Words mean everything, whether it's the way you handle an argument with a friend or how you talk about yourself. But in the midst of an important conversation, there's one word that you may not realize is better left unspoken. Even though this simple three-letter word may be common in your daily life, it can actually be hindering both you and your relationships, making people not trust you and depleting your confidence in yourself on top of it. According to experts, the one word you need to avoid saying or thinking is "try." To find out why this word needs to be cut from your vocabulary, keep reading. And for more words to stay away from, check out The One Word That's Secretly Killing Your Relationship, Experts Say.
When you say things like "I'll try"—whether it's to a boss, family member, or significant other—they may think that you're not deeply committed. "If someone is going to 'try' a new way of communicating, there is room for failure, and it unconsciously indicates a lack of commitment," explains Carrie C. Mead, LCPC.
The word "try" can also have a huge impact on how much you trust yourself and your ability to achieve your own goals, according to Randi Levin, a transitional life strategist. "Used in a conversation with yourself, 'trying' depletes confidence and erodes initiative and energy," she says. "It is as if you're not fully convinced you will succeed."
Christie Kederian, LMFT, says this three-letter word may have another underlying meaning. "As they say, 'the devil is in the details' and when we say we're 'trying,' it may mean that we aren't being specific. Or we may be emotionally or psychologically blocked on making progress toward action or accomplishment of our goals," Kederian says. "Additionally, at times it can be a plea to be relieved of responsibility, i.e. 'I tried and it didn't work.'"
But "try" isn't the only common word that's bad for you and all of your relationships. For more everyday words to avoid, read on, and for some other dangerous phrases, check out This Is the Worst Way You're Thanking Your Partner, Study Says.
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When you use the word "maybe" with someone, you're also secretly indicating a lack of commitment. By saying you'll "maybe do this," a part of you may feel like you're not good enough to do it or perhaps you just don't want to, but aren't being honest about that. "The word 'maybe' screams of indecisiveness and fear," Levin says. "Packed behind any 'maybe' is an excuse not to do something that you care about." And for more everyday words to ditch, check out This Is the Worst Thing You Could Say to an Ex.
While you may not realize it, the word "if" can be a barrier between you and an opportunity you really want. "When seeking a desired outcome, it's tempting to say 'if,'" says Omiete Charles-Davies, MBBS, founder of One Doctor. "The problem with that is that it sets an alternative in your mind."
Charles-Davies notes that instead of using "if," you can replace it with the word "when." For example, when talking about a promotion that you want, you should say "when I get the job" as opposed to "if I get the job." And for the one word that everyone is tired of hearing, check out The Most Annoying Word That You Keep Using.
Tracy Nathanson, LCSW, founder of Pace of Mind Therapy, points out that there's a great deal of pressure added to you and anyone you're talking to when you say "I must" or "you must." "This word represents automatic thoughts and thinking that we do not question or challenge," Nathanson says. And for more useful tips sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Much like "you must," saying "you have to" to someone is never a good idea, according to Karen Koenig, LCSW. When you say someone has to do something, they may feel like you're not giving them the freedom to trust you or their own instincts. "It's better to help the other person discover why they want/wish to do whatever it is," Koenig says. "These internal motivators come from the heart and are more likely to produce the desired effect." And for more phrases to ditch, check out The Worst Thing You're Saying to Your Partner Without Realizing It.