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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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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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