Don’t, but, didn’t

Reading a coaching article about the language we use (with ourselves, as well as others), I noted that we should avoid the words “don’t” and “didn’t” where possible. But, that seems really tricky I thought.

I read that “but” should be avoided, too.

Then I read that we shouldn’t be avoiding certain words, per se, and we should focus on positive, benefit driven language.

There’s a lot to absorb and as someone that uses “but” a lot in my writing, I’m looking forward to thinking about how I communicate more closely. I didn’t realise I used it so much, and I don’t want to keep doing so unless it’s a deliberate choice.

Or perhaps I should say, I’ve recognised I use it regularly and will be making it a more deliberate choice in future.

How much impact does word choice have – on the reader, and on the writer?

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Don’t, but, didn’t

  1. At uni (Psychotherapy degree) we were told not to use ‘Why’ as it had negative connotations. It became a skill to try avoid it by instead asking more disarming questions.

    “Why not” could become, “talk me through the reasoning which led to that decision”. This reduces the potential for raising guilt and is also a suggestion for the client to look more closely at their decision making, not just defending themselves relative to the outcome.

    Can’t say I do it very well these days, however it does come into my mind occasionally if someone has significantly opened up to me or when arguing with a loved one.

    1. Thanks for sharing, TP – I also try to be careful about saying ‘why’!

      I do find ‘why’ can actually be a positive hook though, with the right tone and inflection.
      ‘OOoooh, why’s that then’, delivered eagerly, can help keep momentum in a conversation.

      As with many good rules of thumb, the right environment can bend the rules!

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