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July 3, 2018

The 4th Best Phrase You Can Say

“Tell me more.”
(people who pause, seeking to understand before getting people to understand them)


A few months ago we looked at the 4th Worst Phrase You Can Say. Today is the 4th Best: Tell me more.


When you need to pause after hearing bad news, try “tell me more.” It’s a great way to calm your emotional reactivity, and increase your approachability, during any crisis. It’s an amazing way to stay ScreamFree in the heat of the moment.

“Dad, don’t come pick me up right after school,” says your darling pre-teen daughter.

“How come?” you ask calmly.

“I got detention and I need to stay for an extra hour. I hate my teacher!”

“Hmmm….tell me more about what happened.”


Now, is this what you’re feeling toward your daughter in that moment? No. What you’re feeling is more like “Young lady, what the heck did you do this time? And oh, you hate your teacher? I’m sure the feeling’s mutual!”


But “tell me more” operates as your own pause button, giving you something to say that gives your brain a chance to respond rather than react. It’s especially what you need if you want your daughter to continue approaching you as her struggles only get bigger.


Try it today.


Your kid is upset, or in trouble? “Tell me more, son.”


Your boss is displeased with your performance? “Could you tell me more about what I could do differently?”


Your spouse is accusing you of something, especially if you think he’s wrong? “Please tell me more—I really want to understand what you mean.”


Peace begins with pause,