We all know them. Sometimes we are them. The joy killers. They kill the joy of a compliment.
You’ve seen and heard it. “Your son did a great job with the laundry.” Yes, but – I had to refold all the clothes. “Wasn’t that a grand party at Sue’s?” Yes, but – there was nothing for vegetarians. “What a beautiful new home.” Yes, but – it needs a lot of work. “Your presentation today was excellent.” Yes, but – I forgot the great opening I planned. And the list goes on. It’s a conundrum.
When my mother heard the words ‘yes, but’ she stopped the next words being uttered by saying “No but’s about it … you heard the message.” Usually followed by “I am tired of all the ifs, ands or buts. Get on with it.” It didn’t cure us. It did make us think.
Why do we sabotage ourselves and the one giving the compliment? Greater minds have pondered this question. The answers given are we don’t believe the person being complimented – ourselves or another – is worthy of the praise. We listen for errors instead of information. We believe our ‘but’ adds worth or clarity.
What to do? Let’s rerun: Your son did a great job … “He sure did. Saved me a lot of time.” Grand party at Sue’s. “Indeed. It was good to see all our friends.” Beautiful new home. “Thank you. We feel very fortunate.” Excellent presentation. “Thank you. That means a lot.”
Give it a try … no ifs, ands or buts. Sometimes all we need as a response is a simple ‘Thank you.”