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The Phrase You Should Never Say That Makes People Turn Away From You

The Phrase You Should Never Say That Makes People Turn Away From You

“Yes…but” is a common phrase used by many people, however, it should readily be avoided. This phrase is often used to help make criticism sound more palatable. However, as it is used so frequently it often has an adverse reaction. Many of us switch off as soon as we hear these two words. “Yes…but” also gives the impression that a person is not truly listening. It sounds like they are dismissing what you are saying before you have even said it. Someone who is truly attentive to what you are saying will listen first and save their opinion for later.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways this phrase is used:

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The break up

When you are in a relationship you may find yourself asking your partner: Are we good together? The last thing that you would like to hear is: “Yes…but.” If you get this reaction you are likely to assume that your partner finds faults in your relationship and is not entirely sure that you should be together.

The backhanded compliment

Many of you will at some point ask people for reassurance. For example, you may ask our friend: Do I look good? If your friend replies: “Yes…but,” you are likely to take this as a no. You may feel that they do not entirely approve of the way you look but are just saying yes to be polite. The “but” implies that they see something they do not like in the way you look.

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The invitation refusal

When you host a party or simply have a few friends around for drinks you will ask them: Would you like to come? If you get the response “Yes…but” you are likely to take this as an excuse. It may seem to you like your friend is trying to get out of coming to your event.

Ask for assistance

Often you reach out and ask someone for help. If you ask: “Can you please help me?” and are met by the response: “Yes…but” you are likely to be offended. You are likely to take this as a no and feel like the person who you have asked for assistance does not really want to help. Stating yes at the beginning does not make the refusal to help sound any better.

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Lack of support

You may find that sometimes you seek out reassurance and support from friends or family. You may ask them: Aren’t I right? The last thing you want to hear is: “Yes…but.” If you hear this phrase you may think that the person who uttered it does not want to back you up and support you.

Lack of approval

You tend to go about your daily chores independently but sometimes you would like to know if you are doing a good job. You ask the question: Am I doing a good job? Someone responds: “Yes…but.” This is obviously not the answer you were looking for. You were in search of approval and instead you got a disguised lecture.

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Rejection

You may go out on a limb and ask someone: Would you like to join me? If you get the answer: “Yes…but” you are likely to feel rejected. You may assume that they are trying to get out of joining you and are simply saying yes to cover it up.

Lack of sympathy

You may not be feeling well and notice that your partner or friend does not seem to be as concerned or sympathetic as you expected them to be. You confront them: Aren’t you worried? They answer: “Yes…but” and immediately you feel like they are not truly concerned.

Lack of enthusiasm about your success

You achieve a momentous goal or do something you are really proud of achieving. You find that your friend does not seem to be very enthusiastic about your success. You ask them: Aren’t you happy for me? You hear the words: “Yes…but” and you immediately feel that your suspicions were correct. You conclude they are not genuinely happy and are just saying the yes bit to be nice; the “but” part is all that really counts.

The disguised put down

Sometimes people use the phrase “Yes…but” to disguise their criticism. For example, you may ask someone if you are doing a good job and they reply: “Yes…but”. In truth what they are saying is no but they are simply saying it in a way that makes their put down less obvious. In short, “Yes…but” is a phrase that should fiercely be avoided. It is often interpreted negatively and leaves the person who hears these words feeling badly.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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