“Mom, I’ve been trying, like, to do this thing where, um…I don’t say ‘like’ a whole lot because I realized how, like, annoying it is.”
When I tried to explain to my mom my inner fight with wanting to blurt out the words “like” and “um” in every story I tell, it came out something like that. She politely pointed out afterwards that I still used “like” and “um” numerous times in that sentence and it was in fact, very annoying.
This past week I made a challenge for myself to stop using the words “like” and “um” as often as I do. I would love to say it was easy, but it wasn’t. I found myself struggling with a habit I didn’t even realize I had and it’s all because of the two word cushions I have always been so dependent on, and I know I’m not the only one subjected to this “like” and “um” epidemic.
It’s easy to blame our generation for the over usage of these words. We’re all guilty of this annoying habit, mainly because we’re too dependent on technology. We like being able to type anything into our smartphones and get an immediate answer, so when asked a question we try to respond quickly and end up making matters worse for ourselves. What I’ve realized is we use these terms as fillers for when we can’t think of the right words to say. To all the “like” and “um” users out there, simply slow down and think about what you’re going to say.
So why am I screwed for the real world? How will sound to my future employer when I say “like” every 5 seconds? What about my professors, my friends, and my family? Over using the words “like” and “um” is not attractive, and it certainly doesn’t reflect the image of an intelligent young woman. It actually portrays the image of ditzy girl with no clue of what is going on in the world and no one wants to hire that.
As a generation, we all need to make a conscious effort to stop beginning our stories with the word “like” and filling the sentences with the word “um”. Deleting these words from our vocabulary will give us the opportunity to speak with confidence and show the world how knowledgeable we truly are. We didn’t go through 16+ years of English classes just to say “like” and “um” as every other word.
We know how hard it is for men to take women seriously as is. We hear men using the whole “she’s hot but she’s dumb,” excuse as to why they’re not interested. Two simple words require women to work 10 times harder to prove our skills in the workplace thanks to our backwards society who still have a gender income gap. As a result, the second we use the words ‘like’ and ‘um,’ we are automatically screwing ourselves and are instantly deemed as ‘unemployable’ and ‘ditzy’. I think it’s time to kiss our valley girl accents goodbye and say hello to a world where we use words appropriately.
Featured Image via screengrab of Clueless