Communication Blog

So Yeah…. (Ya know?)

After having a conversation with a friend, about a topic I had a potentially  controversial opinion on, I realized I kept saying “so yeah” or “ya know?” at the end of every sentence. As that day progressed I realized in every social situation I was saying “so yeah.” It’s like in our culture what we say has to be so general, or we are so insecure in what we say we have to conclude every sentence with “so yeah.” Like we cannot confidently conclude a thought, so we have to insert a moderating phrase at the end of everything we say.  It isn’t just “so yeah” that is overused, we also say “ya know?” or “ya feel” as a means to almost disqualify any radical ideas we have and simmer them down to a general statement. One for which we make the person we are speaking to validate for us, and ensure us that we are being listened to and agreed on by literally making the other person respond by asking them a question like “ya know?”.  “So yeah” gives the other person a reason to know we are done speaking and socially que them to then respond, in agreement, with what we say. I find when I don’t say “so yeah” at the end of a sentence, i can almost feel this awkward tension in the air like the other person is waiting for me, and I’m waiting for myself to socially cue that next person to agree with me and to respond. We try and make anything we say, no matter how specific or radical, fit within a general norm by almost grounding our thoughts with these general statements/questions at the end.

What does this say about our society? It says that we all care a whole lot about what people think. We want to please the other person, and in turn we want to be sure we speak when cued to by the person we are speaking with. If we don’t know how to finish a thought, we say “so yeah” or if we are waiting for a response, or if we don’t really know how to tie up our thoughts, or maybe we feel the other person isn’t fully understanding what we are saying we say “ya know?”. We have to normalize everything we say. Especially during conversations that might be a little harder to have where there could be some disagreement. I notice that when I give advice to a friend about something serious I often end what I say in “ya know?” because I want to know they get what it is I’m saying.

Sometimes we even start out a sentence with these normalizing phrases. These phrases also can be used within a sentence, and are, all the time. For example, if somebody asked me why I’m not voting for Trump you might hear me say something like: “Ya know, because Trump just a misogynistic racist, so yeah I’m not voting for him.” Then when I see the surprise on their face, I might even add “Ya feel?”

Written out, it sounds much more stupid, because it isn’t proper english. But I challenge you to pay attention to how you talk and how the other people around you talk and consider how that could be representative of some flaw in our society. I think that flaw is how we all try and fit in too much, and we make our spoken thoughts do the same. We also constantly need validation, we can’t just have our own opinions and express them confidently without knowing 1. We are being heard 2. We are being agreed with.

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