Leah Farmer

Personal perspectives on faith, literature, and life.

The Problem with “Of Course”…

Dictionary.com
1. used to introduce an idea or action as being obvious or to be expected.

“Of course, you would want to build this product on the old architecture in order to optimize for speed.”
“It’s fine for the kitchen but no one would ever use that color on your bathroom walls, of course.”
“Of course, you would want to be with your family during a time like this.”
“You, of course, are different than the other people that we normally see in our shop.”
“Of course, sometimes people just lose their temper and yell at a team member.”

Of course, these sentences are worded in a way that assumes that you know the other person is right. In general this is because the person is viewing the conversation through their own lens. In some cases they think you’d be thoughtless or crazy to think otherwise.  And of course, any person with any sense would make sure that they don’t do things that are disruptive, rebellious, or troublesome to the norm. Because of course, there are so many things that you could choose to do that would not be in line with everyone else’s expectations.

Well…of course, I know that. But I, of course, still usually manage to do whatever it is that I think is best for my products, for my teams, for my friends, for my family, and for my own life on a pretty regular basis and have, of course, been doing that for a very long time.

Okay…jokes aside.

The truth is that we all use language that backs people into corners. We say things like “of course”, “naturally”, “needless to say”, and “DUH” (ok that last one might just be me) in order to make sure people know what the right next step is in the conversation. But the truth is, that’s not conversation at all. It is scripting. It is handing people their lines and expecting adherence. It is a closed-handed position rather than the extension of an offer to share your thoughts and discuss.

I’ve been guilty. And I intend to watch myself for this.

But I will also be watching you. And when you “of course” me, I might just ask a favorite question “Why do you say that?”

To quote my favorite Product Lady (that’s you MM) “Words matter” and really…of course they do!

(NOTE–This is NOT directed at anyone nor is it a passive aggressive attempt to call anyone out. This is something I’ve been noticing in myself and others for a while. And as is often the case with me, I create accountability for myself by saying things aloud. xoxo!) 

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