Life lessons remind me to never say never. And also avoid using the term, always. This last year, I had first hand experiences that I never thought would happen. For example, RM is playing golf and shooting skeet. He did both due to his job in support of company fundraisers and he surprisingly enjoyed the experience except for the associated body aches and pains and revealing his lack of experience to his colleagues. I thought I would never run a mile again under ten minutes, but I did.
These terms of always and never are ones we often resort to when we argue. When I hear always and never, I usually don’t believe the person. These words are used by a person trying to elicit an emotional response not one based on facts. They are also used by folks who only think in black and white terms. More likely, people who use these words just don’t feel heard. So, next time you get into an argument and you hear the always and never terms used, try to redirect to what the person is really trying to tell you.
“I always have to empty the dishwasher” Try, ” I can tell it annoys you so let’s work out a compromise so you don’t feel that way anymore.”
“I never see you anymore!” “You are right, we don’t see each other as much as we used to, let’s discuss why?”
“You never listen to me.” “I don’t always hear you is what I think you are trying to say, and let’s work on that.”
So, how do you think about using the word, should? To me the word should sounds as if there’s some universal truth everyone agreed to. We “should” wear sunscreen. We “should” eat fewer processed foods. We “should” get eight hours of sleep each night. But not used when we talk about our colleague’s behavior or what career move our friend is contemplating. Using should just interjects guilt onto a person instead of support. And don’t we already feel guilty enough about our short comings? In my head, are constant little should statements like “I should lose weight”, “I should check in more with my friend”, and “I should volunteer more”.
Do I believe you should never say these words again? No, but using them sparingly will help your credibility, boost your leadership capacity and improve your relationships. I think I will go put my pearls on now…