The Damaging Effects of Saying “Whatever”

The Damaging Effects of Saying “Whatever”

by Daryl Daughtry, Publisher

There are damaging effects of always saying… “whatever.”

It’s a huge reason that people don’t end up getting what they want in life. They need to be specific about their preferences.

It reminds me about a quote from the actress and comedian, Lily Tomlin. She said, “I always wanted to be somebody. I probably should have been more specific.” Now, that’s funny, but it’s also wisdom.

Many of us will answer “whatever” or “I don’t care” or “it doesn’t matter” to a variety of questions. From what we want for dinner, to what we want to do next.

The reason that most of us will say “whatever” is probably because we think it’s the polite response when posed with a question. Rather than forcing anyone to do what we want, we instead pretend that we don’t have an opinion in order to ensure that everyone else is happy.

There are occasions when you can’t decide or don’t want the responsibility of making a wrong choice, so you say “whatever” thereby giving someone else the job of making that decision.

Actually though, this tends not to be how things play out. For starters, there’s a very real chance that everyone else will also say they don’t mind, which then slows things down and prevents you from making any progress and usually results in one of the worst outcomes. Now you’ve just inconvenienced everyone else and ended up doing something that no one wanted to do.

Another outcome is that you end up seeming disinterested, like you don’t care about the question enough to give an answer. That’s pretty annoying when someone is being considerate and offers you a choice.

Alternatively, you say that you don’t mind, then the other person then gives their opinion, and so you default to doing what they want instead. That then means that you don’t get to do what you wanted to do, and in some scenarios you may even end up resenting them for that. Which is pretty nuts really when you failed to provide you own preference when you were asked.

The other problem is that when you say “whatever” or that you don’t mind, it appears as though you have no opinion at all or are just completely indecisive. Now this may come as a surprise to you, but that’s actually not something that people consider particularly attractive. Keep saying “I don’t care” and pretty soon you’ll come across as fairly dull. If you want more respect, learn to make at least some small decisions. Would you’d rather have orange juice or apple juice?

Here’s the worst part: if you keep saying “whatever” then you might well come across as though you don’t feel you value your own opinion enough to share it – or that you don’t feel that you’re even entitled to a vote.
This can eventually change the way that others see you, and even lead you to actually believe that about yourself.
Saying “whatever” or “I don’t care” is essentially a form of conflict avoidance taken to the extreme, and if you don’t stop it now, then you’ll possibly find yourself coming off worse in the vast majority of discussions you’re involved in. You don’t want to look completely incapable of making decisions.

The crazy part is that there’s actually nothing impolite at all about speaking your mind and saying what you’d prefer. Just make sure you make it clear that you’ll potentially go along with another decision and don’t be too forceful with your opinion. Instead of “I don’t mind”, try: “I’d prefer the lasagna tonight, but I’m open to suggestions.”

Remember this…
Saying “whatever” or “whenever” will only lead you to wherever.