17.4 English words that English people don’t know

‘Confusion, I don’t know what I should do.
Confusion, I leave it all up to you.’ ~ Electric Light Orchestra

Truth is a word, that has different meanings. Each person can have his or her own version of truth. Nonetheless, there are a few words, that seemingly have only one meaning, but in the end of the day people may still understand them differently.

Unfortunately, this creates so much tension in communication, that I decided to include them into our edition of Mobile Opera #002.

In this edition we will be decorating the beautiful Christmas tree in trail of golden stars and rain and ruminate on these confusing words, that may distort, disguise and disfigure the picture of truth, that every person has.

And no, they are not the ones like EFFECT and AFFECT, as my new tutorial in English suggests. That would be too simple. So…shall we?


Topic of mystery becomes very fashionable these days. ‘Become mysterious and win their interest’, says the glamour magazine.

And people, pondering over what the hell being mysterious is, try to act foggy instead, thinking it is mysterious. No.

I somehow was lucky to see this difference, because my mother and I are like that. Spiritual twins, whose thoughts coincide by 90%. And she IS mysterious. While I am just foggy.

Mysterious people are those who are not necessarily unpredictable. On the contrary, many of them would give a big dislike to unpredictability. My mother definitely would.

Mysterious people are those who give you a riddle and wait for you to get the clue. Who like unfinished sentences, ambiguous meanings, meta-language and all those beautiful things that make life extremely interesting, and them – just magnetic. You would never get tired of them. You unwrap the present to see  another wrapped present.

But in the end of the day you can be sure that they are still their good selves, and you will find the same person you once liked.

Foggy people have no mysteries around them.

They sometimes are as plain as decks. Direct as directives. And boring as hell. They tell you very straightforwardly and without further adieu what they want. So you start feeling relaxed and a little bored. Right until the moment when you want to see them again. And when you come back you find completely different person in front of you, if any at all.

Have they lost interest? Have they become bored? Has anything happened? Can be all or none of them. Foggy people are like fog. You stick your hand into it and it goes through the air. You never know what to expect next. And the number of years you live with them only makes things worse. Instead of knowing them better you have a feeling of living with bigger number of people.

With foggy people you will never know what will happen next. They may convince you of the opposite, but right the moment you relax, the river changes its direction and you find yourself sitting alone in low water. Some people hate it. Some people love it. While both of these qualities are neither lovable nor hateable. They are just different.

I know plenty of people who hate mysteries. Whose brain has no capacity of unwinding constant riddles. Who want it all predictable and plain. So you just have to choose for yourself.


Another pair of words people often confuse. Whenever someone is hiding something or not telling the truth, people tend so say {s}he is playing games. No. Games is about something else. It never implies lies. Games is much closer to the word ‘mysterious’ than ‘lying’.

Games is about making one’s life interesting, adding a little intrigue into it, dressing it into the veil, woven of enigmas. Sometimes it implies not prompting the truth, if not asked for, and keeping it for oneself. Lies means giving a false answer, even if prompted for direct response.


Most people like being cared about. And if not cared about, at least cared for. Nobody wants to be with someone who doesn’t care if we are alright now or altogether all wrong. However it is important not to confuse need for care with neediness in general, sometimes the boundary can be too thin to notice.

Neediness comes we cannot fulfill our emotional needs ourselves and try to fill the gap at the cost of another person. In this sense if someone cares about us, it doesn’t mean {s}he must be fixing  emotional gaps.

Neediness implies really heavy load of responsibility of another person. It washes away all ‘kick’ out of relationship, makes it work instead of joy. You start being associated as source of constant extra problems, while any average adult person has their own on their plates.

So the balance is, perhaps, the best case scenario. One should not look for communications where noone appreciates him or her. At the same times one need to learn to fill their emotional needs themselves.


Some people think that caring about someone, is to get upset whenever that someone relates some issues to them. Unfortunately it is not so.

When someone has issues and an urge to share them with you, they are generally upset about the negative cause of those issues. So an average person will relate it all to you with a negative attitude. Confusion comes if you think that showing your care and concern is to become upset too. Otherwise you might look indifferent.

Being upset is, frankly speaking, a rather destructive feeling. To show you how much, I will tell you about the doctor.

An average doctor sees about 15 patients a day. Each patient comes with a health complaint, that’s clear. However if the doctor instead of focusing on solution of a problem will become upset each time together with patients, {s}he will burn out and pretty soon. And get sick too.

So those words are not synonymic. And if you really need to help, try to think what the other person really wants to get from you, complaining to you of their issues. If they want ears, listen. If they ask for advice, give. If they ask for help, go.

