While for many, the sentence, 'Just say no' might conjure up the usual anti-drugs message, the focus of it in this article piqued my interest as it really made me think twice about how I communicate on a daily basis...
I'm going to start paying more attention to how and when I use the word, 'just'. I suspect I probably use it far too often for my liking....and if so, how much am I subtly weakening or diluting the conviction of what I'm saying? Am I perceived to be asking permission?
As the article says, "Take the word out of your sentences and see if you note a difference in your clarity -- and even the beliefs that fuel the things you say."
“I just wanted to check in on…” “Just wondering if you’d decided between….” “If you can just give me an answer, then…” “I’m just following up on…” It hit me that there was something about the word I didn’t like. It was a “permission” word, in a way — a warm-up to a request, an apology for interrupting, a shy knock on a door before asking “Can I get something I need from you?” The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was a “child” word. As such it put the conversation partner into the “parent” position, granting them more authority and control. And that “just” didn’t make sense. I am all about respectful communication. Yet I began to notice that “just” wasn’t about being polite: it was a subtle message of subordination, of deference. Sometimes it was self-effacing. Sometimes even duplicitous. As I started really listening, I realized that striking it from a phrase almost always clarified and strengthened the message.