESSAGE: I just recently read the paper and would like to state my very basic opinion based on the headlines in healthcare over the past fifteen years. I am retired but still feel the need to assert my authority by showing just how wise and knowledgeable I am.

Person #2: Yeah, they’re saying they are cutting 9000 nursing jobs.

REAL MESSAGE: (This is actually incorrect information, as I too, read the headline. They aren’t cutting jobs. They simply are putting a hold on creating 9000 new jobs). I will support your basic opinion with the rather large and obvious headline I just read on the front page of the paper that is sitting on this table.

Person #1: Well my sister was at a hospital in *some place* and she said the hallways were lined with beds and there was only one nurse in each hallway.

REAL MESSAGE: I will dominate over this conversation while further backing my basic opinion with an observation that may or may not be accurate from a family member. Quoting a family member will then strengthen my argument. (Insert insecurities that rest just under the surface).

Again, I do not claim to be perfect and have caught myself in this same situation (where insecurities guide my actions or statements). In these harmless examples, I simply sit back in silence, smiling and nodding in agreement.


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