If you are having a fight with a loved one, are there things that you try to avoid saying? If not, there should be.
The word ‘but’ is a very destructive word to use in an argument or in an important conversation with someone. This is because hearing the word ‘but’ puts people on the defense and causes them to only look at the negative parts of what you are saying.
Rather than using the word ‘but’, say ‘and’ when you are speaking with someone you love.
Even small words can make a big difference in your communication.
Saying ‘but’ is a quick way to delete everything loving and positive you have said in the past. Sometimes you may not realize how powerful the word ‘but’ is. However, it causes people to tighten up and shut down.
Here are a few examples of conversations that include the word ‘but’ that likely end up going in the wrong direction.
Here are some classic examples of what I mean:
The Speaker: “I really like you, but I am very frustrated.”
The Listener:”So, you don’t really like me?”
Even if the listener doesn’t come out and say it, they likely feel like they are being slighted.
The good thing is, there are some better words to use than ‘but’. Try saying ‘and’ instead. Can you see the difference?
“I really like you, and I am very frustrated.”
This statement is not negating the fact that the speaker like the person to whom they are speaking. It simply adds something to that statement. Even though what they are saying is negative, it is not taking away from the fact that the speaker likes the listener.
There are likely a lot of instances when you do not mean to sound negative, but what you are saying comes off as being negative. Even if it so little as changing one word, how you speak can completely change people’s perception of you and their interpretation of what you are saying.
It is also important to be aware of words that replace the word ‘but’ while still saying the same thing. For example:
“You did a really good job, however,…”
“You have said some good things, yet…”
You may find all of this to be a bit of a stretch because this little word and its accompanying attitude is a deeply ingrained part of our culture and language.
Of course, there are some great ways of using ‘but’ as long as you know how it will impact the other person’s comprehension of what you are saying. For example, you can use it when you are acknowledging something that is negative while also wanting to emphasize a positive alternative. Here are a few instances where that could be true:
“That wasn’t your best work, BUT I know you will improve in the future.”
“We did not do a great job on that project, BUT I think we can learn from our mistakes and still get something out of this experience.”
“This project is going to be very difficult, BUT I know we can pull it together.”
The point is, good intentions are not always enough to offset bad wording. It is best to be very cognizant of how you speak to other people so your words are not up for interpretation and people are always aware that you are coming from a good place when you give them feedback or make comments about something that is going on.
Think before the next time you say ‘but’ and decide if it is truly necessary before you say it, just to make sure that you are coming across exactly as you are meaning to.
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