It's a common sentiment we hear all the time.
And on the face of it, it makes sense. I mean the notion of the phrase is that saying something isn't enough, your actions have to match your words otherwise your words are meaningless. And you can see examples of this everywhere. At work, in relationships and so on. But have you ever stopped to think that actually it isn't that simple and the idea of actions speaking louder than words can have some dangerous connotations.
Now stick with me. This post isn't an argument that what I have just said isn't applicable. Of course any normal functioning human would agree with the aforementioned sentiment. But when you change the context then the same statement can be a lot more complicated and possibly sinister. And it all comes down to bias and perception. Let's use a very basic and probably common scenario:
When it comes to the world of courtship and dating it is very easy to misconstrue ones actions as being an act of interest or flirting. Of course you're in the position where you're looking for love (or lust) so you are seeking any indication that someone is interested in you. That could be a simple smile, or a follow on Instagram or someone just making general chit chat with you. And of course don't get me wrong of course all those things could equate to someone being interested in you or it could just mean not that much at all. Do you only smile at people you're interested in, do you only follow people on Instagram who you're flirting with... you get the picture. But of course "actions speak louder than words" so verbal confirmation isn't needed, instead you take these actions and you make them fit into your own perfect narrative of what you think is happening. Even when people say they're not interested or maybe they're already in a relationship you dismiss this because you want to believe that their actions mean what you want it to.
And this is why I can only give you this piece of advice. When someone says something to you, believe them. Doesn't matter how much their actions are showing an alternate reality, just believe their words. It keeps you out of trouble and when it comes to words there is less room for misinterpretation. "I'm not interested", "leave me alone", "no", they all mean what they mean. Of course people lie or have a complete mismatch between their words and actions but that ain't a risk you should be prepared to take. Because sometimes, all we have are our words and even though we don't always use the perfect ones, the ones we do use still have meaning.
I am not completely dense I do understand that the "actions speak louder than words" sentiment is used in particular circumstances and we all understand the nuances of the idea, I just want to reiterate that it can't be a blanket statement. There's way too much room for misinterpretation and possible dismissal of the words we say to each other.
Communication is important both physical and verbal. Each one has their uses but always remember that more often than not we have a lot more control over our words than we do our actions. With actions, we often act on impulse or familiarity, not to say we don't do these with words also, but the consequences with our actions are far greater because of the very idea we are discussing in this post
Always check your bias and perception, no matter how objective you think you're being, no one person can be truly objective. And stay safe out there, don't live in a make believe fantasy world. Take people at their word and live your life accordingly.
P.S I've just realised I wrote a very similar blog post to this not too long ago which shows you how passionate I am about this. Click here to read that post.