To me, this statement can be either inspirational or the kiss of death, depending on how it's used. Usually I will only hear it when I am trying to relate an idea to someone else and it's used as the other person's response. When the answer or response I'm digging for is specific, meaning that I want or am hoping to hear a certain response, and I get this, I am usually slightly upset or disappointed. This could also be one of those nodes that attempts to give some insight into the female mind, because the only experience I've had is my own. If men have had this happen with responses they get from women, please let me know.

Now, the inspirational use of this phrase is typically followed with "like that before." This implies that something I've said may have shown something in a different light, that I have given the other person some insight into something they didn't yet have. And if you play yourself off as a writer as I try to do, it's a really good response to have. It makes me feel like I'm not just running around in circles with my tail on fire in a dark room, stunned by all the light my burning hair is giving off.

But when someone says it in its original form, I am often met with my own mother-figure, who shakes her finger at me and reminds me that I once again set myself up to be disappointed because only one response from the myriad of options would have satisfied me. We women do it a lot, or at least I know I do it all the time. And I almost always regret it once the fatal line is spoken. More frequently, women accomplish this by asking all those questions men and anyone else that loves them hate to be asked, because they know that in the answering, they're being asked to usually be more kind than truthful. You know, those questions of the Does this dress make me look fat? variety.

And here I am, thinking I am an intelligent, relatively rational woman and yet still asking those stupid questions. My approach has changed a bit, going from simple yes/no interrogations to instigating entire strands of conversation that lead to pentultimate response from the other party. When they give me that "I never really thought about it," I take it at face value, that the idea I'm presenting is not in itself bad or good, but that the idea itself never crossed his mind. That's disturbing for women, I think, to hear that something they consider to be pretty important has never shone so much as a flashlight in this person's eyes. In addition, the statement tends to nullify the whole focus of the tainted conversation. It says, "I have nothing to add, and furthermore, I don't want to or care to."

Men, you have my pity.

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