Jul. 9th, 2011 12:10 am
sanacrow: a circular black and white drawing of a tribal-style crow (Default)
[personal profile] sanacrow
... JUST: (adv.) merely, simply.

I hate this word. It minimizes. It trivializes. "Just" do this, or that. It tells me the person speaking thinks the action should be easy. It ignores circumstances and individual capabilities in favor of a normative narrative of what "everyone" should be able to do. It also implies a moral judgment - the speaker obviously believes the course of action is not only easy, by their own arbitrary standards (usually heavily influenced by society's standards, of course), but the *right* thing to do. It erases conflicting emotions and tells you the choice should be easy, and therefore being conflicted about it is wrong. It invalidates peoples' feelings and experiences.

From a stranger or ideological opponent, it's sneering, condescending. From a loved one, it's even more damaging, a slap in the face. It is the worst word, a metric fuckton of condescension, patronization, minimization, trivialization, all wrapped up in four innocent letters.

So please. If you are ever tempted to 'splain someone's situation and the course of action you think they should take by saying "just do X", DON'T. No matter how obvious the solution seems to you. Just don't. Step back, think about why they might not have done that yet, and find a way to offer advice - IF they asked for it in the first place (which in my experience the object of this unfortunate phrase usually didn't) - that doesn't imply that the person is stupid for how they've handled themselves and their situation so far. Respect their decisionmaking process. Try giving them the benefit of the doubt - try assuming that they *do* know what they're doing, and that they *do* have reasons for handling things the way they have.

But for the love of all that was, is, and ever will be... "Just" stop.

from Jadelyn at Witch.Words

Date: 2011-07-09 12:40 pm (UTC)
pj: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pj
*snickers* at this part: No matter how obvious the solution seems to you. Just don't.

I believe I use this word all the time. I had no idea it had such negative connotations for some. It being ingrained to the point of lack of awareness I don't even know if I can undo the habit.

Does it count if I am using "just" in reference to myself? I think I do that a lot, too. I say things like, "If I could *just* blah blah blah..." From your reference it is actually a king of telling myself off for something I am not doing. Hhhmmm ...... interesting.

ETA - I went back through my journal, the last 40 entries and found the word often. I overuse it. I do use it to mean "simply" a lot, but not in a negative way. I also use it in the following ways (from dictionary.com):

8. used with forms of have to indicate an action performed in the very recent past: I have just closed the door
9. at this very instant: he's just coming in to land
10. no more than; merely; only: just an ordinary car
11. exactly; precisely: that's just what I mean
12. by a small margin; barely: he just got there in time
13. (intensifier): it's just wonderful to see you

I will need to have attention when I use it in response to other people.
Edited Date: 2011-07-09 12:49 pm (UTC)


sanacrow: a circular black and white drawing of a tribal-style crow (Default)

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