Overuse of certain words diminishes their meanings

Anna Wonderlich, Co-Editor

I love you.

I hate you.

You’re my best friend.

Along with many other phrases, we all say these countless times each day. But do we even mean it when we say them anymore?

People are forgetting how powerful words are. And like the famous quote from “Spiderman,” “With great power comes great responsibility,” our responsibility is to speak wisely.

Words are so important. They have the power to make or break a person’s day, define who we are and communicate with others.

Words and phrases are losing their importance because of the overuse and casual way we use them. In fact, they’re changing the way we define our relationships with others.

Nowadays, when people are dating, saying “I love you” is just mumbled in passing without realizing what it truly means. It used to be said only after a long period of dating and was a big step in a relationship, but now people are saying it within the first few days of going out. I think it’s great that people feel so strongly for each other, but they just started dating.

The same thing applies to “I hate you.”

Remember when we were younger, and we got in trouble for telling someone we hated them? There’s a reason for that. Hate, like love, is a strong emotion and a strong word.

We need to be careful when we say “Oh, I hate so-and-so” because we probably don’t actually hate them, we just don’t like them.

Because “hate” and “dislike” are used synonymously all the time, the stronger and more negative connotation for “hate” has worn off. We forget that hate is supposed to be the extreme version of disliking something, and we mix the two up.

Another thing I hear all the time, especially on Facebook or in the hallways, is “You’re my bestie” or “Love you, bestie!” There’s nothing wrong with that, but the meaning is lost after hearing them call practically everyone else in the school their best friend, too.

It’s like the story about the boy who cried wolf. The more we hear something, like a person telling everyone they are their best friend, the less it means to us and the less likely we are to believe it.

I’m not saying you can only have one exclusive friend, but if everyone is your “bestie,” then the term has lost its value.

Best friends are supposed to be a few key people you’re the closest to, and not just someone you’re getting along with at the moment.

So, is this a problem? I don’t think the overuse of words will ever go away, but we can at least try to genuinely mean what we say and prevent our words from losing their meaning.

I know it’s impossible to analyze every word you speak, but just try to pay more attention to the meanings of the things you say every day.