The Four Most Annoying Phrases Ever!


By J.P. Reynolds

When not teaching or doing communication coaching, I’m officiating non-denominational wedding ceremonies. Since June is the start of wedding season, I’m devoting this month’s columns to insights on how better to communicate with your partner so as to reduce confusion and stress. However, you don’t have to be getting married to find these tips useful!

The following are four words/phrases we all use daily — often without thinking. We usually toss these out when we don’t want to give a real answer, but they potentially can confuse your partner if used regularly while planning your wedding (or anything).

“Try” is a word meant to give the other person hope they’ll get what they want. I’m guilty of over-using this word, as I have this habit of not wanting to disappoint people. I attempt to buy time with “try” in the hope that eventually I’ll be able to help them.  More times than not, my “trying” doesn’t work out.

Tell your partner exactly what you’re going to do when you “try” to do what they’ve asked of you. Let them know what your “trying” really involves.

“I’ll get back to you” is said when you want to get rid of the other person because you don’t want to have to deal with them right now. How often do people get back to you when they say, “I’ll get back to you”?

Tell your partner specifically when you’ll get back to them and then make sure you do!

“I guess” is mumbled when you only partially agree with the other person and for whatever reason you don’t want to continue the discussion. Your body language and tone of voice always gives you away! Even if the person accepts your begrudging “I guess,” they’ll walk away thinking you have attitude.

Tell your partner what you agree with and what you don’t agree with and why.

“We’ll see” is a fave phrase of our parents. It was their way of saying “no.” Recently my eleven-year-old godson, Finn, asked if we could go to Target and get a Skylander toy. I said, “We’ll see.”  Puzzled, he asked, “See what?”

Tell your partner why you’re hesitant to give a firm answer; let them know what your doubts and concerns are.

Reduce your use of these four phrases and you’ll reduce confusion between you and your partner (romantic or otherwise) and so reduce stress.

In coming weeks I’ll tell you stories of clients who’ve worked to lay claim to their voice and communicate with confidence and insight. If you have any communication questions or issues you’d like me to address, please send them to:

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