8 phrases to avoid at work—or at the Thanksgiving table

Want to vex the boss, annoy the in-laws, get the stuffing beaten out of you? Try these tired phrases. Everyone else, avoid them like last week’s mashed potatoes.

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If you ever feel that way after an ill-considered comment—whether in the conference room or at the Thanksgiving table—you’re not alone.

It’s a problem of both business life and shoveling down watery mashed potatoes at the in-laws’ house. We all can slip into over-relying on jargon, clichés and vapid phrases.

Well, it’s time to quit them—cold turkey.

A slew of internet articles reveals that social unease about language is widespread. In the latest, “9 words and phrases that make you look less smart, less competent, and less accomplished than you really are,” a writer from Business Insider generously assumes that we’re brighter than we sound.

Here are a few tips before you irk bosses and dinner companions alike.

Don’t say:

1. “I can’t.” Instead, say “I don’t.”

Think about it. If you say, “I can’t,” to the colleague trying to fob work on you, you may unintentionally project inability or incompetence. “I don’t” conveys a conscious choice.

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