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Old 14-05-2013, 11:10 PM
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Thumbs up Don’t use these 10 phrases in a conversation

An honorable member of the Coffee Shop Has Just Posted the Following:

A good friend of mine (I’ll call him Peter) once confided in me that he was having serious communication issues with his girlfriend (I’ll call her Anne).

Every day, Anne would complain to Peter about her life problems. And, boy, did Anne seem to have an endless list of problems.

Just because people have problems doesn’t automatically mean they want solutions

As a natural response, Peter began suggesting possible solutions—his list of solutions was as endless as Anne’s list of problems.

But to Peter’s shock, Anne didn't appreciate his advice. In fact, she told Peter that she felt like he wasn’t listening to her.

This was causing strain in their relationship.

After Peter had explained the situation to me, he asked for my input.

I recommended that he stop giving Anne solutions. The next time Anne shared her struggles with him, I encouraged him to listen actively and to simply—and sincerely—say, “I’m sorry that you’re going through this. I'm here for you.”

We want to feel understood before we’ll accept help or advice

I believe that, in most situations, we want to feel understood before we receive any kind of assistance.

The next day, Peter told me enthusiastically that my advice had worked perfectly.

Anne had even thanked Peter for his support and for being such a caring and supportive boyfriend.

Reflecting on this incident, I realize that we often unintentionally say things that hurt or upset others, even though all we want to do is help them.

I’ve come up with a list of 10 phrases that we should avoid using in conversation. Here they are:

1. “If I were you…”

You might say:

“If I were you, I wouldn’t take that job.”
“If I were you, I wouldn’t go to that restaurant.”
“If I were you, I would be more careful about how I spend my money.”

Doesn’t it annoy you when people say things like that?

If you use this phrase, it makes it seem as if you’re so much smarter and wiser than the other person. No one likes to feel dumb.

2. “I understand how you feel…”

Even if you’ve gone through a similar misfortune or ordeal, you don’t know exactly how the other person feels.

You may have lost a loved one or you may be suffering from the same illness, but the circumstances that the other person is facing aren’t precisely the same as what you’ve experienced.

3. “This is a valuable life lesson…”

This might be true, but it still isn’t a good idea to say this.

When others are experiencing sadness, pain or frustration, they don’t want to be told about all the wonderful life lessons there are to be learned, especially not at the moment of their greatest distress.

4. “I told you so…”

In my opinion, this is one of the most irritating phrases anyone could use.

All of us make mistakes, so don’t let your sense of self-righteousness or pride tempt you into saying “I told you so”.

5. “Here’s how you can solve your problem…”

Like Anne, when we tell others about our problems, we’re not primarily looking for solutions.

Most of the time, we’re looking for someone to empathize with us, to cry with us, and to share our frustrations.

Unless someone specifically asks for your advice, don’t give him or her your two cents’ worth.

And even when people ask for your advice, they’re typically just seeking validation for what they’ve already decided to do. Many times, they’re not actually asking for advice.

6. “Relax…”

It’s natural to say this to someone who has lost his or her temper, but using this phrase makes it seem as though that person had no right to become upset in the first place, which is upsetting in itself.

After all, emotions aren’t right or wrong. Emotions need to be managed, but telling someone to relax almost denies the legitimacy of those emotions.

7. “Calm down…”

Same reasoning as #6.

8. “Can I pick your brain about… ?”

When you say this, it’s as if you just want to make use of the other person and extract as much information as possible from him or her.

This phrase indicates that you aren’t seeing the other person as a person. Instead, you’re seeing him or her merely as a path to take you to where you want to go.

No one likes to feel as if they’re being made use of.

9. “No offense, but…”

What usually follows this phrase is unsolicited negative feedback.

For example:

“No offense, but you’re naïve to think that.”
“No offense, but that’s a silly way to solve this problem.”
“No offense, but this business idea won’t work.”

When we say “No offense, but…” it’s typically because we feel a strong urge to express our opinion, and not so much because we genuinely care about the other person and his or her emotions.

Ironically, when we say “No offense, but…” it’s likely that we’re going to offend the other person.

10. “You don’t have to feel that way…”

Emotions can be deceptive.

You might feel unloved, even though there are plenty of people who care deeply about you.

You might feel fat, even though you’re in shape.

You might feel like a failure, even though you’ve achieved many successes.

Feelings don’t always represent the truth, but we can’t deny their existence. As such, when we tell others that they don’t have to feel a certain way, we invalidate their emotions.

In an indirect way, we’re telling them that their feelings don’t matter.

In closing…

In any conversation, it’s not what you say that matters; it’s what people hear.

We don’t just hear words. We experience them—through the lens of our past experiences, our biases, our mood, and our insecurities.

So let’s T.H.I.N.K. before we speak (I saw this acronym going around Facebook recently), by asking ourselves if what we’re about to say is:


If we don't T.H.I.N.K. before saying something, then we’d probably be better off biting our tongue and keeping our mouth shut.

By being conscious about the phrases we use—and avoid using, too—we’ll foster stronger relationships. This is vital because, as Dr. Scott Sticksel wisely noted, “Life is relationships. The rest is just details.”

Let’s get to work building those meaningful relationships!

FUCK IT! Not Applicable in SBF.:oIo::D

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