Get Off Your “Sorry, But...”

Okay, I’m sorry about the title, but... there’s something terribly wrong with any communication that begins with, “I’m sorry, but…”. We’ve all said it before, and for some of us, so often that we don’t even hear ourselves anymore. Yet this seemingly innocuous phrase only serves to damage relationships and more deeply entrench any conflict we’re attempting to resolve. “Sorry, but…”, along with its kissing cousin, “yeah, but…”, offer only shorthand concessions without any substance. Both are far more dismissive than they are disarming. They contain nothing to convey specifically what we feel sorry about, or agree with. Instead, the follow-on “but” dominates the message, minimizing or completel

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