How do you avoid unnecessary discussions?(and make people around you happier)
I recently added a reflection question in the morning. If I could re-live my last day, what would I do differently?
And invariably, little moments come up where I could have avoided an unnecessary discussion.
And often, it's three little words that cause it. "No" "But" "¨However."
1. This is what Marshall Goldsmith, a behavior change expert, explains well in his book. What Got You Here Won't Get You.
“When you start a sentence with ‘no,’ ‘but,’ ‘however,’ or any variation thereof, no matter how friendly your tone or how many cute mollifying phrases you throw in to acknowledge the other person’s feelings, the message to the other person is You are wrong. It’s not, ‘I have a different opinion.’ It’s not, ‘Perhaps you are misinformed.’ It’s not, ‘I disagree with you.’ It’s bluntly and unequivocally, ‘What you’re saying is wrong, and what I’m saying is right.’ Nothing productive can happen after that. The general response from the other person (unless he or she is a saint willing to turn the other cheek) is to dispute your position and fight back. From there, the conversation dissolves into a pointless war. You’re no longer communicating. You’re both trying to win.”
Our need, to be right even for the most trivial things generate a lot of useless discussions.
2. And he suggests getting into the habit of replacing those words with "Thank you."
It doesn't mean you agree, you'll act on the advice. You just thank the person for suggesting it.
It gives you time to think, throw it away, or keep it. All choices are possible. You don't lose, you don't win, it's neutral.
3. How can I improve?
I will measure the number of times I use these words for a week and try every day to do better.
Because this small word "thank you" makes people around me happier and limits useless discussions.