Do You Mind? (or Listen To The Words That Are Coming Out Of My Mouth)

Modern Etiquette for the Socially Challenged Part Three

How many times in your life have you had this conversation?

 Do you mind if I sit here?

Yes.

Yes, I can; or yes, you mind?

I have to know; why is this so difficult to figure out? This linguistic jousting is like the verbal equivalent of trying to walk past someone who keeps stepping to the same side as you. No I don’t want to dance with you. Dancing is one of the “seventeen things I can’t do”. By the way, that would be easy to fix if everyone just agreed to keep to the right (except in those crazy island countries where you have to drive on the wrong side of the road).

Perhaps it’s that the phrase is framed in the negative, so when you are trying to considerate (or just pedantic) and allow the person to sit, you have to answer in the negative; that can be confusing. Next time, try this instead:

 Would it be all right if I sat here?

Yes.

Thank you.

Or if you’re on he receiving end:

 Do you mind if I sit here?

Please do.

Thank you.

Do you see the difference?

A similar thing used to happen to me all the time when I was working on a loading dock; I would often ask customers if they needed help to carry their parcels out to their cars, they would say “Yes”, and then pick up their stuff and walk out. From this I concluded that either:

  1. I’m delusional and don’t know what I’m saying (possible, but unlikely);
  2. People are not listening to what I’m saying (which is rude);
  3. I am living in Bizarro world (unlikely, but not impossible);
  4. It’s Opposite Day and nobody told me (let me check my calendar); or
  5. People are stupid.

I think we should all just agree to say what we mean and mean what we say, unless what we mean to say is mean to say, then we should probably just stop talking now.

Also; what’s with all the semicolons?

(Royalty-free image courtesy of Apple’s Eyes Studio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net and is used under standard license.)
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Crazed recluse and sociophobe who has taken up writing after failing at everything else. Send pizza.

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Posted in Blog, Whine Tasting
3 comments on “Do You Mind? (or Listen To The Words That Are Coming Out Of My Mouth)
  1. workspousestory says:

    Hear hear!

    Like

  2. Semicolons is from grammar Nazi’s…

    Like

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