However be careful here unless you want to get a personal energetic vampire beside you. Constant complaining definitely comes from lack of energy and inability to replenish it from natural sources. So if somebody uses you as a flush for their issues time and time again, think, that they, in fact, might not want their issues to be solved. Otherwise instead of complaining they would go and fix those issues.

So most likely they are charging themselves at your expense. Would you like it this way? I’d rather dissuade you from that. Because you need this energy yourself, as it is the driving force for your health, creativity and happiness. Is this other person really worth of your giving it away like that?


A very tricky combination. I should confess, that sometimes I can be very talkative. But that doesn’t mean that I am open. This will be my most favourite mask to wear: to make an impression of an open book and seemingly open my soul for you.

If you ask me inconvenient questions, I will certainly start answering all of them, while some people may avoid it or even get angry with you for tactlessness.

And I know at least three other person like this. They will talk about everything with you, but in the end of the day they will tell you nothing about what they truly feel.

Why so?

Yes, because you were tactless! You may have asked something you should not have poked your nose into. But instead of an open confrontation I will choose to mislead you. That’s much easier. Much less energy consuming. Invokes much less questions, rumors, conjectures.


Another pair of words that may go very close together. Those, who may not care too much of you, do not want to do what you ask for, do not want to take initiative {and inevitable buns} may find a socially acceptable form of escaping that.

And yes, they say they are shy this is why they cannot ask you for a date. And then you get surprised, seeing the same shyest shy guy on a date with someone he really likes.


A less radical word combination, but also confusing sometimes. Shy is not the same as humble. I can be humble, but not shy at all. Or I can be both. Or none.

If you are shy of public speaking, you can overcome it with practice and effort. But being humble is something that comes as an all-inclusive package with upbringing. It is not prompting your virtues ahead of everybody else’s, but rather putting yourself as equal to others, taking off superiority ‘crown’.

Being humble is also not the same as concealing one’s achievements.


Now we again came close to the subject of lies. Imitating something is not exactly lies. Imitation is a bit vast subject to discuss, but in general, there can be imitation of something out of fear to show their true self or to upset someone {which, I think, is a derivative from that} but there is another sort of imitation that mostly concerns the imitator, not you.

It is closer of ‘getting used to the role’, when you want something and try to see how it feels to have it. It comes dangerously close to illusions, so one should be really careful.

There is a saying ‘fake it till you make it’ and that’s about imitation. For me it works miracles, especially in cases when I set up goals that far exceed my current possibilities.

When I was 3 years old I wanted to learn reading. Soooo much wanted that I asked my parents to buy me a children’s book. So my kindergarten was rather far from home, we had to use metro for about 45 minutes to get there, so when we went, I would take out the book and pretend I was reading it.

Of course I was making an enormous impression on people ha ha!:-D

That was complete showing off, fiction, imitation. I understood nothing in the book, only the pictures. But gradually I educated my subconscious mind that reading at this age is not impossible, so I ended up starting reading at 4. When I came to school at 7 I was surprised to see that most of my classmates could not read yet.

Another funny imitation was when I turned 17 and ‘fell in love’ with a boy. According to the classics of the genre, he didn’t love me back. So I found nothing better than starting to invent stories in my head. I was a student of a preparatory group for the university then, so I made some friends there and would be telling them stories about where me and my ‘fake fiancé‘ went this or that weekend.

To my own surprise a year later we started to go out together with that boy. Although the guy in real life turned out to be totally different from the picture my imagination drew on the canvas of my brain, and I ended that ‘relationship’ way faster than I got into it, that was the lyrics of another song.


‘Never focus on yourself. Focus on others. And you will do it forever’

I like finding good features about people and telling them about that. This is a sort of confusion that, unfortunately, stems from my own set of mistakes.

I am the type of person who take critique rather indifferently, it doesn’t upset me, but doesn’t motivate me for anything either. In my mind I have clear dissociation of critique with me, rather I attribute it to the critic and his or her projections.

While if someone starts to find out good things about me, I get so much inspired about it that I want to develop it further. So if I hear from someone that I am kind, I want to be kinder. If someone tells me I am conceited arrogant jerk, I disassociate it.

So in this manner I like to approach other people, thinking that critique changes nothing, only ruins relationships. So instead of criticising people for behaviour I dislike, I try to find qualities I like and highlight them.

So what happens next I’d better not describe!

Some people don’t believe me, saying I try to flatter them. Some people think I want something from them, this is why I say it. And this new trend started to appear only in 2016 when I started ASMR project and increased the dose of positive feedback; so a few people, receiving highly concentrated potion of encouragement, after a while start thinking they are…{sigh} too good for me!

That phenomenon is really a terra incognita for me and I still have to learn how to deal with it. Objectively there is no implication of a better person or a worse person.

