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I Don’t Want to Hurt Your Feelings, but…

December 14th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

Drop the “but.” It erases all previous words. Use a period instead.

I said: I don’t want to hurt you feelings, but, we need to change how we do things here.

He heard: we, actually YOU, need to change how we do things here.

Funny how the word “but” works in conversation. It tends to erase all the words that preceded it. Let’s try this.

I said: I don’t want to hurt your feelings.

He heard: blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah.

Wait, the second conversation was supposed to be wonderful with blue skies, rainbows, and all sorts of pixie dust, right? Well, those things only exist in fairy tales. Let’s continue the conversation.

I said: I’m being clobbered by the way we are doing things now.

He heard: I have a problem.

I said: I need your help.

He heard: Well, maybe this guy isn’t so bad after all. He came to me for help. Perhaps I’ll listen now. Let’s see how painful this is going to be.

I said: I need the outcome to be this instead of that.

He heard: Now he’s starting to mumble again, but…

I said: what would you do?

He heard: Oh, he wants me to fix him. Well, he does have lots of problems, that is obvious, and if he didn’t have all of them my life might be better. Perhaps…

Roses and rainbows? No. The second conversation has a better chance of working. It is worth a try.

Tags: Communication · Conversation · Word

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