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No "buts" about it...

I have spent a lot of time studying communication and it won’t be much longer until a new fall semester of teaching communication skills will begin again for me. I’ve read a lot of textbooks that taught a lot of communication principles and theories. But there is one thing that a professor in graduate school taught me that I have never, ever forgotten.

I think it’s kind of a gem, if you will, in the communication world.

She said this….“anytime you use the word BUT in a sentence, you negate what came before it.”

For example…if you say to your husband …“I love your suit but you might want to change the tie”, your husband doesn’t hear, or focus on, “I love your outfit”… only “change the tie”.

If you say to your child…“you did a good job cleaning your room but you forgot to hang up your jeans”…. they don’t hear the “good job” part…they hear (or focus on) what they forgot.

The mind subconsciously stops when it hears the word “but”.

It just does.

Now you can use the word “and” in a sentence and say pretty much the same thing with a different result. You can say…“I love your outfit…and a different tie might make it work even better.” Or, “you did a good job cleaning your room and don’t forget to hang up your jeans”. And guess what? The receiver will actually hear the beginning of your sentence. They’ll feel better about what you are saying.

Is that cool or what?!?

Try it. Try using and instead of but or just drop that pesky three letter “but”.

Everyone who listens to you will feel better about your message.

Which brings me to this…

How many times do we say “but” to God.

For example…“I know you want me to do this BUT…”

Or…“I’ll do this BUT could you…”

Here’s the deal…we are created in His image…so if we don’t register anything after the word “but”, maybe He doesn’t either. Now I know He’s God and all knowing and all that, but he could probably do without the buts.

No “but what about this…” or “but why not that” just maybe “I accept this AND…”

Try it out today!

Let me know how it works for ya.

Comments: #

Anonymous - Jul 3, 2009

Never thought about this-makes sense!! Will start working on that today. Thanks for the exhortation. It goes along with our Beth Moore study this week of blessing people with your words. In graduate school in counseling one thing I learned was instead of
saying “you do such or such, etc; instead preface it will “I feel”. You own the statement instead of accusing the other person.

Barbara McMahan - Jul 3, 2009

Dear Darla, Loved your blog today, always love them but this was great. You have an incredible knack for integrating your life with your Christian life. What a gift. Keep on doing this, you can’t imagine how many people you touch and witness too. I am blessed to read them and love the memories they bring back. p.s. Always made Kent’s coming home special, DADDY’S HOME!! MAMA TIRED! LOVE DADDY! HA HA. still works today. Love, BarbarA

Chelsea - Jul 3, 2009

I think this is a great post. I’m sure my husband would appreciate it. I bet it’ll change my own attitude as well.