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5 Words To Leave Out of Conversations

 ‘Words are powerful’ is not a cliche. Language plays a huge role in how we are perceived by others, and how we feel about ourselves as well. While certain words have the power to make you seem intelligent or likable, others have exactly the opposite impact.
Some of the words that are better to avoid are actually extremely common ones, words that we say without even thinking. To avoid leaving a less than great impression, we gathered some of the words that, according to language and psychology experts, should be left out of our lexicons.

1. Just

 Words To Leave OUT of Your Vocabulary couple walking and conversing

Despite it not being its literal meaning, when you use the word ‘just’ in a sentence people usually transform it in their minds to ‘merely’ as an adverb. This filler word can soften what you’re trying to say, but not necessarily in a good way. Rather, it tends to make you sound less confident. 

For example, when you say ‘I was just wondering’, other people hear it as ‘I was merely wondering’ and that comes across as "diminished, disingenuous and defensive” according to language experts. It can make you seem like you have less expertise in what you’re discussing, which is not an impression you’d want to make.

Related: These 8 Mistakes Are the Biggest Conversation Killers

2. But

 Words To Leave OUT of Your Vocabulary couple arguing

Everyone knows that when ‘but’ comes up in a conversation, it might be bad news. After all, it typically has the power to negate everything that has been said before it. "It can also be perceived as a way to diminish or undercut the object of the sentence or the person being spoken to," explains management consultant, executive coach, and facilitator Liz Kislik. 

So how can you give constructive critique or feedback without the word ‘but’? Kislik suggests two replacements: ‘and’ or ‘now’. The word ‘and’ makes it feel as though you’re adding to what you said rather than contradicting it, while ‘now’, when used after a pause, gives the sense of ‘next’ moving on in the conversation.

Cutting out the ‘buts’ and using these alternatives will help your conversation partners feel more open to hearing what you have to say, and feel like you’re leading to something positive rather than undercutting what you said before. 

3. Always

 Words To Leave OUT of Your Vocabulary man looking skeptical
It’s highly likely that when the word ‘always’ is used, it's an exaggeration. After all, something rarely is done or true all the time. While it’s a very common word, it is hardly ever truthful. Language experts claim that using ‘always’ can raise questions about the authenticity of what you’re saying, and it can even bring into question statements you’ve made prior to saying ‘always’.
In other words, it can subconsciously make you seem less credible to your conversation partner, so our best advice is to just leave it out. You may replace it with ‘often’ or ‘most of the time’.

4. Should

 Words To Leave OUT of Your Vocabulary woman upset on the phone

Words have power, even those we say to ourselves. The word ‘should’ allows us to be actively critical of ourselves. ‘I should or shouldn’t be doing this and that…’ suggest that we don’t accept ourselves or where we are in life, explains clinical psychologist Sophie Mort.

Even this small form of rejection can lead to stress and anxiety, which does the opposite of helping us. “It can shut down our brain's ability to problem solve and to maintain attention to a new task," said Mort. At the end of the day, anxiety over what we ‘should’ be doing can be the very thing that prevents us from doing that, creating a cycle of stress.

5. Can't

 Words To Leave OUT of Your Vocabulary three men conversing
Similarly to ‘should’ the word ‘can’t’ creates negative emotions and makes way for self-criticism. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that those using the word ‘can’t’ when confronted with a temptation were less likely to resist that temptation than those who used the word ‘don’t’. So not only does the word ‘can’t’ makes you feel negatively about yourself, but it also makes you feel less in control.
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