One of the traps that we often fall into when we go on those rants is using words that are useless and which may even enflame the conflict.
That’s what amplifier words do. Amplifiers are used in music and on stage to enlarge or magnify someone’s voice; they are known as microphones.
In conversation, we use amplifier words to enlarge or magnify what we are trying to say.
Two of the most common amplifiers we use are ALWAYS and NEVER. Have you ever heard yourself saying….
“You always leave a mess!”
“You never listen to me when I’m talking!”
If you feel that your child is not listening to you, then you may think that using those amplifier words will get the message across. But instead of clarifying your message, those two words–always and never–crush any credibility you may have built in the conversation.
In the book, The 4:8 Principle, author Tommy John says this about using amplifiers in our arguments: Virtually nothing in life falls in that excessive category. Aside from being distortions, these statements cause everyone involved to plummet below the joy zone.
Always and never don’t work because they always create defensiveness and never solve the problem. You may use those two words in an attempt to get your point across, but they instead result in turning the conversation negative. When that happens, issues are harder to resolve.
When you’re upset and find yourself resorting to always and never, stop and think about what you are really trying to say. And encourage the person you are conflicting with to do the same.
Always and never conversations only make problems worse and keep the other person from understanding what you are really trying to say.
Janis Meredith, coach’s wife for 28 years and sports mom for 21, has been spreading the message of positive sports parenting for four years through her blog, podcast, and videos. You can find her at JBM Thinks Sportsparenting.