Products, Style & Advice for the Modern Healthcare Professional
10 Things You Should Never Say to Coworkers
10 Things You Should Never Say to Coworkers
There are certain things that should never be said in the
workplace. Sure, a statement may sound acceptable to you, and you may have
heard coworkers say the exact same thing, but it can still be a recipe for disaster.
And once those taboo words are out in the open, there’s no taking them back.
Whether they make others uncomfortable or they put your work
motives in question, the following 10 phrases are a big no-no in the workplace.
1. “That’s not my
problem” or “That’s not my job” – Nothing good can come out of saying
this. In fact, saying these words can
make you look stubborn, unmotivated or even lazy. In today’s society, going
above and beyond shows initiative and can help you when promotion time comes around.
Before you refuse to do something, consider your reasons why. Do you simply not
have the time? Is someone else better qualified for the task? If this is the
case, find a better way of phrasing this statement.
2. "You're HOW
old?" – Saying this to an older coworker could go badly. You may think
you’re complimenting their youthful appearance, but no one wants to be reminded
that they’re getting up there in age. It can create awkward tension and hurt
their feelings. So overall, it’s not a good idea.
3. “It’s not fair.” –
This may be true, but saying it won’t help matters any. Plus, it makes you look
unprofessional and can come off as whiny. Instead of saying this, think of
reasons why the situation is unfair and create a convincing argument. You’ll be
taken more seriously as a result.
4. "Don't tell
so-and-so, but..." – Sometimes, a secret is just too juicy to keep to
yourself, but telling it can have devastating consequences. Never share
something in private at work that you wouldn’t want everyone to know. Word
tends to get around, and something you said can come back to haunt you. Also, if
someone at work confides in you, be considerate of their privacy and keep it to
5. “I’m here to work,
I’m not here to make friends” – There’s nothing wrong with keeping your
personal and professional lives separate, but that doesn’t mean you should be
openly rude to your coworkers or go out of your way to ignore them. It may seem
easier to bury your head in work, but in the long run, it will hurt you. Your
coworkers are more likely to lend a hand when you’ve treated them kindly in the
past. Make an effort to ask how they’re doing or, if you’d like, even go out in
a group for happy hour or lunch.
6. “This may sound
stupid, but…” – When you start a suggestion with this discounting phrase, it
decreases the impact of the following statement. If you want people to take you
seriously, you should sound confident and authoritative. Stand behind your
ideas and believe in their value and others will follow suit.
7. “I don’t have time.”
– You may be swamped with work, but no one wants to hear that you don’t
have time for them. Instead of saying you’re too busy or flat out saying no,
ask them if you can meet at a later time. If your morning is filled with meetings,
ask if they can talk after lunch when you have some free time. Wear a watch at
all times as a constant reminder of what time it is so you don’t miss the
8. “It’s not my
fault.” - It’s all too easy to
assign blame, but it never helps the situation. If anything, it makes it worse.
Blaming others can destroy work relationships and hurt your career. Instead of pointing
fingers, work on fixing the problem. Once things have calmed down, figure out
ways to prevent it from happening again.
9. “It’s all my
fault.” – This statement may seem innocent enough, but we advise against
using it too often. If you’re taking the fall for every mishap, you may appear
incompetent. Only take responsibility for the tasks that fall within your job
requirements. If you feel the need to apologize for something, apologize for the
situation that someone is in. Offer your assistance and help resolve the
problem instead of taking the blame.
10. “Just calm down”
or “Relax” – If coworkers come to you with an issue, the worst possible
thing you can say is, “Just calm down” or “Relax.” This response tends to have
the exact opposite effect. Even worse, it implies that the person is
overreacting and can come off as judgmental. Instead of giving into the urge to
say this, let them vent and show an interest in their problems. If possible,
take the conversation to a private place to avoid eavesdroppers. Your coworker
will appreciate that you listened and will feel better after letting off some
Avoid these 10 phrases in future workplace conversations and
always remember to think before you speak. Before you say something at your
office or facility, consider how you would feel if someone said those exact
words to you. If you’re unsure or if you would find it offensive, then don’t
say it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Did you say something to a coworker that you shouldn’t have?
Give them a thoughtful
gift as an apology. It will make all the difference!