The dismissive power of “but.”

"You look great in that. . . but. . . "
"I loved it, but. . . "
"Well, I thought it was successful, but. . ." 
"I love you but. . . "

How do each of these make you feel?   If you are like me, you cringe every time you hear that 'but'.  Beware of the buts.  They are the place where the previous positive (usually) comment gets diminished and often discarded entirely.  Even when used in the reverse, the positive comment is weakened by the 'but'.

"It could use some polishing, but. . ."
"If you worked harder you could improve, but. . . "
"I didn't like dinner much, but. . ."

While this makes for a better feeling, how about replacing the buts in your life with 'and'?  This does the job of allowing the positive comment to remain on its own and refuse to be diminished by the next statement.

"You look great in that. . . and. . . "
"I loved it, and. . . "
"Well, I thought it was successful, and. . ." 
"I love you and. . . " 

So even if it ends up being something like 

"You look great in that. . . and. . .the length is just a bit short."

Instead of immediately going into defensive mode, you have the power to pause and consider each statement individually.  There is a great power in 'and'. Inclusive statements draw people, thoughts and ideas closer.  Dismissive ones merely pushes them apart.

Try it, you may just end up finding that the buts in your life get filed into the 'seldom used' pile along with the "Shoulds", "ought tos",  and "can'ts." 


  1. Words are excellent! Did you know that when people are asked 'How are you' and they say, 'good' they are actually sparing you the pain of hearing anything contradictory. They may be awful and yet they still repeat the oft said response of 'fine.'

    Something to think about, my fabulous friend.

  2. Fine. . . F reaked out
    I nsecure
    N eurotic
    and E motional. . .

    There were quite a few years in there where 'fine' was VERY descriptive for me!


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