"I don't see my feelings changing anytime soon" - What does that mean, exactly?
September 22, 2009 2:15 PM   Subscribe

"I don't see my feelings changing anytime soon" - What does that mean, exactly?

I have a question on word useage...

What does the phrase, "I don't see my feelings changing anytime soon", actually mean?

1. my feelings won't change, ever - and this is simply a polite way of expressing it?

2. my feelings are as stated, but I'm leaving the door open they might change at some later date?

3. related to #2, if I said this ("I don't see...") would you take it that there's a hint of doubt in my mind, that my feelings indeed aren't necessarily final?

4. something else?

And might this depend on the speaker, and the situation, and not have an absolute context?

(I think it was a character in Alice in Wonderland who said he could make a word mean whatever he wanted it to mean. Is this one of those things?)
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey to Writing & Language (45 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I would say 1.
posted by beniamino at 2:17 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, definitely reads as #1 to me.
posted by milarepa at 2:18 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I vote #1. This is just a polite way of saying that there will be no change. It's really a way of strengthening "I feel X" to include the explicit "don't wait/plan on my feelings changing."
posted by mercredi at 2:19 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've said this before (sorry) and I meant to say #1.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:20 PM on September 22, 2009


It is #1 - and phrased this way also suggests a little bit of "Seriously, why don't you get this?"
posted by meerkatty at 2:20 PM on September 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm tempted to go with number one, but can we please, please have some context? Otherwise this is just a hypothetical question.
posted by futureisunwritten at 2:20 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't figure a context where this can ever be used to express (intamate) something positive:

If a girl said this during a breakup - its over - its long over - pack your bag and go - that's the end of the discussion.
If a girl said that during a proposal - its questionable - she's reluctant and not being honest about it - better to recant, pack your bag and go.
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:20 PM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Unfortunately it sounds like you hope it is one of those fuzzy things but I am guessing it is not. Someone told me once on here to believe what people say. This person is being clear.
posted by ShadePlant at 2:21 PM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


I cannot predict what might happen in the future, but right now I can conceive of no situation in which my feelings would change.
posted by Naberius at 2:22 PM on September 22, 2009 [10 favorites]


I've used this before about whether I want children. I used it to mean there's no way in hell I want children and I can't imagine changing my mind, but I acknowledge that when I'm older some hormonal horror might make me temporarily insane enough to start considering babies. So, number two, for me.
posted by Juliet Banana at 2:26 PM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


There is no way in hell it's not #1.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:26 PM on September 22, 2009


1
posted by spec80 at 2:26 PM on September 22, 2009


Response by poster: Look at it this way:

Suppose you and I were in college, studying for the same degree. But suppose I talked often about dropping out, that I had no desire to complete my degree.

Suppose one of those comments was, that yes I knew I ought to complete my degree, and maybe after dropping out and spending time and distance away from school, I'd see if I had any desire left to continue my degree.

But suppose later in the term, I announced I indeed was dropping out, that I really didn't want to complete my degree, and "I don't see my feelings changing anytime soon."

In this context would it still mean #1?
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 2:27 PM on September 22, 2009


Yes.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:29 PM on September 22, 2009


I'd say you're done.
posted by futureisunwritten at 2:31 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I take it to mean, "I feel X. I feel X very strongly. I can't predict the future but there's no point in planning on feeling NOT-X."
posted by muddgirl at 2:32 PM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Someone is dropping out and is tired of people asking about it. The end of discussion has been reached.

As a friend, study with them, hang out with them, throw them a nice farewell party - but unless you think two unemployed people is better than one - do not follow this person.
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:32 PM on September 22, 2009


Yes, same answer.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:33 PM on September 22, 2009


Yes, especially yes. You're explicitly NOT leaving the door open by telling the person not to expect any change.
posted by amethysts at 2:34 PM on September 22, 2009


I've used this phrase before, and in my usage it means, "This is how I feel right now, and the very idea of changing my mind makes me want to vomit in terror/repulsion; but totally random shit happens in life and I don't want you making a big deal out of it if I do change my mind at a later date, but can we not talk about it anymore?"

