I hate a lot of things in this world, almost all of them are related to people in one way or another. One of the things we’ve become good at is using words or phrases out of habit instead of their intended use. One of the ones I hate more than any other is “You don’t understand.”
Some people say it between sentences like they’re taking a breath. For instance, a few years ago someone I know was reacquainted with her long lost brother. I took her to meet him after 16 years of not seeing each other. It was awesome that they finally found one another.
While we were having lunch and they were catching up, he kept saying, “Oh, you don’t understand…” and then would say something about how he searched for her here and there.
Uh, yeah, she DOES understand. She’s the one who found you because she was looking for you for 16 years, just like you were looking for her. You were both in the same situation. If anybody understands EXACTLY WHAT THE FUCK YOU WERE GOING THROUGH, it was her.
He must have said it 100 times. He began every sentence with that phrase. I wanted to shove a brick in his mouth to keep him from saying it again.
The phrase isn’t to be used to exaggerate excitement or to emphasize just how much you went through. Telling someone they don’t understand is just that. You don’t believe they grasp what it is you’re saying. And if you are using it that way, use it lightly.
I hear it in movies and on TV all the time as a crutch phrase. Usually in some sort of horror/drama situation. Some chick is running from some bad guy, and some good guy catches her as she’s running.
Him: Ok, so we’ll just go to the police.
Her (terrified as she gasps for breath): You don’t understand, he’s not from this planet.
Don’t tell the person they don’t understand, just explain the situation. If you’re going to explain the situation, you don’t have to start it off by telling them they’re fucking stupid. Obviously they don’t understand, which is why you’re going to explain it.
The writers of these movies and shows should be ashamed at that terrible writing. And for the rest of you in real life, follow suit. If you’re going to explain something to somebody, don’t lead it off with “you don’t understand.” That is completely implied if you explain something. Think of it this way, how fucking stupid would every teacher or professor sound if they started off every lesson with, “Class, you don’t understand.”
Personally, I don’t care if I don’t understand what you’re saying, don’t fucking tell me that. If I don’t understand something, I’ll say it myself. Otherwise, don’t throw that at me like you think I’m an idiot. Of all the things that piss me off, this is literally one of my biggest pet peeves. Don’t fucking tell me I don’t understand. Chances are very good it is YOU who doesn’t understand what I’m saying, and you’re not only wrong that I don’t understand, you’re assuming I don’t understand because you aren’t grasping what I’m saying.
I was recently told I don’t understand something, which is why this article came to light. I’ve been wanting to write it for a while now, ever since the sibling reunion above, actually. To me, it’s an insult. To me, you’re telling me I’m an idiot. I’m not smart enough to comprehend what it is your vastly superior intellect is trying to drown me in. I’m a blubbering mass of retard that can’t tie his shoes or go to the bathroom on his own.
“Oh, it’s okay honey, you’ll understand when you grow up.” That’s it. I feel like a child when I’m told that. I hated it then and I hate it now. “You’ll understand when you get older.” Fuck you.
So what happened recently? Well, a conversation came up about the comic sans font. A lot of people hate it. Sure, why not? It’s a go-to font for people who don’t feel like putting any effort into their projects. So others who give half a shit about what they do hate seeing it.
The problem is, for those of us who do certain projects, like the Photoplasty’s at Cracked, sometimes we work on a project that we want to use that font on, where it would make sense, where it would work. Yet we can’t use it because it is instantly hated because it’s comic sans.
I was complaining about how I don’t get the hate the font gets. I made light of it, only to be told I don’t understand. Yeah, I understand perfectly, it’s fucking stupid, but I understand it. I’m still allowed to disagree with it and bitch about it and fuck all, I’m allowed to make light of it. Like I do in most situations. The person who said that has known me for fucking ever and knows how I am, yet for some reason on this particular occasion, she felt the need to make me feel small and tiny, like my feeble mind couldn’t handle all that knowledge.
The worst part about it all is, it pissed me off and we argued over it. I don’t like arguing, especially with someone I like. A good, light hearted debate is awesome, but not actually arguing. That’s what it came down to. Now my day is ruined because of that alone. It’s all I can think about. And because of that, it leads me back to her telling me I don’t understand, and I get pissed off again.
If you are one of those people who uses that phrase regularly, stop it. Figure out something else to say all the time. You sound like an idiot. And if you happen to be someone who says it at any time, realize that what you’re saying is that you don’t believe the person you are saying it to is wise enough to grasp the information in front of them. Then take a look at the information in question. Do you really think they’re that stupid? Is it worth insulting their intelligence? Over a fucking font?
I said it recently to a friend, Miss Jolene‘s husband, in a conversation but in a joking way. I don’t think he took it that way, so I’ll never say it again. His reaction to me saying it was one I would use. I could feel the heat in his response. I learned my lesson, don’t even joke around with “understand.” And I should know better considering how much I hate that phrase myself. But I also thought he’d pick up on the joke. I assumed, and I made an ass out of myself.
Also, don’t assume. Another pet peeve of mine. I’d go off on that as well, but that’s an entirely different article.