Only 199 Words: Eliminate “Yeah, buts”

Super succinct! Dive in …

Yeah-but-itis is a negative habit that looks and sounds like this:

A CEO apologizes for layoffs yet people question, “Yeah, but what’re you doing for those employees now?”

A husband is counseled to look hard at himself and thinks, “Yeah, but how will she change?”

A manager is taught to accept 100% accountability for his/her team’s results yet retorts, “Yeah, but some aren’t doing their jobs.”

A middle-schooler gets into a fight at school and the parent poses, “Yeah, but what did the other kid do?”

An executive announces, “This substantial change in strategy is needed to stay competitive in the marketplace” while people mutter, “Yeah, but why didn’t you see this coming?”

A friend complains to a friend she shows little interest in her life and hears back, “Yeah, but you never ask about mine.”

The costs of “Yeah-but-itis”: 

  • Communication is thwarted
  • Understanding is diminished
  • Personal reflection is halted
  • Emotional growth is hindered
  • Relationships are damaged
  • Happiness is lessened
  • Learning is impeded
  • Change is blocked

Bottomline, “yeah butting” is immature and cynical behavior accomplishing nothing positive. I can do better.

I suspect someone will “yeah but” this blog—I hope it’s not you! 😉

Comments welcome!


6 Responses

  1. When I was in the sixth grade my teacher, Mr. Beal, did not tolerate any student using Yeah But in his class! He always asked what kind of animal is a yeahbut? My guess is that most of us remembered that lesson and avoided using Yeah Buts for fear of being called out long after moving into middle and high school.

  2. Enjoyed the article.

    A former boss used the phrase “Yeah-buts and What-abouts” to describe typical responses to suggestions, ideas, or recommendations.

    I can still hear him take a deep breath and then say, “Sounds like a lot of yeah-buts and what-abouts to me.” And then we’d all lean back into the problem with a renewed sense of ownership and responsibility.

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