Seth Godin has another brilliant blog post, “Self-destructive instructions,” in which he identifies several such as librarians yelling at kids to be quiet.
Here’s my own list of what I call gutless interactions:
“I mean it” when you don’t.
“That’s it” when it isn’t.
“Just kidding” when you aren’t (probably a sign of latent hostility)
“I’d give anything” when in fact you wouldn’t or it would already have happened
“If only” awaits divine intervention rather than (invoking Godin’s phrase) shipping it
“Got a minute?” for what usually takes forever
“To make a long story short” but, in fact, making it much longer and even more boring
“I hate to tell you” when in fact it will be a pleasure
“This can’t wait” but of course it can and is probably not worth doing now…or perhaps ever
“They say” to add authority to what you think but are afraid to acknowledge as your own opinion
Do you have any to share?