A trend I’ve come to more consistently witness in friendships and a wide variety of personal relationships is what could be called “the Convenience of Implication and Inference,” or, in other words, men and women’s tendencies to speak and act with the explicit intent of implying their true feelings, emotions, and thoughts, with hope that another party infers them properly, rather than stating them outright.

The Convenience of Implication and Inference is not, in and of itself, problematic.

But a grave problem arises when someone who is seriously emotionally upset attempts to convey their upsettedness with subtle implication, and with the explicit intent of having another party — a significant other, a family member, a friend, — infer, understand, and rectify that upsettedness. It is akin to willfully having someone you care about suffer the utter impossibility of an unsolvable emotional mystery.

The Convenience of Implication and Inference has the potential to completely implode good relations, and at the unnecessary cost of failing to convey one’s honest feelings. And, the ease by which one can resort to Implication and Inference to attempt to express their feelings can make it a suddenly unwanted trend in many relationships — its convenience can be addicting.

What is the Convenience of Implication and Inference?

Let’s step back to define Implication and Inference as they are being used in this essay.

Implication is defined as “something that is implied, especially: (a) an indirect indication or suggestion; or (b) an implied meaning, or implicit significance.” With regards to friendships, relationships or other personal relations, we mean the act of Implication to refer to when someone implies the way one is actually feeling emotionally, without explicitly stating it outright (regardless of the reasons or motivations).

Inference is defined as “the act, process or mode of reasoning from from factual knowledge, evidence, or implied premises to a factual conclusion.” With regards personal relations, we use the term Inference to mean the process that the one who is Implying hopes will be utilized by another, in order to somehow deduce how the Implying party actually feels emotionally.

I’m confused; Isn’t this supposed to be “convenient”?!

If your head already is spinning trying to understand “the Convenience of Implication and Inference,” then perhaps a conclusion is already clear: as easy as it may be to imply how one is actually feeling without saying it outright, doing so is completely backward to simple logic. It’s an indirect, roundabout way of approaching what should be a simple task.

Defenders of this method argue that the Convenience of Implication and Inference is a safe way of expressing one’s self, and a less harsh way to convey personal feelings. To the contrary, the Convenience of Implication and Inference is a selfish means of self-expression that poses a severe danger to strain or destroy friendships and relationships. Some examples of the dangers it poses in personal relations follows:

  1. When we resort to the Convenience of implying how we feel or what we think without having the courage to explicitly state what is bothering or upsetting us, we are willfully extending unpleasant relations.
  2. Once this trend has begun, the increasingly unpleasant relations thus spurring even more severe and hostile emotions.
  3. What was once a misunderstanding, or some negative emotions that could be discussed and diffused with relative simplicity, have spun out of control. Now, the danger is that the higher level of hostility can lead to even more strained and begrudging relations.

For all its dangers in personal relationships, the ease by which one can resort to Implication and Inference makes it a convenient resort when one is lacking the courage or will to express one’s true feelings. Even worse, the Convenience bolsters unwanted personality traits such as ego and pride. Though largely subconscious and unnoticed, one’s pride is emboldened in the act of forcing someone else have to go through the emotionally strenuous act of deducing your own actions and words so that they might better understand what is being Implied by you and the reasons behind it.

How do we overcome the Convenience of Implication and Inference?

First, we must routinely remind ourselves that the ones we care about in our friendships, families, and relationships are more willing to understand our emotions and feelings than we often give them credit. Often times, strain in our relationships does not come from a lack of understanding, but in our inability, unwillingness, or impatience to properly communicate our thoughts, emotions and feelings. A simple resolution is to communicate them.

Ideally, we should try to deny the convenient lure of implying our true feelings for the sake of denying our pride or ego. We should remind ourselves of the danger that something small like the Convenience of Implication and Inference has in possibly causing good relations with friends, family and lovers to spiral out of control.

For the sake of the ones we care about, our best option is, always, to resort to Truth.