Words are tricky business – they can be interpreted in multiple ways and can be easily misunderstood as well. What seems an innocent comment that escapes you have myriad implications. Understanding these implications requires social awareness – this means the ability of individuals to pick up other people’s emotions and experiences.
Although it is a skill that many of us lack, taking extra care of the words that escape our mouths is an easy enough task. You can phrase the same statement/question in different ways to imply different things and one must always choose the least offensive one of all. Here are some phrases that one must never say to others and how instead to say them otherwise.
- “You always…” or “You never…”
It is humanely impossible for a person to be “always” or “never”. People are not one dimensional and they refuse to see themselves that way.
What to say instead – “It seems to be like you do this often” or “you do this frequently” is a better way of indicating their behavior is a problem to you.
- “You look tired.”
Tired people are unattractive. By saying this you are implying to the other person that they find you unattractive.
What to say instead – “Are you ok?” is a good way of phrasing the same idea, which gives the listener the impression of being concerned.
- “You’ve lost a lot of weight”
A well-meaning comment, a compliment which could create the impression that you used to find that particular person fat and uninteresting.
What to say instead – “You look fantastic” is a great way to phrase this, making the people involves feel great about themselves and you as well.
- “Good luck.”
Again, a seemingly well-meaning comment that implies that, in order to success, the person in question may need luck
What to say instead – “I know that you have what it takes” is a great way of greeting a person which is overall positive and gives a confidence boost to that person as well