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Why You Shouldn’t Start a Sentence with Any of These 10 Phrases

Don't undermine your message, or your relationships, with these instant conversation-killers

By | Catherine Holecko |

“To be honest …”

Also watch out for: “To tell you the truth,” “Honestly,” and “Can I be honest?”

TBH is a red flag for your listeners because it makes them wonder: Are you just now starting to tell the truth? Was everything you previously stated a big old lie? “When we add a preface, or we feel we need to add something after we’ve made a statement, it could appear as not credible,” says Julie Blais Comeau, the chief etiquette officer at “Take ownership of what you’re saying. Just state it, instead of adding an introduction or an afterthought.” Check out the origin of these commonly used phrases.

“No offense …”

Also known as: “Not to be mean, but” or even “This comes from a place of love…”

The minute the person you’re talking to hears these words, he’s going to brace for an insult. “No offense” pretty much equals “here comes an offensive comment.” If you do need to deliver a criticism or some feedback that might be hard to hear: First, do it in private. Then, frame it with an “I” statement, says Jephtha Tausig, PhD, a clinical psychologist in New York City. “Try something like, ‘I’m concerned about this because … ‘ and then explain why,” she says. Another gentle approach: “Would you be open to some feedback?” Make sure you’re aware of these compliments that are actually pretty insulting.

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