Have you ever stopped and listened to the people around you?  Have you ever stopped and listened to the words that fall out of your mouth? Do you repeat certain phrases?  Do you even notice?  I do.  In particular, I notice people repeating words or phrases in sentence structure; one of my pet peeve phrases is a good example, “You Know?”  I get annoyed when I hear “you know” at the end of every sentence, or “uh” at every pause in a sentence.  What really gets my attention is when people use the following phrases and words:

  • Well I never…well I never
  • You never…
  • I always…
  • You always…
  • Usually…
  • All…
  • Everyone…
  • Every time…
  • Everywhere…
  • I am absolutely certain…
  • I think, I know, I guess…

 

I am sure you get the idea.  These phrases are qualifiers.  A qualifier changes how absolute, certain, or generalized a statement is.  Qualifiers when used incorrectly make communication and debate difficult.  Here is a good for instance: have you ever been in an intense argument with your loved one and the more they say “you never,” or “you always” the more heated the argument gets.  The reason for this is obvious, you cannot possibly “always or never” do anything because things change, situations are different, and we deal with and react to each instance differently.

I would say that if you frequently argue with someone, pay attention to who is using the qualifier and speak up or zip it depending on with whom the problem resides.

The best place for qualifiers is when you are certain:

“I have never been to that restaurant.”

“I always accept returns.”

“I know I love squash.”

The idea is that when we use qualitative statements we can cause others to change their attitude lightning fast.  Some questions to ask yourself: When you do it, do you do it in a negative way or a positive way?  Can you stop yourself from doing it negatively?  Do you realize that this is another level of the power of intention? (For instance, if I say, “I always get heartburn if I eat pizza,” then I am effectively creating the heartburn before I ever eat a bite.)

~Joli A. Campbell

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