That poor phrase, it does a lot of heavy lifting.
posted by teleri025 at 2:37 PM on September 22, 2009 [17 favorites]


I'm opposed to clubbing baby seals. I don't see my feelings about that changing any time soon.

See?
posted by DarlingBri at 2:37 PM on September 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


There's a bit of "Look, I can't predict the future" in there, which in some contexts ("I love you and I can't see my feelings changing any time soon") can be disappointing to people and come off as #2. But really it's #1 with some admission that you don't have perfect knowledge of the future.
posted by Lady Li at 2:41 PM on September 22, 2009


#1 is the generally-correct interpretation in any context, and I don't see anyone's feelings changing about that anytime soon.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:41 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


And it was Humpty Dumpty who said a word meant whatever he wanted it to. (“When I use a word, it means whatever I want it to mean, no more, no less.”) Don't be that egg, dude.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 2:43 PM on September 22, 2009


It means that it's not impossible that the person's feelings will change, but there is a very small chance. I think this exchange is illustrative of the consequences of emphasizing the chance aspect too much:
Lloyd: What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me... ending up together?

Mary: Well, Lloyd, that's difficult to say. I mean, we don't really...

Lloyd: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?

Mary: Not good.

Lloyd: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?

Mary: I'd say more like one out of a million.

[pause]

Lloyd: So you're telling me there's a chance... *YEAH!*
posted by grouse at 2:46 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm hard-pressed to think of a time it doesn't mean #1. If someone meant #2, generally they would say something along the lines of, "Maybe later I'll feel differently."

#1, aside from being polite, has also struck me as the sort of thing people say to indicate that they can't ever predict the future, but still that they don't intend to change their mind and no one should wait around in hopes that they will.

For example, say that I have a falling out with a friend over something major and I can't stand them anymore. Another friend might try to convince me to make up with that person. I do not want to and will not try to do that, end of discussion. However, I can think to times where I had a falling out with a friend and things ended up being okay years later, when we were both VERY different people. I know these things are within the realm of possibility, so I might say, "I don't see my feelings changing anytime soon," because to say "never" would feel arrogant, like I can predict the future and know how another person is going to change. But it pretty much means "never" given the current circumstances.

Or, given your college example, I might think, Well, I'm old enough now to realize that life doesn't always work out how you predict. I suppose there exists some circumstances or series of events where I would end up going back to college -- I could even end up going when I'm elderly for all I know, and I know by that time I will be a different person. However, I have no intention of going back to college and cannot currently be convinced to do so. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not leaving any doors open. My decision is made and I don't expect or want it to change.

The more I think about it, #1 is more about humility than politeness. Off the top of my head, that's the sort of thing I'd append to my not wanting to have children. I do not and have never wanted children, and I'm 25. I have read accounts from people who have felt this way and never changed, and I think that's what's going to happen with me. I'm so sure about this that my husband plans to get a vasectomy within the year, because he doesn't want them either, and even if we changed our minds, we'd rather adopt. But I've also read accounts from people who were like me and did change, and accounts from women who talk about it suddenly hitting them when they're in their 30s. I can suspect this is more a psychological thing or a reaction to the lives of their friends, or that if it's hormonal I will not cave into those feelings because I'm good at resisting emotions that I feel are irrational, but I'm sure other people thought that too and I can't know until I've experienced it. So "I don't see my feelings changing anytime soon." That is, to my best of my ability to predict these things, I won't ever want kids. But our ability to predict the future is fallible and there's no reason to set myself up to look like an ass later because I tried to pretend to know more than I did.

