Well, at least we don’t have the ‘Well, at least…’ conversation…
Words have multiple meanings and, as I have touched on before – why use one word when ten will do?
Sometimes it is quite important to realise what is really inferred by the tone or words that somebody else uses. Frequently it is the case that somebody will prefix the comment that they are about to make with an excuse.
Eg – “I’m not being funny but…” is the code for “I am about to be rude but it’s understandable…”
“Any normal person would…” is of the code for “I am the standard for ‘normality’, so you have to agree to me or else you are not ‘normal…’
– I find this one particularly difficult as the speaker is essentially assuming the role of speaking for ‘the greater part of society’ – which just is not true
The use of “At least,..” can be quite nuanced and quite sneaky. I confess I have used that form of words that conveys the impression of being interested in what someone has to say whilst simultaneously shutting them down.
“How was your weekend?”
“Awful, I didn’t get any sleep on Friday night….”
“Oh dear…well, at least you were home, safe and sound…”
The “Well, at least…” is quite frequently a device used by the speaker to close the conversation down because THEY don’t want to talk about the subject. Try it, you can close essentially any topic of conversation down.
The logical or illogical conclusion to all this?
“Well, at least you’re not dead…” because if you were, it would be a pretty one sided conversation!