Meta Conversations: What People Say and What They’re Really Telling You

Have you heard a lot of people saying the phrase, “fair enough,” lately? If so, you’re hearing one of the many habit-forming phrases that cycle in and out of the public’s lexicon. You may have even noticed how this phrase replaced the one that began during the 2008 recession, “It is what it is.”

Beyond being the equivalent of a an ear worm for the mouth, these phrases actually are a shorthand for ideas and emotions running through large populations. Interestingly, they seem to be tied to the values of the time.

What meta conversation are we actually having when we use these words and why did we choose them? Here’s my take on the ones I’m hearing. Feel free to add more or your own interpretation of what they mean.

If you’re in any type of leadership position, and these words consistently spill out of your mouth, it’s likely time for a check in. Are you saying what you mean and serving your intention for the conversation? Or, is your verbal short hand causing people to read something between the lines that you hadn’t really meant to convey?