18 Common Phrases to Avoid in Conversation

Discussion in 'The Water Cooler' started by cybercore, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. cybercore

    cybercore New Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    18 Common Phrases to Avoid in Conversation

    What Not to Say About Someone's Appearance


    Don’t say: “You look tired.”
    It implies she doesn’t look good.
    Instead say:
    “Is everything OK?” We often blurt the “tired” comment when we get the sense that the other person feels out of sorts. So just ask.

    Don’t say: “Wow, you’ve lost a ton of weight!”
    To a newly trim person, it might give the impression that she used to look unattractive.
    Instead say:
    “You look fantastic.” And leave it at that. If you’re curious about how she got so svelte, add, “What’s your secret?”

    Don’t say: “You look good for your age.”
    Anything with a caveat like this is rude. It's saying, "You look great―compared with other old people. It's amazing you have all your own teeth."
    Instead say:
    “You look great.”

    Don’t say: “I could never wear that.”
    It can be misunderstood as a criticism. (“I could never wear that because it’s so ugly.”)
    Instead say:
    “You look so good in skinny jeans.” If you slip, say something like “I could never wear that…because I wasn’t blessed with your long legs.”

    What Not to Say in the Workplace


    Don’t say: “That’s not my job.”
    Why: If your superior asks you to do something, it is your job.
    Instead say: “I’m not sure that should be my priority right now.” Then have a conversation with your boss about your responsibilities.

    Don’t say: “This might sound stupid, but…”
    Why: Never undermine your ideas by prefacing your remarks with wishy-washy language.
    Instead say: What’s on your mind. It reinforces your credibility to present your ideas with confidence.

    Don’t say: “I don’t have time to talk to you.”
    Why: It’s plain rude, in person or on the phone.
    Instead say: “I’m just finishing something up right now. Can I come by when I’m done?” Graciously explain why you can’t talk now, and suggest catching up at an appointed time later. Let phone calls go to voice mail until you can give callers your undivided attention.

    What Not to Say During a Job Interview


    Don’t say: “My current boss is horrendous.”
    Why: It’s unprofessional. Your interviewer might wonder when you’d start bad-mouthing her. For all you know, she and your current boss are old pals.
    Instead say: “I’m ready for a new challenge” or a similarly positive remark.

    Don’t say: “Do you think I’d fit in here?”
    Why: You’re the interviewee, not the interviewer.
    Instead say: “What do you enjoy about working here?” By all means ask questions, but prepare ones that demonstrate your genuine interest in the company.

    Don’t say: “What are the hours like?” or “What’s the vacation policy?”
    Why: You want to be seen as someone who focuses on getting the job done.
    Instead say: “What’s the day-to-day like here?” Then, if you’ve really jumped through every hoop and time off still hasn’t been mentioned, say, “Can you tell me about the compensation and benefits package?”

    What Not to Say About Pregnancy and Babies


    Don’t say: “Are you pregnant?”
    Why: You ask, she’s not, and you feel totally embarrassed for essentially pointing out that she’s overweight.
    Instead say: “Hello” or “Great to see you” or “You look great.” Anything besides “Are you pregnant?” or “What’s the due date?” will do. Save yourself the humiliation and never ask.

    Don’t say: “Do you plan on breast-feeding?”
    Why: The issue can be controversial, and she may not want to discuss her decision publicly.
    Instead say: Nothing. Unless you’re very close, don’t ask. If you slip, make up for the blunder by adding, “And do you feel comfortable telling me?”

    Don’t say: “Were your twins natural?” or “It must have been hard for your child’s birth parent to give him up.”
    Why: You’re suggesting that natural conception is better than in vitro fertilization (IVF) or adoption.
    Instead say: To a parent of multiples, try a light “Wow, you have your hands full!” To an adoptive parent, say the same stuff you would to any other parent: “She’s adorable!” or “How old is he?”

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