Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Getting Rid of the Big But(t)

In reality, I have a somewhat big butt, though I don't have an inordinate amount of "junk in my trunk" as compared to the average Canadian gal.  My butt is not very extraordinary one way or another, though I do make a concerted effort to not to look at it very often as it strains my neck.  (Plus, I like my front view a whole lot better.)

Beyonce. Not me.  Regrettably.

Backsides aside, I DO, however, have a "big but" that I pepper my language with a whole lot.

"You did a great job on your spelling test, BUT you'd darn well better improve on your math."

"You can go to your friend's house for a play date, BUT if  you have another temper tantrum like last time, you're never going over there again."

"You're very kind and sweet to me, BUT you never buy me flowers just because."

"You're a very clever student, BUT you never put in the work."

Here I am using the "big but!"

And on it goes.  I use the "big but" multiple times every day both at work and at home.  My resolution is to rid myself of the "big but" and to start replacing it with an innocent three letter word that is much less inflammatory:


And softens the blow; it doesn't negate the compliment quite as decisively as the "big but" does.  It works especially well if you finesse the second clause of your sentence with an implied insult that is actually turned into a compliment.  (If that makes sense.)  Here's what I mean:

"You did a great job on your spelling test, AND I bet you can improve your math, too."

"You can go to your friend's house for a play date, AND I expect you'll be able to have an evening free of temper tantrums when you come home."

You are very kind and sweet to me, AND I would just love it if you bought me flowers sometimes just because."

You are a very clever student, AND I know if you put in the work you'll go far in life."

Nothing makes a person want to work less, under perform or NOT want to do something kind for you more than hearing a "big but." Granted, you might need to rehearse your newly designed sentences in your head before saying them because it's much more natural to just lunge into the "you had better smarten up or else" tirade, but it can make a real difference in the quality of your relationships and what people are willing to do for you if you simply take away the "but."

I'm making it my new start to get rid of my literal and figurative BIG BUT(T)S!  Time to go do some lunges...

Now, that is one adorable butt!


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  2. From another gal with a big but (and butt) issue, this is great advice! I love you sister-chen!