Omni comparatio claudicat {any comparison limps}.

But there is such a thing as ‘objective value’ of this and that person and {I will now be really arrogant!} if you create stuff that others consume, your objective value may a posteriori be higher than of those whose range of conversations goes no further than kitchen talks {conversational concentration on family and food}.

However too much encouragement raises their subjective value to the level of losing the balance, when they start to believe that they indeed are much better than you.

So another vast learning field ahead. One thing I learned so far is that too much of encouragement ruins friendships as fast as too much of critique.


‘What we fought for, that we ran against’ ~ Russian saying

Purely interpersonal relationship matter that mostly concerns ‘a woman to a man’ flow of feelings. We come back to connotation that all living beings like care.

But some women think that caring for a man is about mothering them.

The level of motherhood can vary from innocent questions like ‘did you put your hat on?’ ‘did you eat well today darling?’ ‘do you know you are running late for work?’ to head-on focused actions on solving men’s problems.

Mothering instead of care will lead to what we ‘fought for’: instead of men we get sons.


In the post13 man-made myths about true love’ I already touched upon this bug. Some people would assume that if you love them, you would rip yourself off the last shirt for them.

While true love is really giving, it is not altruistic and not sacrificial. It is destructive to expect that the one, who you share such a great gift of life as mutual love, will dissolve themselves for your needs.

If you have such expectations, this, first of all, shows that you are needy and cannot fulfill your emotional needs yourself. So you need to work on fixing it. And in your turn, it would be a mistake if you dissolve yourself in the object of your love. If {s}he uncompromisingly expects that, you could probably think of leaving them before it is too late.


Same pair of confusing words as being upset vs care. If you react calmly to most of events, people may think you are indifferent and don’t care.

I grew up to believe that ability to stay calm in difficult situations sometimes can be even lifesaving, let alone help solving problems better and faster.

Recently my family went to the mountains in the North Caucasus and I was to take care of home. And according to Murphy’s Law exactly this time the cold water tap in the kitchen went broken, so the water started dripping onto the floor under the sink. The general tap, responsible for overall cold water cutting off, went jammed,  so I could not stop dripping.

It was both unpleasant and scary, also because it was too late at night to call anyone and scare them too, but I am sure that if I became hysteroid or fell into panic instead of calling the emergency, it would not have been of any help either. Heartless or no heartless.


I know that I promised to write an article about introverts since Cainozoic era but unfortunately the stars haven’t set themselves up for that. I will do it a little later, but probably now we can agree that an introvert is not necessarily a shy one. An introvert is not necessarily afraid of public speaking. The only majour difference between an introvert and extrovert is that the latter recharge energy through communication with people, and the former do it through nature.

Extroverts would rather spend more time with people and some time alone, introverts would rather spend more time alone and some time with people.

I am not shy and have experience of public speaking, so most likely it is proven that if you are shy of people you are not necessarily an introvert. Neither they are anti-social monks, living in the Skete on the rock.

One of these days I will tell you about most introverted introvert I had ever known. Please follow me on Twitter if you want to see me fulfilling my promises.


‘ A diplomat is a man who thinks twice before he says nothing’ ~  Edward Heath

I would rather call it honesty vs rudeness but seem to be too shy to do that:-D

People often confuse these two. For example a woman asks another woman: how do I look? The latter sees that the former is dressed in an ugly babushka dress with floral pattern, she wears sandals and male socks too.

What to say? If you say ‘oh you look really ugly’ you will obviously tell the truth. But will it be honesty? Or tactlessness? Definitely they are not the same.

Who needs that honesty for Christ’s sake? I am sure there is a chance to be honest without dropping into tactlessness at the same time. If you can’t, just be diplomatic.


‘The chains that bind us most closely are the ones we have broken.’ ~ Antonio Porchia

It is convenient to think that if one loves another, jealousy is justified.

One of my favourite psychologists I used to read a while ago even thinks it is normal to exchange passwords to one’s social media accounts when you enter into a relationship.

It goes without saying that every couple is to agree on their own rules and terms of conduct within THEIR own relationship. As for me, there is no faster way to lose my interest then starting to insist on password to my social media.

Because jealousy is not about love.

It is about fear. About weakness. Self-insecurity and all that jazz. Basically the key to all social media accounts is interest. The interest that another person has towards you.

If you want beside you a somebody, burdened with two university degrees, and are itchy to spend your free time on the coach with beer, TV and junk food, you will not need a social media password.

You will need a fire hydrant to put out flaming socks of another person, running away from you.

Likewise, if you keep interest in the one who loves you, there is nothing to worry about, no matter how many people are around them. Love is about free fall. Not chains.


