Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I'm Just Sayin'

We hear this phrase all the time:  I am just sayin’. I am not sure where it came from or when it became so popular.  It is the perfect caveat or follow-up for unsolicited advice that probably will not be heeded.   I’m just sayin’.  

The unsolicited advice is usually given when someone is doing something incredibly bone headed or blatantly dangerous.  As the bone headed one may take offense at the advice, we can just tag on this last sentence, I’m just sayin’, and Voila! all offense is removed.  I’m just sayin’.
I don’t think you want to go poking around those live wires with that screwdriver... I’m just sayin’.  

Pounding on the computer probably won’t fix it and might damage it more... I’m just sayin’.  

It is apologizing without actually apologizing and without actually taking what was said back.  By tagging I’m just sayin’ to the offensive comment the recipient is appeased... while in fact we are actually re-emphasizing our point.

Guy #1:  Look at that bee-hind on that babe!
Guy #2:  Dude, that’s my sister!!
Guy #1:  I’m just sayin’

Why is Guy #2 not totally irate at this point?  How is it all OK after the offensive point was re-emphasized by these three magic words?

Maybe these words, this phrase, should be used in International diplomacy.

President of Country X:  Our embassy in your country was just overrun and blown up.
Ambassador of Country Y to Country X:  Our people believe you insulted the spirit of our country in your speech last night.
President:  Are you freaking kidding me?
Ambassador:  I’m just sayin’.
President:  Well OK then.  Wanna grab some lunch?

Imagine how much better the world would be if bandied this phrase around a lot more.

I have used the phrase more in this posting then I have have ever uttered it in conversation.  When I do use it, I dip it and deep fry it in sarcasm, which has no effect because of the incredible diffusing power of this phrase..

It will come as no surprise that I am not the first person to blog about this.  One Lynn Margolies PhD posted a piece titled “Defending Against ‘I’m Just Saying’ and Other Verbal Annoyances on  She provided what she called “empowering comebacks” to I’m just sayin’:

  • “I know – and I’m ‘just responding’ to what feels like an insult.”
  • “I know – but the fact that you are ‘just saying’ something offensive doesn’t make it less offensive.”
  • “I know – and what you’re ‘just saying’ is offensive Hey, I’m just saying.”
  • “I know – and I’m not sure you recognize that what you’re ‘just saying’ comes across as critical, hurts my feelings, is insulting, etc.”
  • “I’ve thought this through and I’m comfortable with what I’m doing. I’m not seeking input on this.”
  • “Thanks for your input, I’ll take it under advisement.”
  • “Thanks for your input. I’ll let you know if I need any additional opinions on this.”

I’m sorry Dr. Margolies but if you snapped one of these off to any of my buddies after they said “i’m just sayin,”  they might respond promptly and briskly with a STFU!  I’m just sayin’.

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