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5 Phrases to Avoid at Work (And Why)

Last Update: May 12, 2020

You know that children’s rhyme: sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. It would be nice if that really were the case, but we all know that words can sometimes do more harm than anything physical. We get hurt by other people’s words, but at times we hurt ourselves with our own words without even realizing it. Just remember how many times you thought you said something completely harmless but it ended up with a lot of consequences. Think to yourself, are there some phrases to avoid at work?

Things You Shouldn’t Say In The Workplace

When you’re at work, you want people to perceive you in a certain way. You want people to see you as a confident, competent, and assertive person. However, you might be undermining yourself with your wrong choice of words. There are so many different people at your workplace, some of which may get offended by your words. Make sure to avoid these common work phrases. If you’re in the job-hunting process, note that these phrases are also definitely not welcome in job interviews either.

1. I’m sorry, but…

When you apologize for something you wrongfully did, you definitely should say you’re sorry. But when you’re trying to make a point or express your opinion, never apologize for it. It makes you seem insecure and vulnerable, and pretty sure that’s not the way you want people to perceive you.

2. It’s not my fault

When things go the wrong way, it’s likely that the culprit will be sought. You may be held responsible, and it may or may not be your fault. However, desperately doing everything you can just to shift the blame to someone else is not what you should be doing. If it really wasn’t your fault, explain it like an adult without throwing someone else under the bus. Try and explain calmly what happened, and take responsibility for the part that you indeed, are responsible for. You will get much more respect that way than being a coward that is trying to shift the blame to anyone else just to save oneself.

it's not my fault

3. I just think that…

Sugarcoating things won’t get you anywhere. Using this phrase, you’re wrapping your words into a lovely wrapping paper and putting a bow on top. But you’re doing that because you’re unsure of what you’re saying. Say what you want without fear, be confident about your words and take a stand. Using the “I just think that” seems like you’re apologizing for having an opinion, which is something you should never do.

4. That’s not fair

hat's not fair

Life isn’t fair. Should you just sit quietly and let it go? Of course not. If you feel someone has mistreated you, stand up for yourself. However, there is a way to go about it. Explain the situation like an adult, lay out the facts, but don’t argue like you’re in the second grade, moping about life being unfair to you.

5. I’ll try

This is too vague. If you can do something, say so. If you have too much on your plate, state that to whoever gave you the task, so the person knows what’s the situation. Saying “I’ll try” might seem like you’re trying to say that they give you too much work, but don’t have enough courage to say it exactly like that. Let them know if they can count on you or not, and explain them the situation.

You want to be taken seriously, and you want your words to matter. This is why it’s important to know how to express yourself. Now that you know which are the words and phrases to avoid at work, you should try sticking to it. You’d be surprised how much of difference it makes.




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