I shouldn’t have to do this.

He shouldn’t be behaving like this.

We shouldn’t have to put up with her acting like this.

You shouldn’t put up with that behaviour.

I shouldn’t have to live like this.

He should act his age.

She should know better.


People seem to assume that should equals must. They say children should behave as if that will automatically make them behave. They say you should do something as if that will somehow make you do it. In this regard, the word they are actually looking for it prefer. I would prefer it if the child behaved, I would prefer it is you did what I say.

Should implies could. If we/they could then there wouldn’t be any need to say should, because they would. Clearly we/they cannot, and yet people don’t see that, they only see some expectation that they insist is met and when it’s not they say ‘well you should’.

Ableism. That’s what should is. For those who don’t know, ableism is where people place expectations on disabled people that go against their disabilities. Like saying there’s no reason why you can’t walk to someone who has no legs. Like saying you can concentrate if you try hard enough to someone who has ADHD. Like saying you can be normal if you want to someone who’s Autistic. Like saying, cheer up, that will stop you being depressed.

You should.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

There is no should, there is only can and cannot. Saying someone should do something because you want them to isn’t very considerate. If it’s important you can say I need you to, providing they can. If it’s what you want then say I would prefer it if you… Just don’t say you should whilst ignoring whether they can. If it’s a suggestion then fine, You should probably go see your doctor for that, that’s fine, its a suggestion, presumably one they can actually do. But forcing your expectations onto someone who has a very good reason for not doing it is ablelist, and insulting. Afterall, I should be able to fly yet I can’t. I should be rich and live in a big house yet I don’t. I wouldn’t say to other people you should have a PHD, for no other reason than me thinking it’s a good idea, so why do we allow people to tell us what we should be doing with our lives, why do we let people criticise our parenting, why do we let people get away with imposing their own expectations and preferences on us. It’s not healthy or correct. Especially if those same people don’t know our limitations.

Should should be confined to suggestions, and those should be based on every individual’s abilities. But then I guess that’s me imposing my expectations on society. Bad me!

One thought on “Should.”

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