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7 Things You Should Never Say to Someone

7 Things You Should Never Say to Someone

You’ve just said something wrong. The other person is looking at you with a red angry face, but the issue is not about what you’ve said, it’s about what they’ve heard.

There are some sentences that act like deadly silent ninjas, killing self-confidence and antagonizing your friends, family and colleagues—the worst thing is that you might not even realize it.

Here are 7 things you should never say to someone:

1. “I don’t care”

What they hear: “Leave me alone. I have better things to do than listen to you.”

Explain why you would love to hear about that subject, and why “right now” is not the best time for you. Everybody matters. Not caring about someone is denying their existence: If people matter for you, you will matter for them.

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2. “You’re wrong”

What they hear: “You are stupid. You know nothing. You’re worthless.”

Prefer more tactful sentences. “I would have thought that…”, “My understanding is that…”

Ask questions to make sure you and the other person are working on the same assumptions.

3. “You can’t do it”

What they hear: “You don’t have what it takes to do it, no matter how hard you try; So why do you even try?”

Why would you set someone up for failure? I understand that you don’t want your friend to have delusions, and you could feel that it is your duty to stop that person before they hurt themselves, but I would like to ask you: how can you judge what is good for somebody? And what if failure was the best path for growth?

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Encourage people who have chosen a challenging path.

Good judgement comes with experience, but experience comes from bad judgement; – Will Rogers

4. “This should be easy”

What they hear: “It’s easy for most people. If you have trouble doing it, there is probably something wrong about you”

The level of difficulty is perceived differently by everyone, and everyone has their own Everest. If you’re telling somebody that their job is easy, then you’re undermining their contribution to society and you’re telling them they don’t deserve the salary they have.

If someone is struggling and coming for help, then they have trust you enough to show you their weakness. Don’t rub their face in it by saying “This should be easy”.

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Acknowledge the challenges that people encounter and value their commitment to overcome them.

5. “I told you so”

What they hear: “You did not listen to me. That’s all your fault. I’m so much better than you.”

This one is a common no-no.

It’s useless to shoot a dead horse, especially when other person needs your help more than ever. Don’t keep tabs on who’s right and who’s wrong. If it were a competition, the one keeping tabs would be the one losing.

Help the other person, and don’t add insult to injury.

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6. “As I just said before…”

What they hear: “You don’t listen to me. You’re making me repeat myself. You’re so annoying and dumb”

This is a very sneaky conversation killer. If someone asks you a question and you point out that you’ve already answered it, then you’re killing their willingness to learn, or even to have a slight interest in what you say.

Say the same thing in another way and by illustrating it differently.

Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Then, tell them. Finally, tell them what you’ve told them. – Aristotle

7. “Good luck”

What they hear: “There’s nothing you can do that will make you succeed. Only luck will. let’s hope for a once-in-a-millenium planet-alignment-like opportunity so that you can succeed.”

Also, it is bad luck to wish good luck. It is more common for comedians to say “Break a leg”, or “Merde!” – the French equivalent of “Shit!”. The expression comes from the fact that, during older times, successful plays would attract a lot of carriage traffic and therefore a significant amount of horse dejection. Maybe this is why people would slip and “break a leg”.

Don’t attribute success to luckcelebrate the other person’s qualities instead. “Show them your guts!” “Give them something they’ll never forget!”

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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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