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30 Phrases Unprofessional People Can’t Stop Saying At Work

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30 Phrases Unprofessional People Can’t Stop Saying At Work

Language is not just the product of our thoughts. Our thoughts and our habits are affected by the language we use. Think of the story of how the Eskimos have hundreds of words for “snow.”

So it stands to reason that professional people have better language and thoughts than unprofessional people. Here’s a look at 30 simple phrases which you should never use if you want to be successful at work.

1. Cursing

Using curse words for every situation does not just mark you as vulgar, but as someone who lacks the creativity to come up with a better insult.

2. “We’ve always done it that way.”

The language of those who are incapable or unwilling to think of new and better ways.

3. “I’m not afraid.”

Sometimes, you should be. To master fear is better than to not have it at all.

4. “Yes.” (when you really mean no)

Telling someone you will do something when you have zero intention to do so shows disregard for what other people want.

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5. “I’m important!”

As Margaret Thatcher observed: “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

6. “Are you upset?”

You should not need to ask this question. You should be able to determine other people’s feelings by yourself.

7. “Like.”

It is okay for 15-year olds to use “like” in every sentence. A professional should be confident enough to not stumble over his words.

8. “Literally.”

Similar to the previous one. Using this word to describe anything and everything shows that you don’t know any other, better adverbs.

9. “I thought you were going to do that.”

The words of someone who just assumes responsibilities onto other without communicating.

10. “That’s impossible.”

Bluntly shutting down new ideas without even giving a chance to explain the problems with the idea shows an unwillingness to adapt.

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11. “You misunderstood.”

Sometimes there are unfortunate failures of miscommunication. Then you claim to have completely misunderstood the assignment. But this is often frequently used by people who have made a promise and are now trying to back out.

12. “Sorry for being late.”

Punctuality is one of the most important things for any business. If you’re not on time, you show that you don’t care about their time.

13. “Because I’m in charge.”

This does not convince people that you should be in charge, and just incurs resentment and irritation at your high-handed ways.

14. “Sorry.”

Far too many people think that “sorry” is an all-excusing grace for their mistakes. Fix the problem, don’t just say “sorry.”

15. “I’m bored.”

Boredom is a state of mind which you can fix yourself. Find something to do, every profession has something which always needs to be done.

16. “I’m busy.”

You’re supposed to be busy, telling someone this is not going to accomplish anything. It just makes you look insensitive and only focused on your own affairs.

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17. One-upping.

No one likes the guy whose response to any story is to try to one-up and talk about something even “better.”

18. “That’s not my fault!”

A professional person should look at a disaster and think about what can be done to fix it, not look for who to deflect the blame on.

19. “I can’t do all of this.”

There’s nothing wrong in admitting that you need help. But be sure that you actually need help, and are not just looking for an excuse to be lazy.

20. Gossiping

You are a professional. You are supposed to do your job, not chat about the latest office intrigue.

21. “Details, details.”

Details are what separate the mediocre from the good, and the good from the great.

22. “I was just following orders.”

Further blame deflection, only now you’re trying to pin the blame on your superiors. That often will not end well.

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23. “I have a big plan!”

Anyone can make a plan. It’s execution that matters.

24. “I’ll deal with it later.”

Procrastination is not the mark of a professional. At all.

25. “I know better.”

There is nothing to gain by being condescending. No one will like you, and you look unprofessional in the process.

26. Mumbling

Speaking loudly and clearly is absolutely important for a professional. If you are in the habit of mumbling a lot, here are some tips which can help with that.

27. “Wow, that chick is…”

Go out to the bars if you want to pick up somebody. Don’t do it at your workplace.

28. “That’s not going to happen.”

There are much better ways to phrase refusal in a way which makes you look professional.

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29. “I quit/I’m done!”

Sometimes, you have to quit. But shouting it out or being dramatic about it just shows an inability to keep it cool.

30. Saying nothing

Always be willing to speak. If you say nothing, people will make assumptions about you – and they will be often negative.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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