When Should I Back Off?

In today’s society, words have become meanings and emotions have become triggers. Our words today have more meaning than ever before. It has become more important than ever to use words carefully and with caution. So how do we know when to say something is not going the way intended? There are several ways to look at things, and you can use these tips to determine when something is not what it seems.


How do I know if I meant this? When you mean something, what do you mean by it? Is it a literal meaning? Maybe I meant to say that I am happy, but what did I really mean by that? Used correctly, the question, “How did you mean to say that” can bring someone back to reality, and change their interpretation of what it was that you said.

Sometimes a simple question can bring up more meaning than what you initially thought there was to begin with. Like the example above, when my friend asked me, “What did you mean to say?” I didn’t realize that she might be upset that I didn’t think it was serious enough after all. I realized that she was probably upset because she needed me to understand that she was upset, and that I needed to understand that I couldn’t take her seriously in that instance because she was so upset that she probably didn’t really mean anything by it.

If you can find a time when your words become misconstrued, you are better off than not saying anything at all. For example, when I tell someone that I am sorry, it is not advisable to apologize profusely right away. People usually misconstrue an apology as being false or coming out of the mouth in the middle of an argument. By giving someone a sincere apology when they are hurt or confused, the person is less likely to be taken seriously when they disagree or try to get you to back off of them.

Another example of when to back off comes when you are talking about something you have no interest in. You see, when you talk about something you don’t care about, other people may begin to feel that you do not care about them and that you are not interested in their well-being. This can turn you into a giver and not a taker. It would be better for you not to engage in these discussions unless you truly have something important to say. Even if you do have something important to say, do not begin your statements by attacking anyone or dismissing their point of view. Instead, begin your statement with respect and agree with what they are saying, then explain why you agree.

When someone tells you something that you don’t believe in, listen to them. Don’t try to reason with them, simply do not respond to them. In fact, the best way to respond to someone who doesn’t believe in you is to tell them that you don’t believe in their point of view and that you only have faith in yourself. That way, the other person feels challenged and hopefully will open your eyes to the reality that you do believe in them.