Have you ever gotten into trouble because of your mouth?
It’s actually very easy to not realise how we can hurt other people.
It could be on a busy day, when we’re in a rush or when we’re fixated on solving something, or just feel so strongly about something that we blurt things out without much thought.
Lily Dryers who grew up with “blunt” parents said, “When I was a growing child, it was okay to just be blunt to others in my family. I never really knew if I hurt others in school but when I joined the workforce, I was told that I could do with some tact.”
So what are the common things people say that we should avoid uttering to others?
1. “No offence, but…”
Some people say that if you have to say “no offence” before you say something, it’s a sign you’re about to say something you shouldn’t. If you feel like you need to use that to start a sentence, you’re probably better off not saying anything at all.
2. “You’re doing it wrong”
While some people think that saying this is harmless, others may hear it as “You are stupid. You know nothing. You’re worthless.”
Why not try a more tactful way like “My understanding is that…” or “Would you consider…”
3. “As I just said before…”
Writer Laura Bodrov says, “If someone asks you a question and you point out that you’ve already answered it, then you’re killing their willingness to learn.” You can always say the same thing in another way; perhaps that will help the other person understand what you mean better. If you say “As I just said before…”, what it actually sounds to others is: “You don’t listen to me. You’re making me repeat myself. You’re so annoying and dumb”
4. “You haven’t thought this through”
Never assume that people don’t think things through as much as you. Maybe all sides have been considered and maybe not, but let’s not assume as people can be more thoughtful than we give each other credit for.
3. “I told you so”
No one wants to hear “I told you so” even though they realise they were wrong. Yet, many people often find a sense of satisfaction saying this to someone else. So you did warn the person, and they didn’t listen to you, but it’s still not a very nice thing to say. Besides, everyone makes mistakes at one point in their life.
4. “Here’s what you should do”
Unless you’re an expert in a particular subject matter or a trained professional and can be fully accountable on the repercussions, be very careful before offering our sure answers for someone else’s problems.
5. “Here’s what you should have done”
The thing about hindsight is that you only get an understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened or developed. But no matter how brilliant your new solution is, never go back and point fingers because you only came up with the solution after the critical period. To others, this sounds like: “It’s all your fault that you did it that way.” Whether you’re right or not, a phrase like this will be seen as an accusation. If you find yourself saying this, say sorry. Also, as people say, when you point one finger at someone, four point back at you.
8. “She’s doing it wrong”, “Here’s what she should have done”, “She is”
According to author Darlene Price, blaming others like this reveals “juvenile school-yard immaturity”. She says, “Avoid making unkind, judgmental statements that will inevitably reflect poorly on you. If you have a genuine complaint about someone or something, communicate the issue with tact, consideration and neutrality.