Implications are things that are inferred but not explicitly stated or observed.
We can define them in two ways:
- Implied Speech: This occurs when someone suggests something indirectly, giving us hints but not outright saying it. While we don’t hear an explicit statement, we naturally infer what was implied by what was said. For example, if in the lead up to a birthday, your girlfriend says, “it would be so nice to go out dancing soon” the not-so-subtle implication may be that you should throw her a party for her birthday!
- Implications of Events: We can also think of implications as the likely consequences of a course of action. For example, the implication of building a house on poor foundations may be that it will collapse.
Understanding and correctly interpreting implications requires a keen sense of context and an ability to make logical connections.
“Truth is truth. Implications are subjective. People will hear your words and draw their own conclusion.”
― Neal Shusterman, UnWholly
1. Reading Between the Lines
When your boss mentions that a particular project needs to be completed soon, there may be an implication that you need to prioritize that task. It is not overtly stated but is inferred from the emphasis on urgency.
2. Inference from Tone
In a conversation over dinner, if your partner punctuates a sentence about housekeeping with a pointed look, the implication could be that they want you to take more responsibility for chores. Yes, their request isn’t explicit, but the implication is there through the unstated assumption.
3. Casual Suggestions
Suppose you’re discussing vacation plans with a friend, who mentions a mutual love for the sea. The unspoken implication can be that you should consider a beach destination for your next adventure. Whilst the proposal was never specifically presented, the implication is quite clear.
4. The Power of Silence
If a teacher pauses before responding to a student’s incorrect answer, the implied message could be one of disappointment or expectation of better performance. The explicit reprimand is not made, yet the implication is present.
5. Subtle Body Language
When someone taps their foot impatiently while you are speaking, the implicit suggestion could be that you need to hurry up or that they are dissatisfied with your interpretation. This indication is not openly stated but is understood through the non-verbal cue.
6. Non-Verbal Communication
Let’s say you’re in a meeting, and a colleague keeps looking at his watch. The implication might be that your meeting is running too long or that he has other pressing matters. The message isn’t stated outright, but it’s implicitly communicated through non-verbal cues.
7. Diet Hints
If a friend often brings up the topic of healthy eating, the implied message could be that they are hinting you should consider healthier dietary choices. The suggestion is not directly made, but the subject and emphasis might reflect an implicit recommendation.
8. The Polite Professional Review
In a professional review, if your supervisor emphasizes the importance of teamwork, the hidden implication might be that you need to work better with your colleagues. The advice isn’t given straightforwardly, but it’s an interpretation gleaned from the boss’ commentary.
9. Environmental Contributions
Suppose you visit a friend and notice a lot of eco-friendly appliances in their home. The implication could be that they are advocating for environmental conservation and subtly encouraging you to do the same. The suggestion isn’t explicitly vocalized, but the inference can be made from the observable realities around you.
10. Parental Expectations
If your parents often reminisce about their own college days or discuss the value of higher education, the implication might be that they expect you to go to college. The demand isn’t made directly, but it’s assumed from the repeated nature of the discussions.
11. Social Media Posts
In the digital age, social media posts can also carry implications. If a friend consistently posts about book clubs or literary events, the implication could be that reading is important to them, and they’d love it if more people, including yourself, became involved.
12. Dress Code
Imagine you work at a company where most people dress very formally, even though there’s no explicit dress code. The implication could be that you too should dress up, even if no one specifically tells you to do so.
13. Texting Tendencies
The frequency, timing, and nature of someone’s texts can also carry implications. If someone frequently sends you messages late at night, the implication might be that they enjoy your company and wish to speak to you more, even if they don’t necessarily state that outright.
Implications of Events
14. Bypassing Sleep
If you regularly neglect getting a proper night’s sleep, the implication could be a decline in physical well-being and cognitive functioning. The potential consequences such as exhaustion and poor decision-making aren’t explicitly mentioned but they are logical results of the continued practice.
15. Neglecting Vehicle Maintenance
Suppose you own a car but ignore regular upkeep and maintenance. The implication of such an action may be that the car breaks down or experiences significant issues. While the outcome isn’t immediately apparent, the potential frustration and costly repairs are a logical extrapolation from the original disregard for the car’s care.
16. Not Safeguarding Online Privacy
If you are careless about your online privacy, freely sharing your personal information on the internet without due protection, the implication could be identity theft or other cybercrimes. These potential ramifications are not directly stated during the act of sharing information but are certainly a severe possible result of such activities.
17. Ignoring Trash Separation Requirements
If you fail to separate your trash according to the local recycling guidelines, the implication might be that more waste ends up in the landfill, contributing to environmental harm. The immediate consequence isn’t seen, but upon considering the larger picture, the potential negative ecological impact becomes apparent.
18. Skipping Regular Workouts
If you stop exercising regularly without any justifiable reason, the implication could be the onset of age-related health issues earlier, weight gain, or general lower levels of fitness. The outcomes might not be immediate but can have knock-on effects on your health and lifestyle in due time. The connection between the absence of physical activities and a lower standard of health is not immediately and explicitly portrayed, but emerges as a likely consequence.
19. Overdependence on Technology
If you excessively rely on technology for even simple tasks, the implication could be that your practical and cognitive skills, such as navigation or mental arithmetic, may deteriorate over time. Although these outcomes aren’t voiced during the use of these aids, they’re a conceivable consequence of over-reliance.
20. Skipping Regular Dental Checkups
Suppose you opt to bypass dental checkups, the implication might be that minor oral health issues could escalate into serious conditions. The negative impact is not directly mentioned when skipping the checkup, but it is a potential and undesirable outcome.
If you are constantly multitasking, the implication could be decreased efficiency and a higher propensity for errors in your work. It’s not immediately apparent but definitely a plausible effect of this practice. Multitasking might seem efficient, but sustained practice may lead to a drop in work quality.
Should we continue to cut down trees without considering replenishing them, the implication might be an increase in global warming and a decrease in biodiversity. Though not directly observable, the negative impact on the environment is a significant potential repercussion.
23. Habitual Lateness
If you consistently arrive late to meetings or appointments, the implication may be that others perceive you as disrespectful or irresponsible. The detrimental impact on your reputation isn’t immediate, but it’s a likely consequence of repeated lateness.
24. Ignoring Educational Opportunities
Suppose you consistently turn down opportunities to further your education or skills. The implication could be that you limit your career progress and reduce your competitiveness in the job market. The adverse outcome isn’t directly seen during the decision-making process, but it’s a probable long-term effect.
25. Regular Fast Food Consumption
If you habitually consume fast food, the implication might be potential health risks such as obesity, heart disease, or diabetes. These health risks are not immediately apparent but they’re consequential effects associated with sustained unhealthy eating habits.
Understanding implications is essential for insightful communication and informed decision-making. They help us perceive underlying messages and anticipate the potential consequences of our actions.
Recognizing these unstated or indirect implications enhances our ability to navigate various social interactions and makes us better adept at predicting outcomes of our decisions. So, cultivating the skill of interpreting implications plays a crucial role in our personal and professional lives.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]