There are dozen of phrases I have reconsidered over time. I know most of you have also. Consider the following phrases and the consequences of uttering them:
- "Could you please tell me exactly what it is about me that bothers you?" When you asked this question, you were not expecting a litany of what the person feels are your problem areas. Deep sigh!
- "Could you tell me a little about yourself? Oh my, did you mean from birth?
- "I'd be happy to help you." Surely, you did not mean that you would do this person's work!
- "Is there anything else I can do for you?" Same as above.
- "I have nothing to lose." Mmmm, sometimes you do have something to lose, time can be as valuable as money.
- "Could we please just talk about this first?" Talking and discussing is one thing, listening to a myriad of complaints is another.
- "Go ahead, see if I care!" Well it turns out that you do care.
- "I don't care what happens, I'm doing it anyway." This is often a response after a friend has offered cautionary advice--maybe you should have listened?
- "Don't worry, I can do it myself." Be prepared to eat humble pie when you say these words out loud.
- "What else can happen?" You thought everything that could happen, had happened. Then you have a power outage and you had not hit the save button on your computer.
And, my very favorite--I am caught by this time after time, still I never learn; "Sure, I can have that ready for you by Monday morning or whatever date or time."
These phrases, once spoken can lead to amusing or disastrous consequences. If you have responded to a question, a plea for help, guidance, etc., before thinking, it may be time to make a promise to yourself that you will not do it again. Instead, take a deep breath after you hear the question, and think about what your answer can lead to before responding.
Saying "Don't worry, I can do it myself" in the work place can place you in a position where you are given an exorbitant amount of paperwork or time-consuming research. Your best response to “I need help” is, “What needs to be done?” It may be something where you can point the requester in the right direction and be on your way.