Avoid the Word “But”

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We live in a world of instantaneous communication.

This has an upside: As a global population we are informed of breaking news and important, need-to-know information at rapid speed.

This, of course, also has a downside: We (and media entities) can broadcast our thoughts, feelings and fears lickety-split to hundreds, thousands and even millions of people… with no filter or forethought.

That’s a heck of a lot of responsibility.

And can cause a heck of a lot of damage.

Case in point, I was triggered this week about certain happenings in the news and felt moved to share my thoughts on social media. It didn’t take but a few seconds after I posted to realize my post was a reaction not a response. I was operating from my reactive brain (my amygdala) vs. my responsive brain (emotional intelligent brain, or pre-frontal cortex.)

I even used the word triggered in my post… a red flag, indeed. From my book, I Get To: How Using the Right Words Can Radically Transform Your Life, Relationships & Business, I share the following concept, which I term The Ripple Effect:

____________ (adjective) people ____________ (verb) people.

So suffice to say, triggered people trigger people.

And I did just that…

One women said she was offended by my post.

Her comment caused me to pause, re-evaluate, and I decided to delete the post because it wasn’t positively contributing to the ripple effect of my Facebook page or the world.

That’s one example of how you can offend someone: sharing opinions, thoughts or feelings on sensitive or controversial topics such as politics, religion, etc.

On the other hand, you can offend people inadvertently, without even knowing it. Maybe you are living what Oprah calls “Your best life” and someone is offended by your choices, lifestyle or how you show up. Maybe that person trolls your social media, or feels the need to share why you offended them. The old adage goes:

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: I strongly believe that if you are someone who is easily offended, it’s important to dig deep and see why . Self-awareness is important and mindfulness techniques, like meditation and reframing, can be important tools for “managing life.” Since people will continue being people, my invitation is instead of wanting to change others, it’s easier to change yourself. (That’s why the skill of reframing is so important.)

Here is my short list on how NOT to offend others.

1. Avoid controversial triggers or topics.

2. Avoid the word “BUT.” Here’s a video that shares what the word BUT does.

3. Use “Let’s shift the conversation.” It’s a polite way to redirect the conversation to something more positive or uplifting.

4. Use “Cancel/Cancel” or “Delete/Delete.” If you say something you wish you didn’t, request a rewind, cancellation, or deletion. “Can I have a rewind? I’d love to start over.” or “I’d love to delete what I just said and start over.”

Do you have any tips for not offending others or rectifying it if you did?

As always, dedicated to your success,

Alicia Dunams

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