Home Grow 3 Everyday Phrases You Might Not Realize Are Actually Rude

3 Everyday Phrases You Might Not Realize Are Actually Rude

They may be common, but a speaking coach warns, you still sound like a bit of a jerk when you use them.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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Rudeness isn't just likely to lose your friends, customers, and good employees. As my Inc. colleague Suzanne Lucas has reported, research shows that experiencing rudeness decreases people's ability to think clearly and come up with quality ideas. Bad manners aren't just unpleasant, they're also a performance killer. 

Which is why most business leaders strive not to be rude. The problem, according to one public speaking coach who is paid to pay careful attention to how people use and receive language, is that even well-intentioned people can be poor at judging if what they're saying will come off as rude. 

Just because it's common doesn't mean it's not rude.

There are many cases where rudeness is obvious. If you're making blanket negative judgments about a group of people, hogging the conversation spotlight, or loudly gossiping on the phone in the middle of the office, you are unambiguously rude. But as John Bowe notes in his article for CNBC Make It, sometimes phrases slip into common use and become accepted by some while still often rubbing others the wrong way. 

You may hear these phrases every day and not be bothered when you're not on the receiving end of them.  Over time, you may pick them up without thinking about it. But when you're the one these expressions are directed at, their disregard for other people's opinions and comfort becomes clear. 

What are some examples? Bowe runs through a long list in his article but here are a handful that entrepreneurs may commonly hear (or use) while working. 

1. "Here's the thing..."

"This phrase insists that whatever follows will be the final, authoritative take on the subject at hand. Even when used inadvertently, it can sound a bit self-important. Truly authoritative people don't tend to waste time on throat-clearing statements," insists Bowe. 

He claims a better option is to just start your sentence with a simple, "I think...." It might be less flashy but this time-tested opener makes clear you're just sharing your opinion, without making you come across as dominating or conversation-ending. 

2. "We'll figure out a way."

Bowe suggests this phrase is a particular sin of business leaders, who use it to shut down any discussion of employees' reservations or problems. "Leadership demands that if an employee needs help or tries to communicate about a roadblock, your job is to help them work through it -- not to insult them," he underlines. 

If you don't want to be seen as rude or highhanded, it's better to signal warmth and openness when an employee raises a potential issue by saying, simply, "Let's talk about it and figure out a way."

3. "It is what it is."

Most of us have reached for this phrase at one time or another when faced with an annoying but seemingly immovable roadblock. The thinking is, if you can't do anything about it, why spend time and energy discussing it? As Bowe points out, the other party in the conversation may need sympathy or advice. Knocking down their bid for connection can make you come off as kind of a jerk

"Try offering a bit of curiosity and empathy. You don't need to be phony or overly demonstrative. But saying something as simple as 'That's tough. I'm sorry you're going through that,' can make a difference by allowing the other person to feel heard," he suggests. 

You can check out Bowe's complete article for other common expressions you might want to think carefully about before using. While the rudeness of many depends on the context, and none of them are five-alarm offensive, the overall message of the piece seems solid to me. 

Words matter, and so do relationships. Being more thoughtful about how your words affect others is probably a good self-improvement practice for just aboutevery one of us. Just because you don't intend to be rude doesn't mean you don't at times come across that way.

Photo Credit: Getty Images.

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