Two Words That Can Hurt: ‘Never’ and ‘Always’

As in:

  • “You never listen to me!”
  • “You never come on time!”
  • “You never return my calls!”
  • “You always forget my birthday!”
  • “You are always on the phone/computer!”
  • “You always argue with me!”

You get the point? Such use of the words ‘never’ and ‘always’ exaggerate the reality and blow the situation out of proportion. It usually sparks an argument, or at best, affects the self-esteem of the other person. Next time you are tempted to use these words, try replacing them with ‘usually’ or ‘often’ if you really must use an adverb.

And what if you are at the receiving end of such criticism with one of these words?

  • Don’t take them seriously – you know it’s just an exaggeration.
  • Avoid the temptation to pick on these words and start a heated argument.
  • Simply ask: ‘Do you really mean it?’ or ‘You mean often, not always, right?
  • Don’t let it hurt you or ruin your day or affect your self-esteem – you are stronger than that!

The words always and never can also be used in very positive ways to enhance your communication, increase your commitment, and to motivate yourself and others. Please share your views through comments.

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