‘Just’ Is Not Just a Word
Language represents a speaker’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions to inform, persuade, impress, or deceive others. Words reveal the writer’s intent to deceive and provide insights into the writer’s personality attributes and behavioral patterns. For example, the word “just” identifies personal insecurities and deception.
The word just is a minimizing word. When self-identifying an occupation, the word just reveals personal insecurities. For example, if a person is asked about their employment, they respond, “I’m just a secretary.” The word just reveals that the person does not like their job and aspires to obtain a more prestigious position. For unknown reasons, the person thinks being a secretary is beneath them in their eyes or the eyes of others.
Stay-at-home mothers often express their insecurities by stating, “I’m just a mother.” Women often feel insecure about being stay-at-home mothers because society does not place value on the occupation. Con artists and other predators intuitively sense the person’s insecurities and take advantage of them by preying on their insecurities.
Just is a simple word but reveals complex personality traits that most people prefer to remain unspoken, except in intimate relationships. If you catch yourself using the word just when asked about your occupation, remind yourself not to use it again. Next time you are asked what you do, proudly say, “I am a secretary” or “I am a stay-at-home mother,” without reservations or caveats.
The word just can also minimize activities. For example, “I just smoke marijuana” suggests the speaker is minimizing marijuana use instead of harder drugs. Likewise, someone who says, “I just drink beer,” justifies alcohol use instead of harder libations. The statement, “I just smoke a few cigarettes a day,” suggests that smoking cigarettes are not dangerous if smoked in small amounts. The word just reveals a person’s intentions and motivations.
The Word Just Reveals Deception
As previously stated, the word just is a minimizing word. When liars want to rationalize their behaviors, they minimize their activities. A simple way to minimize an activity is to use the word just. For example, “I was just going about my business” or “I just went to the store to buy something.” These utterances suggest the speakers had other intentions and wanted to give the illusion that they were engaged in normal activities.
A recent study showed that not all people who use the word just are liars, but just increases the possibility of deception. The study also showed that the word just in verbal statements signals the possibility of deception, but this is not true with written narratives.
Our words often have deeper meanings revealing our insecurities and attempts to deceive others. Words have power, and that is just the way it is.