Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The word "Interesting"

After hearing a particular argument or a comment, sometimes hearers will reply casually as 'interesting.' The use of this word 'interesting' is fascinating. Either that comment is truly interesting or it is a useful word for maintaining a cordial relationship.

This way, the relationship is kept at a politically correct level, taking a non-committal position that neither agree nor disagree. No engagement energy needs to be dispensed. One can simply walk away from the conversation not accepting the comment and still maintain the conversational friendship. Sometimes, it could also mean that one simply does not have the time and interest to follow up on the topic. Like the proverbial saying, 'Leave sleeping dogs alone' lest they wake and bite you.

Perhaps the hearer is mindful that he/she might not have fully understood the reasons behind the comment. In this mood, the speaker 'possibly' could have a valid point, but that needs to be verified in another way.

This is what makes the word so powerful. It is like a sword that can cut both ways. It can mean I disagree with your completely, but I do not want to confront you directly, yet. Once my arguments are ready, I will confront you at another time. At this point, I show no commitment on my part to agree, but my posture may still be interpreted as open or even agreement.

Fillers are words or phrases used to avoid that silent moment. It is also a way to communicate to the other person that the message has been received.

I think this word is a good word for taking a non-committal position. I am not sure if it is helpful in the long run. As one of my professors once taught, if there is any word that is not clear, or can potentially confuse, try not to use it. Does that apply here? I think it is a challenge for educators to continue to teach people to use words that more accurately reflect their feelings and thoughts. That is a valid point in relationship building. Language forms one of the most critical bricks in constructing a house of relationships. Like a shining light, we need to help bring clarity into this world. Instead of 'interesting', if one intends to disagree without offending, the phrase 'i am not sure' is better. Loving one's neighbour means loving confrontation or positive affirmation. Otherwise it can become vague, unedifying and downright confusing. Is there a middle path? There always will be, but the truth is that at some point in our lives, we have to choose. Perennial fence sitters may claim to make no enemies. However, they seldom make good lasting friendships.



Anonymous said...

Mmmm... interesting!

How are u guys doing? R u guys returning to S'pore soon?
Tell Mary and the kids we say "Hi"... enjoy the beautiful Fall and the nice cool weather in Vancouver... It's hot and humid here....
Take care-Albert, Yee Ling & Andreajoy

YAPdates said...

Albert and all at home,

We are in the process of discerning our next steps. Who knows, we might see you later this year?

The weather in Vancouver is getting cold and very wet. There was a small plane crash in Richmond just yesterday. One of our friends live near the block that was hit.

Andrea must have grown a lot by now.

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