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Another Common Question: Why Are 'However' and 'Unfortunately' on the Do-Not-Say List?

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

Another frequent question I receive is why the words "however" and "unfortunately" are on my "Do-Not-Say" list.

To review, the "Do-Not-Say" list is a list of negative words that when spoken, make people disengage. They enter panic mode because they're afraid their needs aren't going to be met. Hearing these words makes listeners tense up and give them a punch-in-the-gut feeling.

The main words on the "Do-Not-Say" list are:

No, Not, Can't, Won't, However, and Unfortunately.

So, What's Another Way to Say 'However'?

Many people believe "however" and "unfortunately" are sympathetic words, and in certain situations, they can be.

Here's the problem– these words almost always precede bad news. People know this, and when they hear “however” or “unfortunately,” they tense up.

Another way to think about these words is that they tend to negate whatever comes before them.

Your soccer skills are very good. Unfortunately, you're not a team player.

That’s an awesome itinerary. However, I want to see the Roman Colosseum.

One thing you can consider is replacing "however" and "unfortunately" with "and."

I'm a fan of this when it applies.

Your soccer skills are very good, and I'd like you to be more of a team player.

I agree with a lot of what you're planning, and I wonder if we could include time to see the Roman Colosseum.

For more tips on what to replace "however" and "unfortunately" with, check out my blog posts here and here.

Final Thoughts

I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Words are powerful! Little changes in word selection can literally alter the course of relationships.

For the next few days, I want you to become aware of the all the times you use the words "however" and "unfortunately" and for what purpose. Also, pay attention to how people respond to hearing these words.

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