Success comes through hard labour. That’s what they say.

Especially often you can hear it from people who indeed have some meaningful achievements. More than frequently they say that no success would have come to them without hard labour.

But wait a minute!

What stands for hard labour in this sense? Women in orange waistcoat, laying rails on the railroads work extremely hard! Why on the planet they are not successful? Not billionaires? Not celebrities?

Just because…to work hard is not the same as to work much. Not the same as to work smart. To achieve success, working hard, is not enough. There should be the right vector applied to that.

And yes. Many successful people work really much. But it is not equal to hard. I cannot call myself that successful but I work a lot. I work on weekends and at nights too. My ordinary working day is 12 hours, extraordinary can be 16+

I still remember that in 2010 I was invited for Valentine into a nice Japanese restaurant. And how two hours before that I messed up with transferring my websites from one hosting provider to another. I was doing that for the first time. I confused domain names directories. And my websites were not working!

And how during all that really great dinner I could only think of what was happening to my websites…:-( I still feel ashamed of that. But I feel happy doing what I like. All my projects are my hubbies hobbies.

And my work is rest at the same time. And who needs rest from rest? I only need rest when I feel physically exhausted, that can happen sometimes too. So something similar is what is referred to from lips of successful people. None of them will be doing what they dislike, just hard work to earn the loot.


I have always thought that the word ‘betrayal’ does not need interpretation. Exactly until the moment, when I heard from the person whose opinion is important to me, this phrase ‘You know, since A divorced B, this is a betrayal…’

Wait a minute!

Slavery was abolished in Russia a little bit too late, only in 1861. But still, enough time has passed to see that people form marriages and stay with each other based on free will. This right is granted by Law.

But unfortunately, majourity of people think the opposite.

And the thing is that a person I was talking to, is happily married for many years. She has never lived in a marriage, knowing the spouse is with her not because of her, not because of love, but because of obligation, duty, pity, fear, etc.

Adultery is betrayal. Going deep into depression because one’s life resembles pity-full stinking nightmare is betrayal. Neglecting children is betrayal. And sacrificing one’s life to fear is betrayal too.

Can be my own version of truth but falling out of love with someone is not betrayal.

When I asked my companion would she be able to build family on pity, there was no answer for me.

A question of raising children was raised later. A supposition was made that for the sake of children one shall stay in a marriage no matter what. Well, yes. If you manage to restore relationship with your spouse, than yes. The game is worth the candle. But if your day sooner resembles a battlefield or a cold war, then think, what children will take out into their grown-up life.

Very likely, all problems with children arise because parents cannot properly handle their separation.

Their egos start dominating. They start thinking of who hurt who and who promised what.

There are no ex-children.

If somebody separates from spouse, that does not mean they automatically separate from children.

Parents can stay in good relationship and continue their duty of raising children. In this part nothing changes.

Betrayal in this case is a very convenient word for manipulating the other person through the prism of guilt. Guilty people are very easy to manipulate.

And you can call me a bitch, but in my humble opinion there is no thing worse for me than to live with someone, knowing he does it out of pity. There is no thing worse for me than to live with someone who does not love me.

Betrayal or no betrayal.


This is the newest trend I saw on the web, coming mainly from successful people. Or, if not successful, at least resourceful. Many of them seem to feel extremely tired from others, expecting something from them.

So, more than once I heard that most of all they wanted to be taken as they are, without expectations. That true love knows no expectations else it is not love.

Looks we are facing yet another bug. Maybe, people saying this, meant conditions, not expectations? These are words that do not mean the same.

True love knows no conditions, that is true.

If you have terms for the other, like ‘I will only love him if he loves me’, ‘I will only love him if he marries me’, ‘I will only love her if she has no expectations of me’, if you love someone only on certain conditions, it means that under no conditions this can be called love.

The more terms you have, the less love there is. Likewise, when love washes away from the relationship, more terms and conditions appear.

True love is unconditional, and that’s a fact. However it is not void of expectations.

And it is natural to have them. When you fall in love with another person, it is natural to expect {s}he will love you back. In this shape and frame you have just one life, and you cannot waste it on someone who cannot give you what you want from the relationship.

It is your right to expect that you will be together with your loved one. That your relationship will develop. And it is your right to leave this relationship if your expectations are not met. Other person has the right for expectations too.

And if someone says to you that they are unhappy with you because of your ‘expectations’, they just don’t love you and try to find a justification for themselves, take my word for it.

They are trying to explain for themselves, why they don’t love you. I don’t know why they are doing it. Maybe because they are feeling guilty. While in this case honesty is not vs tactlessness, and saying ‘I don’t love you because I just don’t love you’ would be fairly enough.

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