The little BUT…

Read an article the other day, reminding me of the word BUT. It’s one of the first changes you make when you start becoming aware of language – whether as a coach, a parent or a leader. To change BUT in all your sentences with AND.

It seems like a tiny thing, and still, it has a profound effect. Try it on: a compliment, a positive comment about the party you were at or the person you’re talking with – and then you add another sentence and link them with BUT: “She is really nice, but she talks a lot”.

Immediately, you have diminished, deleted, negated anything positive you have just said – for the person on the receiving end, they conclude that it was just nice wrapping, now comes the real message.

With a BUT, talking a lot is not a good thing. You pick up that she’s less nice because of it. Tiny change and positive effect: “She is really nice, and she talks a lot”. Do you see, how the judgment has diminished? It can be positive, or no matter how we perceive it, it’s accepted as who she is. It could mean that she’s good at connecting with others – and even if it’s not your thing, you don’t diminish or judge her for it.

Because if we go deeper, it’s about judgment. Even if not intended that way, we judge the situation and the other person – and make them just that bit smaller, less accepted, less lovable.

So, start removing it from your language. Become aware of how often you belittle or judge. And practice instead of diminishing with BUT, expand with AND.

Enjoy your week, and enjoy expanding others.