What Do You Mean By That Statement?

I mean what I mean…Jack

Gerald Washington


Photo by Ludovic Migneault on Unsplash

It cracks me up when I see interviewers ask the question, ‘’What do you mean by such and such?’’ to something that should be an obvious comment/statement to them.

This is something I’ve noticed a lot in recent years from interviews I’ve seen on YouTube. I don’t know if it’s a journalism thing to ask that question or if it’s their instinct that compels them to ask. It’s just fascinating to me.

I get trying to get clarification on words/sentences/ideas that are complex or abstract. But, to get clarification on talking that’s (at least to me) straightforward is where I get lost.

For example, I could say ‘’I’m going to eat some Marshmallow Fruity Pebbles with some white milk for dinner’’ and I could see some interviewer asking, ‘’What do you mean you’re going to eat some cereal, G? What does that mean?’’

My answer: ‘’It means I’m going to eat some cereal with milk and enjoy every minute of it.’’

‘’Yeah, but what does that mean though? Like, what do you mean you’re going to eat some cereal with milk and enjoy it?

My response: ‘’It means I’m going to eat some freaking cereal, that’s what it means.’’

I would be a horrible interviewee.

It’s just strange to me. Like every word that’s uttered has some hidden meaning behind it or needs to be decoded. It’s too much!

This questioning happens with everyday people too. It’s like the conversation I had with a co-worker a while ago on the job. I’ll call him Sammy. I had said something that made Sammy ask ‘’What does that mean?’’. It caught me off-guard.

I thought what I said to Sammy was clear as daytime. But I answered his question anyway — just to help him understand.

My answer didn’t help.

Sammy asked me again what I meant. In my head, I had felt defeated. It felt like there was a language barrier or something that wasn’t getting my point across. At that point, I just wanted out of the conversation. I gave a short answer and eventually, Sammy went back to work.



Gerald Washington

Just a curious writer trying to navigate a complex world. Sharing my words helps a lot with that.