The Worst Phrase You Can Say
“I told you so.”
The worst phrase we can say, if we want to enjoy great relationships, is any form of:
I told you so. I knew this would happen. I could’ve told you this was coming. Can I tell you…I thought this might be the result?
There is simply no redeeming quality of using this phrase. The only reason we ever do is to get the three Vs:
- Validation for our thoughts and opinions (which are obviously ignored over and over again!)
- Vindication from the other person (who now, in their sorrowful state, should finally recognize how much they need my forethought and wisdom!)
- Victory over our own feelings of inadequacy and insecurity (now that the facts prove I was right, all I need is your apologetic acknowledgment and I will finally feel strong and smart and worthy of respect!)
It’s okay. Those stomped all over my toes as well. As those who live and work with me will tell you, I’m just as guilty as anybody.
The irony is the stronger I actually feel about myself and my positions, the less I need you or anyone else to acknowledge I’m right. And…the less I care whether I’m factually right. In fact, the stronger I feel about myself, the more I’m concerned about being relationally right with you, rather than factually right over/against you.
Let’s try this instead:
- “Sounds like things didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped. That stinks; I hate it when that happens.”
Peace begins with pause,