Facilitation Antipattern: Implication

Posted by Doc
Mar 16 2009

implicationMotto: I say what I mean.
Belief: When I pick my words carefully, others assume something else, but that’s not my doing. If you read something else into it, that’s your problem.
Behavior: Frequently plays with double entendre and suggestive phrases, leaving it to others to take meaning from them.Frequently falls back on “I didn’t say that.”
Characteristics: Articulate, clever, amusing and amused, reluctant to commit


Implication is a tricky animal. If I say “That’s very interesting,” there are many ways to take it: it interests me, it implies more than you said, sarcastically saying the opposite,…

Frequently, Implication is used to get an idea or a point across without taking responsibility for what I want to say. It’s a somewhat cowardly approach, in that I always leave myself an escape clause, and rarely say what I really mean. It’s like the Qualifier, in that I don’t commit to what I really mean.

[ Related pattern: Articulate ]

2 Responses

  1. Andy Yates says:

    Similarly – if I make a strong public statement and then instantly retract it, I am able to claim that what was heard was not what I actually meant, whilst leaving a lingering impression of the statement with all those present.

    • Yes, that’s so. It’s related to the Qualifier, in which I make what seems to be a strong statement, but is weakened by one of the qualifying words/phrases. There are many subtle ways in which we can – deliberately or unintentionally – say something other than what we mean, or mean something other than what we say.

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