Word-Of-the-Week #993: Considerate

August 17, 2023 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #993: Considerate 

Considerateshowing regard for the needs or feelings of others.

Do you know how you tell when someone is being genuinely nice?

This week features the 2nd half of “If someone uses these 7 phrases, they’re only pretending to be polite,” by Tina Fey at HackSpirit.

To Recap:

1) “No offense, but…”

2) “I’m sorry you feel that way”

3) “Do you need any help?”

4) “Bless your heart”

5) “It’s not for everyone”

This phrase can be tricky. On the surface, it seems respectful, understanding, even validating. It acknowledges that everyone is unique and different things suit different people.

However, in a certain context or tone, it can also be a way to express criticism or disapproval.

Someone saying, “It’s not for everyone” could really mean, “I don’t like this, and I’m subtly suggesting that you, or your work, doesn’t meet a certain standard.”

You can’t really challenge it because technically, it’s a fair statement. But the underlying message can feel dismissive or belittling, turning it into a polite put-down.

Not so long ago, I created a small art exhibition at our local community center. An acquaintance, after spending a considerable amount of time observing my work, turned to me and said, “Well, it’s not for everyone.”

I was a bit taken aback. The phrase was innocent enough, but the context and their tone suggested it was a thinly veiled critique.

They weren’t saying my art was unique or different – they were saying it didn’t appeal to them, or maybe most people.

When being truly polite, it’s important to communicate criticisms constructively and directly — or say nothing at all.

6) “You’ll do better next time”

Here’s something you may hear people say when you feel down because you didn’t do well at something.

At my previous job, I was very hard on myself especially when I was new. I would analyze every presentation or project I did and find dozens of mistakes in them.

There were two colleagues in particular I shared my worries with. And I noticed what a huge difference there was in their reaction.

One of them took the time to talk to me about what exactly I felt bad about, and how I could try to improve it.

And the other one just listened, nodded, and made a comment like “You’ll do better next time.”

Sure, it was polite on the surface, and maybe this colleague truly meant well. But, I had the impression like they were just trying to end the conversation and didn’t really care whether I did better or not.

Because there was no effort behind her words. When a person really wants to be nice, they’ll show it to you through action and not just nice-sounding phrases.

7) “That sounds interesting”

I have to admit something: I’ve used this phrase hundreds of times. In fact, I dare say I still do.

And to be honest? I try my best to always be a kind person, but the truth is that sometimes I do use this phrase just because it sounds polite.

I don’t have energy to think of something more thoughtful or specific to say, so I just fall back on phrases like this that work for practically any situation.

And sometimes I could tell it in the person’s face. They were expecting a comment with more substance, or maybe even just a more enthusiastic tone, and I disappointed them.

Since then I’ve made sure to avoid this phrase, and instead take the time to understand what the person is saying more deeply. As a result, I can always find something more meaningful to say in response.

How you can tell when someone’s truly kind and polite

Now you know 7 phrases that people use when they’re only pretending to be polite.

So now you might wonder, how can you tell when someone is genuinely nice?

It’s pretty simple. It’s not just about saying the “right” things — it’s about true consideration and respect for others.

This doesn’t depend on any specific way you word something, but through the way you approach the conversation, your ability to listen and empathize, and the care you put into the interaction.

It’s important to listen carefully and critically to what people say and how they say it. Because words can seem harmless on the surface, the real intention often lies beneath.

Let’s strive for a world where politeness isn’t a mask to hide behind, but a genuine display of empathy, kindness, and understanding.

This week is all about being considerate. How often do you show regard for the needs and feelings of others? Do you feel your thoughts/feedback are respected at work? Are you able to communicate any criticisms constructively and directly?

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.