Do you ever feel an emotion bubble up unexpectedly in response to certain words or situations? Here’s one that I recognized.
Trigger Words – #460
Did you ever notice that there are “trigger words” that make people angry?
A Wall Street Journal study shows that the word “never” generally elicits a bad reaction. Think about it. Have you heard the word “never” used in a positive way? The word “always” also elicits a negative reaction.
These words are absolutes and they generally don’t work well. Especially when giving feedback. I have a rule for not using, “never” or “always” in an argument. My reason is because either word is rarely the truth.
When you accuse the other person of always doing this, or never doing that, you’re conjuring up all the negatives they have ever committed, rather than dealing with the issue at hand.
A controversial trigger these days is the “compliment sandwich.” Someone wants you to improve, so they give you a compliment, throw in a criticism and end with another compliment. Many swear by the “compliment sandwich.” Others say that people see right through it and consider the compliments insincere.
As one critic wrote, “There are plenty of ways of politely discussing a problem that won’t involve insults and eye rolling. But don’t waste my time with half-hearted niceties that disguise your true concern.”
So now that you know the words that trigger anger, or suggest insincerity be sure you “never” ever use them again.
OK, maybe my ending was not too subtle – using the word I promised not to. But that IS the message. How often do we have an intention that’s not met with our action? Good exercise to consider the words or happenings that trigger your negative responses and practice a more reasonable response. Yes, it can be done. Especially if it will make things better for someone you love.