Whether on social media or in person, smart people think clearly before they speak, bite their tongue, and carefully select words before they deliver them. Many of us are inept at this, unfortunately, and we end up saying things that land us in hot water. Take a look at seven phrases a smart person would never say, so you can rid yourself of these bad habits if you have them.
1. “Congratulations; when are you due?”
Anyone who’s ever made the mistake of assuming someone is pregnant and discovered otherwise understands how embarrassing this can be. The shame can make you want to run the other direction and bury your head.
The problem is that there’s no backtracking from this one. Once you’ve openly assumed someone is pregnant, you have no choice but to apologize. Smart people always wait until someone has volunteered information that indicates she is indeed pregnant before discussing the subject.
2. “You look really tired.”
You might mean well when you tell someone he or she looks tired, but more likely than not, the person will take offense. The implication is that he or she looks unappealing, worn out, or just plain unattractive.
Instead of saying someone looks tired, ask if everything is okay. After all, most of us are trying to help when we declare someone looks tired. This is a safer method of arriving at the desired conclusion.
3. “I’m willing to pay….”
When it comes to negotiating a purchase or business deal, smart people never tell the other party how much they’re willing to pay. Though it may seem like a practical way of directing the conversation, it removes any leverage you might have had.
Perhaps the other party was willing, or even expecting, to go much lower than your highest point, but now he realizes he can realistically demand a different figure. Successful bidders and negotiators understand the power of remaining quiet until the right moment.
4. “I never liked him/her anyway.”
Again, you could have good intentions when you drop this line on a friend who’s been dumped, but this isn’t a smart phrase — for two reasons. First, it implies you don’t approve of your friend’s taste or judgment. Second, it could backfire on you if your friend gets back together with the ex. Whether your friend says anything or not, he or she will subconsciously remember that you didn’t like the significant other.
Smart people offer more careful condolences, such as “This situation will make you stronger,” or “I believe there’s someone out there who will be a better match.”
5. “I know, right?”
Have you ever uttered these words? If you think about it, what are you actually saying here?
Basically, you’re asking the other person if he or she knows what just came out of their mouth is correct. Well, of course they do; they just said it! Instead of employing this redundant query, a smart person would say something more along the lines of: “It certainly is!” or “I agree!”
6. “You look really good for your age!”
This is another ostensibly harmless yet offensive phrase that smart people avoid in daily conversation. It comes across as rude, and indicates that you (or anyone else) would expect the person to look worse. Why add “for your age” to this statement? Just say, “You look really good!” It removes the qualification from the statement and instantly makes it a strong compliment.
7. “Whatever you want….”
Here’s one you hear all too often and maybe don’t think twice about. By saying “It’s up to you” or “We can do whatever you want,” you’re pretty much intimating that you’re submissive, possess no opinions, or don’t care about the matter.
Instead of saying “whatever you want,” it’s better to suggest multiple options and offer the other person a choice. This shows that you’ve thought about the situation and have opinions, but are in a cooperative mood.
Featured photo credit: Marjan Lazarevski via flic.kr