I'm sure some people use it as a polite way of softening something, especially in the case of break-ups, but if it were me I'd just be blunt, especially because I think phrasing it that way can give someone unintended hope.
posted by Nattie at 3:02 PM on September 22, 2009


#1. It would take a paradigm shift to change this person's feelings.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:03 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


It means: don't hold your breath.

Don't get caught up in interpretations 2 and 3. Just don't. That's an invitation to misery.
posted by jason's_planet at 3:06 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


IMO its not #1 but that's the closest of your choices.

It means "this is how I feel now, I expect to continue to feel this way for the foreseeable future but I acknowledge that I am not clairvoyant and cannot actually predict how I will feel for the rest of my life " - usually with a huge dollop of "please don't try to change my mind about this" on the side.
posted by missmagenta at 3:08 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nthing #1.

I read it as "my feelings are x now, and I not only do not think they will change but also do not harbor hope they will change, either."
posted by citywolf at 3:57 PM on September 22, 2009


It's #1. As in, "I like the status quo and don't think I want anything else."

Sorry.
posted by misha at 4:07 PM on September 22, 2009


It means "stop trying to change my mind."
posted by The World Famous at 4:14 PM on September 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


It means, "I'm sorry I feel this way."
posted by trotter at 5:01 PM on September 22, 2009


When I've said it, I've always meant #1 but more specifically I've meant #1 plus "so quit asking about it / pestering me" I can actually think of a couple of times I've said this in my life.

Said while turning down a persistent suitor/co-worker:
"I don't think it would be appropriate for us to date and I don't see my feelings changing anytime soon."
Meant:
"We are never going to date so quit asking me out."

Said to my boyfriend last weekend:
"UFC is stupid and I don't see my feelings changing anytime soon."
Meant:
"Watching your new UFC dvd is never going to be a good idea for date night, so quit suggesting it."

What I would interpret your friend's use of it to mean is, "I've made my decision, please stop trying to change my mind." At least if one of my friends was in the situation you mentioned above and said that, this is what I would assume they were saying. Of course tone of voice probably matters quite a bit as well.
posted by magnetsphere at 5:36 PM on September 22, 2009


She's just not that into you.
posted by flabdablet at 5:36 PM on September 22, 2009


The meaning is "I don't see my feelings changing." The "any time soon" is not a qualification, it's a discouragement. It recognizes that the future is unknowable and we can't always predict how we feel, but that in all foreseeable circumstances, the speaker is fully determined about his or her feelings and they are very much not likely to change further.
posted by Miko at 5:55 PM on September 22, 2009


i've said this to someone when i'm breaking up with him but trying to let him off easy....to leave him with dignity. but in reality i meant, i'm not interested in being with you, you'd best move on with your life. sucks all around for everybody. but better to start to heal than drive yourself insane overanalyzing.
posted by dmbfan93 at 6:17 PM on September 22, 2009


#1
posted by KateHasQuestions at 7:12 PM on September 22, 2009


#1. Sorry.
posted by rokusan at 8:41 PM on September 22, 2009


Make it so.

Take it from someone who's been there: if this at all concerns a matter of the heart, please do whatever you need to do, up to and possibly including hypnosis, to come to complete terms with just how so very obviously Number One that statement is.
posted by regicide is good for you at 8:45 PM on September 22, 2009


Is it wrong that I thought of this?

Number 1, I'm afraid.
posted by lubujackson at 9:04 PM on September 22, 2009


Have to agree, it's 1.

Literary device - to emphasize by understating. Wish I could remember the name of the term.

I don't see my feelings changing anytime soon = never
posted by Weaslegirl at 9:04 PM on September 22, 2009


The fact that you need to ask this leads me to believe that you need to spend some time brushing up on "cues". That statement was not in the least subtle.
posted by naplesyellow at 10:33 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


1
posted by OmieWise at 6:02 AM on September 23, 2009



Literary device - to emphasize by understating. Wish I could remember the name of the term.


Litotes.
posted by tangerine at 12:53 PM on September 24, 2009


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