The Secret Behind “People Say…”

We’ve all heard the quotes of these mysterious “people” that rule the earth and teach us so many things about our lives – “people say it takes three years to get promoted” or “people think you are loud”. Let me tell you something I just discovered the other week (29 years too late in my life like most things). When people say “people” – guess what, they don’t mean people. They usually mean themselves.
Reason for this choice of words is that most people are afraid of mentioning how they truly feel. This is a tactic to avoid one’s own feelings or confrontation with others. Hence – it can serve both means. By saying “people” – you can distance yourself from the statement emotionally and therefore find it easier to communicate. Just try it out. “I feel you are bossy” or “People feel you are bossy”. See how much easier that flows?
The problem I see with this is that when people use the term “people” to describe their own statements or feelings – it can be seen as a general consensus – like everyone feels the way but that might just not be the case. A lot of the time, perceptions are subjective. If we go back to the statement “People think you are loud” – each person has a different tolerance to sound. It can depend on their cultural background or just how big your household was growing up. Hence, everyone someone uses the term “people” change it to “you”. “You think that I am loud”. It helps understand where this feedback is coming from and also it helps you determine if you think this feedback is worth considering in your life – depending where it came from.
And one last thing to keep in mind – if you are a “people” person, meaning a person that uses the term “people” to describe your emotions, then please consider changing the phrase. Own up to your feelings and observations. Be a person of integrity who is true to your word. It might help you reflect on why you feel the need to hide behind “people”.

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