Don’t Be a BUT Person in Your Relationships

I am a little strict on the YES in YES AND.

ICYMI my obsession: it’s the idea of affirmation and elevation. You’re taking someone else’s thought or idea and you’re affirming it – whether you agree with it or not – and adding information in a way that equalizes the two versus elevating one over another.

As a quick example: 

Person A: I love nachos.
Person B: Yes, you love nachos and I think burritos are better.

Easy peasy.

The other side of YES AND is the YES BUT or NO BUT. There are a whole bunch of issues that come up when you use BUT in ideation, creation, conversation – what happens when you use it in a relationship?

You Elevate Yourself
The word BUT pits two things against one another – if you’re saying BUT to another person and their opinion, you’re essentially elevating yourself and your opinion. Think about it:

Person A: I want nachos for dinner!
Person B: Yes, you want nachos for dinner, but I want burritos.

You’ve made your “I” statement more important than the other statement. When someone hears a BUT consistently and feels like the other person is elevating themselves they’re going to stop communicating eventually.

You Shut Someone Down
The word BUT also shuts someone down. That last example with nachos and burritos? By saying “But I want burritos” closes the conversation off to more discussion. Alternatively, if you said “And I want burritos” you could easily add a “let’s compromise and do both!” or “maybe we can something else” or any other comment that can further the conversation. AND leaves things open for opportunities – BUT shuts it down.

You Don’t Listen
I see this more often than I like: when someone is constantly using the word BUT, they are only concerned with what they want to add to the conversation and say. They don’t think about what the other person is saying, what their opinion is – they just want to add their thoughts and have learned how to do so what the word BUT.

Next time you hear it, take a beat and think: did they listen? Are they shutting you down? Do you feel like they are elevating their thoughts over yours? They might not being malicious or doing it intentionally – often that’s the effect.