The word literally - in a literal manner or sense; exactly. How many times you do say something to someone and they reply .... "Really?" You add, "No, I'm only kidding. Don't take me so "serious", or "literally." Many I would guess. Common, we've all done it. We joke, we tease, we think we are having fun. Today, people take what your say "literally." Especially in the sense of sexual comments. Just watch the news. That can lead to many misunderstandings. Often times people say something, not just sexually, to test the waters. See what kind of response they get. I'm not referring to the times you're in a joking setting and everyone is joking, laughing and having a good time. That's a different scenario. I'm speaking about the isolated moments. The time when it's not such a good idea. Let me give you an example.
How many times in high school when your best girl or guy breaks up with you, you're devastated. A comment such as , "I wish I were dead," or "I"ll kill myself if you don't get back together with me," is made. Maybe not by you, but you've heard it. 30 or 40 years ago everyone just blew it off and didn't take it seriously, until kids actually started doing it. Overdosing on alcohol or taking pills from their parents medicine cabinet. As drugs got more popular, that became the method of choice, and still is today. Because of this rising trend which even today increases each year, it's no longer "JUST A PHRASE." Things are no longer "JUST A PHRASE." It's taken quite literally and seriously now. When I worked the streets, I responded to at least 10 -12 calls a week where a young adult make these comments. We had to take them to the hospital to see a psychiatrist for evaluation. Now the child has a history. Not a good thing to have, but a mandatory step for safety and finding any underlying problems early. They always had the same answer. "It was just a figure of speech." In most cases it was. But now they have a medical history.
Saying things you don't mean will not get you sympathy in order for you to get what you want, or keep what you have. It will "ALWAYS" lead to some type of problem. I remember a case once where a boss was teasing with his employee. He said, if you don't get it done I'll have to fire you, and walked away. The employee went to his locker, got a baseball bat, and attacked his boss. You may say something in a conversation with your partner and they give you that look and ask, "Are you serious?" You look back and say, "I'm only kidding." Many times people may not believe you were only kidding, and it was your way of making a point, and than blew it off when challenged. What if they don't ask, and take what you said "literally?" Now you have the potential for an issue to build up. The one thing we can never know for sure is how someone will take what we say. What mood they are in. How many times have you seen people that on some days you can say just about anything to and on other days, they will snap? Everyone has a bad day. A bad mood.
SAY WHAT YOU MEAN, AND MEAN WHAT YOU SAY. Everything else is just unnecessary fluff. ... CJR