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· I’m not the only one who thinks you don’t know what you are talking about. Everyone thinks so.
· I’m not the only one who notices you drink too much.
· I’m not the only one who thinks you are always late. Everyone thinks you don’t care about being on time.
This one is dirty pool, deserving of a place on the ten worst phrases list. Test yourself here. See if you can identify why this is such a destructive phrase before continuing.
People use this kind of phrase to pressure the other person by implying that it’s not just one person’s opinion, but that “everyone” agrees. Of course, no specifics or names of individuals are included. Even if you include the names of people who agree, why are you speaking for them? To make a point? To coerce and pressure? Probably. Is that really the kind of relationship you want, something that is based on coercion?
Not only is the phrase coercive, but it’s also cowardly, hiding behind other anonymous people, who may or may not actually agree with you, and it places the other person in a very difficult situation.
The use of the term “everyone” is also problematic because it’s absolute. Is it true? Does EVERYONE believe one way or another? Not usually. By using this phrase you lose credibility in the eyes of the other person.
And, to boot, these kinds of phrases ended up sidetracking from whatever the issue might be, to whether everyone REALLY agrees. Do you want to discuss whether everybody agrees with you, or whether a person you care about drinks too much and needs help? If it’s the latter, phrase things properly.
Make It Better:
Stick to the issue. Don’t bring unidentified other people into the discussion.
· John, I’m concerned about your drinking. Have you considered talking to Tom about it, since he’s been quite open about his own drinking.
· Mary, I was wondering whether your friends might have commented on being late for meetings.
· Fred, have you considered talking this over with some of your friends to get some other perspectives.
· I know this is how I see it, but maybe it’s worth talking to some other people you trust.