A conversation near me recently had a very upset woman declare, “I’m bipolarizing!”
What she was really doing was having an adult tantrum. She sounded angry but was not out of control. To me, she seemed to be working hard to create a sense of crisis in hopes it would drive others do her bidding.
She was also using words she had misunderstood (or created) to try to enhance the seriousness of the situation.
After considering this, I admit I don’t know which of these is the worst communication sin…
* Making up words and expecting others to know them.
* Making up words because you didn’t bother to understand the topic or meaning.
* Making up words to intimidate, bully or manipulate other people.
Maybe they are all equally bad. Like most things, it is likely the level of disrespect for others that can make each of them increasingly sinful.
I’ve noticed that many people that regularly create words and use them with in serious conversation are usually trying to look smart to others. They fail to be aware of their situation, or their audience, to know that it generally has the opposite effect.
Now we have all made the mistake of misusing a word or repeating a word we had learned incorrectly. That is an honest mistake. It is when laziness or arrogance toward the audience is obvious that you can not only destroy your message, you can destroy your credibility.
If you don’t know a word, check it out. With a PC or a smart phone, you may even be able to do this in seconds. Or ask someone. It shows confidence and openness to ask for help, even on things that you may fear will seem elementary to others. You may be surprised to find out how many others may not know the word either and were just playing along. People that do know the word or idea are often glad to help you because they too have been in that situation. It can build rapport in your relationship with others.