Today’s tip offers six short phrases — of five words each — which will help you to avoid some of those corner-backing moments in life. The catch is, you have to practice saying them so they’ll roll off your tongue just when you need them. The easiest way is to do that is to share them with your friends and role-play for a short five minutes. Really.
Phrase One: “I’m Not Comfortable With That”
This is a great one-liner to throw out when you are asked to do something questionable or something that does not align with your core values.
Inquirer: “Hey, would you mind clocking out for me so I can get a jump start on my workout during lunch?”
You: “Ooh, I’m not comfortable with that…” Let the silence linger before smiling and then making a quick exit.
Phrase Two: “Let Me Think About It”
Whenever you are asked to do something or are invited somewhere, take responsibility for your choice by answering without making it depend on someone else, like your girlfriend or husband. You’ll sound more credible and maintain respect from the other party.
Friend: “Hey, want to attend the monster truck show with me tomorrow night?”
You: “Sounds great! Let me think about it. When do you need to know?”
Phrase Three: “I’ll Havta Pass On That”
You want to say no quickly without hurting anyone’s feelings. This line does all that and more: it leaves the initiator feeling positive enough that you may receive another invitation to do something in the future.
Friend: Hey, you want to go to that really over-the-top restaurant and blow $100 for appetizers?
You: I’ll havta pass on that, but tell me what you plan on ordering if you go…
See? What a nice way to say no and then turn the conversation toward the other person.
Phrase Four: “If You Change Your Mind”
This expression is for those of you who want to make sure to leave the door of opportunity open when interacting with those who are black-and-white about things. It also alleviates the pressure during disagreements and potential conflicts.
Your Friend: “I don’t ever want to do this with you again. I can’t, and I won’t!”
You: I’m sorry to hear you feel this way. It’d be great to try again some other time. Just let me know if you change your mind.” Smile, and then move on.
Phrase Five: “You Just Might Be Right”
Quick! Whip out this oldie but goodie whenever you find yourself in an argument with a hotheaded or ignorantly stubborn individual. It will save you time and ease any impending stress on the spot! Really, how many times have you found yourself in a frustrating exchange trying to explain yourself or position to no avail? You should get plenty of practice with this one right out of the gate!
Your Co-worker: “But I’m right, and I know my stuff. There is nothing you can say to change my mind. You. Are. Wrong.”
You: “Ah, well. You just might be right. Let’s table it for the moment and move on.”
Phrase Six: “I Might’ve Spoken Too Soon”
Yikes! You answered too quickly and are worried about the impact yet you want to change your mind. This one saves you any other explanation and lets you off the hook honorably.
Friend: So, you’ll help me move on Saturday?
You: Sure. No problem.
You: Hey, I might’ve spoken too soon the other day when I said I could help you move. I’m really sorry. [OPTIONAL: Is there anything I can for you next Saturday from 2pm to 4pm when I know for sure I’m free?]
Offering a make-up time for helping out eases the blow. But only do it if you mean it.
These little ditties are so handy, wouldn’t you say? But here’s the ultimate catch: If some of them are used on you, please take the time to do some honest soul-searching on your end.