WT 717 Watch out for the But

“I don’t want to throw you under the bus but ….”

What do you think when you hear that?

For me, I think you know what you’re about to say won’t be well received, so you qualify it first.

It’s like looking for approval for being the bearer of bad news or feedback.

Here’s the thing about using the word “but”.

When you join sentences with “but”, you negate the first sentence.

“I really like your new hairstyle but I prefer you blonde.”

“I think you did a good job but you missed this section of the garden.”

If you want to join sentences, use the word “and”.

“I really like your new hairstyle and I prefer you blonde.”

“I think you did a good job and you missed this section of the garden.”

If we don’t use the word “and”, the first sentence is ignored, so you may as well not say it.

Using “but” can also be a habit. I understand that.

I am constantly correcting myself.

If I hear myself say “but”, and I am aware of it, I immediately correct myself by saying “and”.

How about you?

My encouragement this week is to stop and think about what you are about to say, before you say it.

Think of the consequences.

Hear it from the receiver’s point of view before you speak.

“I’m hopeful that you’ve understood the message this week and I would love it if you practised.”

Watch out for the “but”.

Don’t throw yourself or anyone else under the bus.

And if you happen to be on the receiving end of the “but”, politely ask the speaker to clarify the message. Is the first sentence in addition to, or instead of, what follows?

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