Building strong relationships with others is essential in all areas of our lives: business, friendships, dating, parenting, etc. However, our daily word choices can undermine our attempts at getting closer to other people. We can unwittingly be marking ourselves as untrustworthy, judgmental, and belittling when we use the following words in our everyday interactions. These five words are relationship killers. Try to avoid them at all costs!
Unless you’re psychic and know the entire future, saying that something will never happen or someone will never accomplish something makes you seem like a
know-it-all. And, when what you said would never happen comes true, you come off as untrustworthy. Use these alternatives to “never” in your everyday conversations.
Saying something always happens or someone always does something can lead to
feelings of resentment in people and are relationship killers. If you say Karen is always late, and she remembers multiple occasions when she was on time, she may feel resentful that you don’t recognize when she is on time. Use these alternatives to “always” in your daily interactions.
“Always” and “Never” are known as universal quantifiers in NLP. As soon as someone uses them in relation to a complaint, we know they are lying. Because of this, it immediately starts a fight and causes resentment. Instead, just be real and don’t put the other person on defense…especially if you want to be heard.
“Can’t” can make people uncomfortable sharing business ideas or future plans with you. “Can’t” can also push some people to try everything in their power to prove you wrong, so you become their enemy instead of their trusted partner. Which effect the regular use of ‘can’t’ will have on someone depends on their personality. Regardless, neither of these responses helps build a healthy relationship with them because you’ll be seen as someone who doesn’t believe in them or doesn’t respect their autonomy. Try these alternatives instead:
Should is one of the most judgmental words you can use. Telling people what they should or shouldn’t do, say, or think makes you the judge and ruler of their thoughts and decisions. Try these alternatives to “should”:
When a relationship doesn’t seem as close and healthy as you’d like it to be – including your own view of yourself – take a look at the language you use to talk about yourself and other people. Often, a simple change in vocabulary can make all the difference between healthy, fruitful, comfortable relationships and unpleasant relationships.