Jul 6, 2009

Two Important Words

Two of the most non-constructive, hurtful, hostile yet innocent-appearing words that can be used in an argument:

-always
-never


"You always ....."
"You never ....."
"I always ....."
"I never ....."

Outside an argument, they can be accurately descriptive at times.
But within an argument... ouch.

And they accomplish nothing, and lock in absolutes that indicate that you want or expect it to stay that way. If so, why are you arguing about it if you aren't seeking change or resolution? Just to hurt? Now there's a marriage/friendship - breaker.

Never - do you REALLY mean that something absolutely has not occurred at any time at all, at any instance, and that there's no chance of it occurring in the future?

Always - do you REALLY mean absolutely every single time? Every single time? Past and future? That's basically demanding it to continue instead of requesting change!

Better words to use in an argument would be:

-rarely
-seldom
-often
-occasionally
-frequently
-most of the time
-not that I can recall
-not as often as I'd like

etc.


Those get the same point across more accurately and realistically - with less hostility fueling the argument. They also invite improvement and change, instead of locking in and failing to change something undesirable.

When I've heard "You always do/say ...." i feel defensive rather than think about improving or changing a behavior.
Just as "You never ....." makes me think "fine! and i never WILL!"

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