We are all familiar with the term “comfort food”, whether it be chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, apple pie or one of each. These comfort foods have a special place in our lives, we turn to them – transcend time and escape to a place in our memory that resonates happiness. We love the way they taste and how easy they are to prepare. For whatever reason we eat them, these foods make us feel better.
Because of the title and tags of this post, most of you have already made the jump but I will carry the rest of you across this bridge.
We also turn to particular words as fillers or pseudo-conjuctions, in times of unease or stress; we love the way these words taste. These words we use are so easily produced, they’re not the ‘recipes’ we are bragging about to our book clubs. They go unnoticed in most cases but always have an unusual way of making us feel better.
Without any proper polling or case-study, I would have to say the number one overcooked culprit of speech is currently the word Like. The use of like other than to compare, “This is like that.”, to show desire, “I would like some pie.”, or to show an admiration, “I like you.” is most likely to use the word to fill a void. For a while, I thought this was just a problem with our youth but as we (including those younger than myself) grow older, we are still using the word. In High School and College speech classes, the use of Like in this way affects your grade. In the real world it makes you look less confident and less intelligent. Another major speech class no-no is the word Um. Um is actually defined as an interjection to indicate hesitation. Just don’t use it. Precisely easier said than done; easier still to write than say.
My comfort words are so and anyways. In any given conversation, I will use those two words to transition, fill silence or show my unease with a particular subject or person. I will even use so in text, especially if it is a random text or someone I haven’t talked with in a while. Anyhow and anywho sometimes replace anyways for me but still remain unnecessary. No excuses!! I am committed to making better choices with the words that I say or write.
What are your comfort words? If you aren’t aware talk to someone you spend a lot of time with, they will be able to tell you. Be open for this criticism and allow it to help you become a better communicator.