I love you, but…
I just finished reading “9 Phrases Smart People Never Use In Conversation” by Travis Bradberry, the author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0. Nine is a long list and hard to remember or in reality to never use. I’ve got a shorter list and for which never might be a lot easier. Never use the word “but”.
As a part of speech, the conjunction “but” is used to link and highlight two juxtaposed and opposing statements. When “but” is included in a sentence by a speaker it is truly their intention that both statements are heard. The intention of using a compliment before a critique might be debated, but their intention is real.
“Great job on that report, but next time you don’t need to include so many details”.
On the part of the listener, when “but” is included in a sentence, only the second statement is heard.
“Don’t include so many details”.
What would it be like to take out the “but” to replace with “and”?
“Great job on that report and next time you don’t need to include so many details.”
To the speaker, both statements are given and to the listener, both statements are heard. In fact, the use of the word “and” actually feels like the listener is being given permission to include fewer details. We use a lot of compound sentences in our language. Watch for a day and replace every “but” with an “and”. You will be surprised at how much this simple changes what the listener actually hears.