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20 Sentences You Should Never Tell Your Good Friends

20 Sentences You Should Never Tell Your Good Friends

How would you define a good friend? If you are like me, you would expect a good friend to be great company, loyal, reliable, sincere, and trustworthy. This is someone you can phone at any time for advice or to chat. These friendships take time to build and effort to maintain, and they are reciprocal. So, what are some things you should never tell your good friends? Here are twenty sentences you should definitely avoid.

1. “Flossing my teeth” (AKA the Facebook status update)

The problem with taking your friendship online is that the whole world sees it! Use social media for trivial chitchat, but have a real conversation with your best friend. If he is far away, write him a decent email.

 “Posting information is like pornography, a slick, impersonal exhibition.” – William Deresiewicz

2. “Let’s phone each other sometime”

This is a vague and rather wishy-washy commitment. We use it all the time for acquaintances we have just met. It works fine for people we don’t intend to see again, but using a sentence like this with a good friend gives the impression that you can’t be bothered. Why not make a firmer commitment by saying, “We must phone each other every Wednesday evening?”

3. “Let me just check my cell phone”

Cell phones ruin many relationships and friendships. Text addiction is now part of our consumer mentality but it can erode a friendship or relationship in no time at all. If you are always checking your phone, your friend may get the signal that he or she is not worth your time. You’re letting them watch you manipulate an electronic device. Isn’t your friendship worth more than that? Give your friend your full attention while you are together — switch off your phone! Tell him or her, “I can take this call later, what have you been up to since we last met?”

4. “Can we talk about this at another time?”

Your friend may need your help and advice, and she has rung at an inconvenient time. Perhaps you’re watching your favorite comedian or preparing dinner. Asking her when she is in tears to phone later on is not what she expects from you as a good friend. Being available when the other party needs you is an important element in friendship and it is what you yourself would expect if you were going through hell. Instead, you should say, “I’m here for you, tell me all about it.”

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5. “You never get it right”

Who wants criticism all the time? Are we not together to bolster each other’s self esteem and confidence? There may be moments when we have to face or give criticism and a real friendship will survive these moments. But constant criticism will erode your friendship. Friends are there to celebrate, rejuvenate, and to rely on. Try something encouraging, like, “It will go better next time.”

6. “I can’t tell you – it’s private”

Telling your good friend this means that you do not trust them enough with confidential information. True friendship is about sharing our real selves and that will include private stuff. Start something confidential with “I know I can trust you with this.”

7. “I never have enough time”

In ancient times, friendship was such a high calling and a privilege that it was often more valued than marriage. Achilles and Patroclus spring to mind, as do David and Jonathan. Time is an essential ingredient in nurturing friendships. Telling a good friend you have not enough time is a real turn off. Try saying, “I’ll always have enough time for you.”

8. “I know I talk too much but I have so much to tell you”

Being a sympathetic and empathic listener should be two-way traffic! Exchanging news and updates can be a fun way of nurturing the friendship. You should never try to dominate the conversation. You should say, “I know I’m talkative but I want to hear about what you have been doing too, so please forgive me if I go on a bit too much.”

“Exchanging stories is like making love: probing, questing, questioning, caressing. It is mutual. It is intimate. It takes patience, devotion, sensitivity, subtlety, skill – and it teaches them all, too.” – William Deresiewicz

9. “I am going to be late”

This shouldn’t sound like a chronic condition. A lack of punctuality can mean missed restaurant bookings or walking into a film that has already started. If you are unpunctual, it might be time to start getting more organized. You should say, “I really am going to get my unpunctuality under control.”

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10. “I didn’t tell you the whole truth about X”

“O what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” – Sir Walter Scott

We could write a book about how lying betrays trust and leads to all sorts of problems. Withholding a truth puts a friendship is at risk. There are those people who argue that a white lie is sometimes necessary to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, but think carefully about the justification for the lie and its consequences later on. “I am going to tell you everything, no holding back on anything,” is a good start.

11. “You can decide where we are going”

Letting your friend decide everything can be damaging. The other end of the spectrum is where you make all the decisions and you are a control freak. Obviously, a happy medium needs to be found where you both take part in the decision making. “Let’s decide together what we want to do,” will offer more democracy.

12. “But we have always done it like this”

Real friends push each other out of their comfort zones. Doing the same old thing offers a comforting routine but it can also lead to fossilization! Why not suggest new venues, different activities, alternative restaurants and so on? This is important because we tend to become locked into our own little worlds. Instead try, “We should be trying out some new things, don’t you think?”

13. “You could have asked me for advice or help”

The truth is that good friends know when to be there and when to lend a shoulder to cry on. You should not need to be asked or told. You should say, “You know that I am always around, if you need help with anything.”

14. “I told Y all about your problems”

Gossip and betrayal will damage a friendship irrevocably. A true test of friendship is communicating fully with each other. You can rely on each other not to gossip and this adds a great sense of security and serenity to your friendship. With a good friend, “You can trust me, I won’t tell anyone else.”

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15. “I told you there was no point in applying for that job”

“A true friend is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.”- Aristotle

Saying this will not help your friend see the positive side of things. It is not very encouraging. You should say, “It is always worth trying, because whatever way it goes, it will give you a new insight on how things work.”

16. “You know I never criticize you”

A test of a real friendship is when you are able to gently point out some faults in your friend’s character. Good friends are not afraid of indicating where they have screwed up, without being overcritical or harsh. Be constructive: “Maybe that was not the best way to respond when the boss reprimanded you.”

17. “I forgot that you were getting your medical results”

Being there also means not forgetting the important moments when your friend may have to face a stressful situation as regards health, work, or family issues. Genuine friends make a note and send a text to wish their friend well. Put a reminder on your phone and tell them, “I will give you a call when you get your results.”

18. “I am never going to nag you about your laziness”

Good friends are going to be on the lookout to help each other get over a lack of drive or initiative. Saying that you cannot be bothered to even gently nag means that you do not value the freindship very highly. You should say, “I know it’s a pain, but you should really try to get some more exercise. We should go to the gym together, maybe.”

19. “I cannot really offer any advice about your being bullied”

Whether at school or work, people often find they are in a stressful situation and they may be bullied. Don’t leave your friend to fend for himself — at least offer some advice or help. Extend a hand by saying, “Tell me about it because my brother was bullied at work and he was able to resolve the issue.” Genuine friendships can also help to reduce the stress in these situations, one study has found.

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20. “I do not think friendships can last for ever”

This is sending the wrong message. Not every friendship can last a lifetime but those that do are pure gold. You should say that you value the friendship, for example, “Honestly, the fact that you are always on the other end of the phone is a great source of comfort to me.”

Did you know that people who have more friendships in their old age are much more likely to live longer? This was the result of several studies which have highlighted how friendships and social interaction are the greatest health resource you could have as you approach your old age.

Let us know in the comments what really makes a good friend for you.

Featured photo credit: Friendship/Mathias Klang via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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