mean what you say.

18 Oct

I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine, his name is Tompkins (100% fake name use to protect the innocent and ensue hilarity).  Tompkins, like many of my friends mentioned in this blog (cool Randy!) has inspired this post by being a great man whom I respect a ton.  Let me tell you about Tompkins…

The great Publix Sub

With this I am well pleased.

He is a brilliant musician.  Man-oh-man, he can create music on an out-of-tune guitar whilst half-in-the-bag that, if I were given 10 years of formal training by Andrés Segovia and 6 months off to write, still puts my G-C-D progressions to shame.  In addition to being a musical phenom, he’s got a razor-sharp sense of humor, a gigantic knowledge of fishing, and the ability to make a sub that will – literally – make you cry the kind of tears usually reserved for new mothers or Butterfly Kisses.  In short, Tompkins is a great dude.

But you know what’s most impressive about Tompkins?  Well, probably the sub thing.  But you know what else is blog-inspiring about him?  The fact that he is well-known for meaning what he says.  For instance, if Tompkins says, “Yeah, I’ll be there” – he’s there.  If he knows he can’t fulfill your request, he says no.  In short, his yes is a yes and his no is a no.

A man’s ability to be able to say something and be fully trusted is paramount. And one of the ways we earn that trust is through the normal, day-to-day, interactions with people.  For instance, if a buddy calls and says, “Hey, wanna get the families together this weekend?” and you say, “Yeah, that might be nice” (knowing full well that Saturday is already booked and that you’re going to call him on Friday and give the brush off), what is that saying?  Well, it’s saying that a) you’re now, officially, an adult who does things like “get the families together” and b) your “yeah” can’t really be taken seriously.  What if, in that same situation, you replied, “You know, we’d like to (a little lie is okay), but we just can’t.”   While saying no may be initially disappointing to your house-arrested friend and unpleasant for you to express, in the long run, that no will speak louder than a retracted yes.

Grown Men, it’s not always easy to say what’s true.  In fact, it’s typically easier to give someone a soft answer or, if we’re being really honest with each other, flat-out lie when you have to say something that may be perceived by them as unpleasant.  All of us, to some degree, want to avoid conflict and maximize pleasure in our own lives and the lives of those we interact with.  In the Dr. Phil arena, it’s called being a “people pleaser”.  In reality though, a great lie we tell ourselves is that we please people more if we placate them in the short-run instead of being upfront and honest.  It’s just not true.

In your life, you’re going to want people to trust you and, not for a second, hesitate when you give a response.  Because really, and here’s the secret, if you can be trusted with little things like “Yes, I’ll pick you up from the airport”, you’ll earn the respect, privilege, and honor of being believed when you say big things like “I’d like to work for you” and “I do.”

If you say yes to something — follow through.  Do what you said you’d do.  Be where you said you’d be.  And affirm that you are someone that can be counted on.  If you’ve got to say no, say it and don’t look back.  At the end of the day, a man of his word is valued more than a man of pleasantries.  No?  Yes.

Take it from the sub-machine, Tompkins…

You’re a Grown Man, mean what you say.

9 Responses to “mean what you say.”

  1. Teresa Jusino 18 October 2010 at 11:16 am #

    Amen. This extends to relationships with Grown Women, too! Too many guys I know make the mistake of giving women hope by breaking up with them in such a way as to leave it open – stuff like “The timing is wrong” or “Maybe if we were in different places in our lives”, etc – but all that does is make a woman long for those things to happen, when really, you’re just not interested with being with her anymore, but in an attempt to not have to deal with her crying or whatever, you try to soften the blow so you don’t “hurt her feelings.” I agree with the above post. Mean what you say. If you want to break up, be honest about why. And yes, you might have to deal with some crying…but in the end, it’s better for both of you. She won’t hold on to false hope, and you won’t have to desl with someone in your life doing little things to get you back when that’s the last thing you want.

    • You're a Grown Man 18 October 2010 at 11:32 am #

      Good points, Teresa, this does translate well to breaking up a relationship.

  2. Heather 18 October 2010 at 11:29 am #

    This has to be my absolute favourite of all your posts, GM. Good stuff for all of us to live by. It is so much easier to go for the ‘spur of the moment cover-up’ because we don’t have to be around when it all falls apart. But, that only destroys friendships and trust, ultimately.

    So good to be re-reminded of these things. Thanks.

    • You're a Grown Man 18 October 2010 at 11:39 am #

      Wow Heather, really? I’m so glad you liked it.

      Thank you very much, GM

      • Heather 18 October 2010 at 12:03 pm #

        Oh, you just asked me really? on a post about saying what you mean… Of course, really.

  3. AlmostGrownMan 18 October 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    I hate people who think they’re being friendly by telling lies like “I may come on Saturday” when they know for sure, that they will not.

    Nice post.

  4. Michelle 18 October 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    Have to agree, one of the most important things a grown man can do. Even “Let’s get together this weekend” is important – if you don’t mean it, please don’t say it. Grown Women have agreed to get together with you that weekend and won’t make other plans.

    Thanks GM. Glad you are back, you were missed.

  5. Gracie May 5 May 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    I cannot possibly express how much I agree with you. A million exclamation marks can’t quite sum it up. You said it far better than I could have. So I’m going to share this blog post with my friends rather than laboring over writing my own. Thanks 😉


  1. Ask a Grown Man: Vol. XV | You're A Grown Man - 24 June 2013

    […] Which, my dear Doug, brings me back to your question.  Yes, I think hipsters are ridiculous, what with their ironic glasses, vinyl copies of Bon Iver, and $200 vintage Chambray shirts.  However, when I was their age I was deep into my Dave Matthews phase, wearing Chaco sandals, and refusing to buy a suit because “Dave doesn’t wear a suit and he wrote #41 – whatever, DAD!”  And guess what? Some mid-30s-anonymous-blogger-guy was probably looking at me saying “grow up” – and he was probably right.  Every incarnation of youth is silly, Doug. Beatle-maniacs, hippies, gen X-ers, hipsters – all of them.  But what we can do is differentiate between what is an adolescent phase and what is real, rooted, and lasting – like a solid handshake, making eye contact, and meaning what you say. […]

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