You: “It’s fine.”
Narrator: *everything was not fine*
I’ve done it. You’ve done it. My guess is, everyone has done it. We’ve said “it’s fine” when really… things weren’t fine.
It’s one of those default phrases we use when we don’t want to make the other person upset, or we want to avoid addressing the real issue. Really, it’s the easy way out.
However, when you think about it, it’s actually not fine to say… “it’s fine.”
While we might think we’re reassuring our colleagues, we’re actually calling attention to the mistake. This is called the “spotlight effect.” The person who committed the error might feel even more embarrassed. When we’re trying to lead a team or really wow a customer, this isn’t helpful.
It seems polite to let it go, but it’s creating more obstacles than you might think. In reality, we’re inadvertently teaching people that certain behaviors are acceptable or at least they might subconsciously think it.
Next time you feel the urge to hide behind “it’s fine,” make it a guilt-free, teachable opportunity by using one of these phrases:
- ”We all make mistakes. Here’s a way to work around this in the future…”
- ”Hey, I’ve done it myself, too. What I learned back then was to do A and B first…”
- ”I know the feeling. Been there when Z happened…What if we…”
Other times we hide behind the words “it’s fine” when we want to put an end to a discussion over a certain issue. We’re hoping the problem will just disappear forever, or at the very least for right now. Maybe it’s out of fear of what will happen when opinions come out. Or maybe it’s pure denial.
Regardless of what your reason is for ignoring the issue, the reality is: others know things aren’t fine and dandy. This leads to the perception that you’re untrustworthy, or maybe even a liar.
It’s okay to be uncomfortable with having a discussion in a certain time or place or to voice your concerns or let your opinions be heard. Keep these phrases handy for when you need to speak up:
- “Can we talk in private on this?”
- “Can you clarify your goals on this?”
- “Have you considered X?”
- “I’m concerned about Z and want to better understand your perspective on it.”
You’ve heard me say it many times before during these rants. Words matter. Choose them wisely and Cut the BS.
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