People who can’t stop using this boring phrase have very low emotional intelligence


The four short words on the screen hurt my eyes: “Look, I understand. “

Is there a more annoying phrase on the planet? Yet some people use it constantly, not realizing that it is a clear sign of very low emotional intelligence.

Of all things, it was an argument for trying to get me to subscribe to an email newsletter that made me think of that phrase. (I write a daily email newsletter myself, so I’m quick to pay attention to how others market their newsletters.)

I’m going to paraphrase to avoid embarrassing this person, but the pitch has started, basically: “Look, I got it. Your email inbox is already full. “

No, I thought to myself, you don’t “You understand. “It’s not that my inbox is full, it’s that I don’t think your newsletter is particularly interesting.

But then, struck by my annoyance, I searched my inbox and the internet for the phrase. It was like when you are thinking about buying a new car and suddenly you notice dozens or hundreds of these cars on the road.

Once I saw paid attention to, “Look, I get it,” I couldn’t help but see it.

Again, paraphrased, but just from my own inbox:

  • Listen, I get it. You want to start with NFTs, but you don’t know where to start.
  • Listen, I get it. You want bigger returns, but you’re afraid of risk.
  • Listen, I get it. You probably think climate change is the greatest challenge of our time.
  • Listen, I get it. America puts entrepreneurs on a pedestal and doesn’t care about the ordinary worker.
  • Listen, I get it. You want the best for your children. But you don’t always know what is right.

Again and again, each example becoming more squeaky and less effective than the last.

Why? Let’s break it down, one word at a time, to show why “look, I get it” might just be the biggest verbal indication of low emotional intelligence out there.

Word # 1: “Look”.

We start with a rough interjection. It doesn’t matter what precedes that word, either it stops the conversation or it signals: listen, you’re not going to be allowed to speak. Instead, someone else will speak for you, putting their interpretation on what you might have said.

Word # 2: “I. “

I use the word “I” all the time. You too. Based on my tally, I’ve got up to about 17 instances in this article so far. However, emotionally intelligent people are careful about how their words sound to others. The word “I” in that four word sentence means you are doing the opposite.

Word # 3: “Get. “

“Get” is used as a substitute for “understand” here, but think about the connotations: a relaxed, abbreviated, amorphous type of understanding. It’s the shortest syllable you can use to suggest this thought, and it only means understanding (maybe), not empathy, worry, or respect.

Word # 4: “It. “

“That” does a lot of work in that sentence; it’s a pronoun that doesn’t even have a reference yet. I guess we’ll find out: “that” could mean “your objections”, or “your concerns”, or “why you don’t want to buy my product”. But someone who can’t express your feelings is probably less likely to understand them.

What happens after …

As bad as “Look, I get it”, however, what comes next reaches the heights of absurdity and sheer lack of emotional intelligence.

Because, in almost all cases, “Look, I get it” is a background for a straw man. He introduces a weak argument, formulated by someone who wants to overcome it, in a way that makes him much easier to overcome.

But – and this is important – it means that the entire premise of “Look, I get it”, is almost always inherently wrong. Worse still for our needs, it’s terribly inefficient:

“Look, I understand. Now let me argue against a tangential, deficient and weak objection that would be much easier for me to overcome than your real objection (which I might not even understand).

It may help the person saying it feel better for a fleeting moment, but it is unlikely to help them reach their goals.

It’s not just about being nice

Life is full of minor annoyances and verbal tics. Few of them deserve a full review. But when it comes to “Look, I got it”, I think there are two reasons to pay attention:

  • First, if you find yourself using it, it’s a wake-up call that you’re making a weaker argument than you think. It also means that you are sending the signal that you are not confident in what you have to say, since you are confronting him with a straw man.
  • Second, when you see and hear other people using it, it’s a red flag that they either have low emotional intelligence or don’t have a stronger strategy. Either way, it tells you that there might be opportunities for you to take advantage of their weaknesses in any subsequent negotiation.

By the way, what’s the simple alternative to “look, got it?” Instead of pretending you ‘get it’, ask smart questions:

  • “Can you help me understand what this is like to you?” ”
  • “Would it be too much to ask what is preventing you from taking advantage of this offer?
  • Or maybe even better, more open: “Tell me what you think.”

As far as I’m concerned, that’s why we study emotional intelligence. This is why even people who wonder if emotional intelligence really exists as a measurable entity can benefit from learning some of the techniques used to become stronger.

And, as I write in my free ebook, 9 intelligent habits of people with very high emotional intelligence, emotional intelligence isn’t just about developing empathy or being nice to people.

These can be good side effects, but the primary focus is something much more focused: harnessing emotions – your own and those of others – to improve your chances of achieving your goals, both in the past. business and in life.

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