A few years back I noticed something: the frequency with which the word “just” appeared in email and conversation from female co-workers and friends.
I first sensed this shortly after leaving Google and joining a company with a high ratio of female to male employees.
Google, and everywhere else I’d worked before, had a more traditional gender mix.
I’d never really noted a high concentration of “just” before, so I thought it might be my imagination. But soon I knew my hunch was legit. “Just” just kept showing up way too frequently.
“I just wanted to check in on …”
“Just wondering if you’d decided between …”
“If you can just give me an answer, then …”
“I’m just following up on …”