The secret? It’s right there in this lesson’s title. Talk like you mean it. That’s really all there is to it, though I’m naturally going to elaborate on that idea. I’m sure your feeble mind requires a lot of simple concepts to be explained quite thoroughly before you can mentally digest them, and it’s my duty as a writer to cater to the audience’s needs. To phrase our goal another way, you need to stop saying the shit that you want to believe, and start telling the truth as accurately and concisely as you can.
This process requires you to simply refrain from playing your usual games of dress-up with the truth, and relate your thoughts and feelings without somehow filtering or masking them as you’ve grown so accustomed to doing. Euphemisms might seem an easy compromise to make, allowing you to tell part of the truth without some of the hurt feelings and broken friendships, but in the future I’m envisioning—the future we’re creating as you read this and let my wisdom sink in—there’s no place for friendships built on lies. If your friends wouldn’t like you after learning your true feelings, can they really be considered your friends? Or are your relationships merely another series of fabrications you’ve hatched and tended to in your damned nest these many long years?
I’d like to take this opportunity to warn you of another danger: while there’s an overwhelming urge to mask the truth in its entirety, there is another temptation, possibly more sinister in nature, to tell the truth but entwine it so intricately in a labyrinth of words that any real meaning becomes irrevocably and utterly lost. With enough effort, I could insult you right to your face while making you believe I am the nicest, most stand-up individual you’ve ever met. Of course, I’m polite enough to dispense with such formalities, opting instead to insult you directly, despite having no idea who you are. I hope you can appreciate the example I am setting for you.
Honesty, then, can be seen as an act of sacrifice: you must throw away your worn-down crutches, those tendencies you constantly lean on when you long to escape from your responsibilities as a human being. Because while there is certainly a measure of fear involved (the fear of rejection, the fear of being disliked) in all dishonesty, I believe that the most potent and troublesome reason for the telling of lies is sheer laziness. You don’t want to have to deal with the consequences of what you believe, and opt instead to fabricate a temporary alternate world, one in which your beliefs no longer create a disruption that must be dealt with. In doing so, you effectively shield yourself from ever having to be a real person.
Yes, the causes of your dishonesty are varied and many, and to tackle all of these issues at once would be akin to ripping every fucking tooth in my mouth out at the same time: stupid and painful. This realization led me to establish a list of tried-and-true steps to clearer and more rewarding communication. Tried, of course, by me, and true by merit of the fact that everything I do and say is correct. I’m sure by now you’ve recognized my knack for being right about things, so feel free to trust me unquestioningly for the remainder of this series. This is not a behavior I would recommend in general, and I’ll definitely go into the topic at some length later on, but I think it’s pretty obvious that I am a special case, and am therefore exempt from the typical heuristics of interaction.
1. Learn when to shut the fuck up.
Our first rule of interaction? Don’t talk so fucking much. Yes, you are going to need to do a lot of talking to redeem a lifetime of dishonesty, but none of the talking you need to be doing is the sort of stupid small-talk bullshit that currently rolls out of your mouth on a regular basis. Nobody, including you, really gives a shit about the weather or the local sports team; stop trying to strike up conversations that none of the parties involved actually have an interest in hearing out, which is the only possible end result of your apparent lifelong dedication to bringing up petty, useless trivia. You see, there’s one particularly egregious lie that people are fond of telling themselves: “I am an interesting person.”
No, you are not an interesting person; you are, in fact, a stupid and selfish person who lacks the very basic sense of self-awareness that it would take to realize that nobody else is actually interested in anything you have to say. It is out of sheer arrogance that you consistently run your mouth without even the remotest sense of purpose guiding your tongue. You vomit streams of half-digested words out into the world, confident that they will reach the ears of some individual lucky enough to hear them, and self-assured that when they do, they will serve as incontrovertible proof of your own superiority as a human being. You treat words as though they are your tools in some sort of macho pissing contest, speaking not as part of an actual process of communication, but in an effort to pretend at intelligence.
The problem, of course, lies somewhere in the enormous gap that exists between your presumption of intellect and your very real lack thereof. Truly bright individuals allow their intelligence to speak for itself, and have no need for their mouths to spew unrelenting torrents of bullshit. The only people who truly need to talk a lot are liars and conmen. Silence is a part of honest communication, the first part that you should acquaint yourself with.
So just shut up and listen for a while. Preferably to me.
2. Speak your mind.
Now, I really hope you are aware of the difference between speaking your mind and doing whatever the fuck it was you were doing before, because the success of this lesson hinges on your ability to distinguish between the two. What you were doing before was essentially speaking without saying anything, and what you need to be doing is speaking only when you actually have something pertinent to say.
One of the most irritating hypocrisies of modern life is that such a trivial and pointless query as “How’s the weather?” is considered socially acceptable, while commenting on somebody’s appearance is generally regarded as rude and uncalled for. But we’re doing things my way now, so listen up: the former is something you say only when you have nothing important to actually express or ask about. It is nothing more than filler speech, the useless stuffing that pads out a conversation but does not move it forward or result in any useful exchange of information. Such a query should be considered a crime against humanity, and be made punishable by death.
Going back much earlier in the lesson, to your childhood “Kids Say the Darnedest Things!” moment, you’ll notice that as a child, you were much more willing to say the things that needed to be said. The fat-ass in the supermarket needed to be shamed into shedding a few pounds. The remaining three years of her sweaty, smelly life were banking on the fact that somebody would come along and make her see the error of her lazy, over-eating ways. You saved a life back then; you made the world a better place because you spoke up and said what needed to be said. This is what you should strive for in your daily conversations. This is the golden standard of communication.
3. Don’t fucking censor yourself.
Political correctness is possibly the worst thing that ever happened to communication. When did we start caring about whether or not the things we said offended people? It probably happened around the point in time that the people who felt offended started whining about it (and if there’s anything worse than people who are easily offended, it’s whiners).
4. Okay, maybe censor yourself a little.
I stand by my previous declaration that there is no need for you to filter your thoughts, but I must modify this declaration such that it only applies in cases where your uncensored speech won’t make you sound like a complete douche. Bear in mind that douches are very active in our society, and have left an indelible mark on communication; it is of utmost importance that you learn to avoid following their example at all costs. It might help you to think of this step in the process as more about changing your way of thinking than about actually filtering your speech. As this is the last step of my patent-free program to more effective communication, I can spare a few minutes to identify a few chief douche-speak patterns for you. The words and phrases themselves are less relevant than the intention behind them, so we’re going to need to get a little Freudian here—I mean this in the sense that we will be analyzing the subconscious reasons for such behavior, not that we’ll be making dick jokes.