The Problem with Saying “It’s No Big Deal” - Deepstash
The Problem with Saying “It’s No Big Deal”

The Problem with Saying “It’s No Big Deal”

Curated from: hbr.org

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"It's no big deal"

"It's no big deal"

When someone bothers or offends you, it’s natural to say, it’s no big deal and assumes the other person had positive intent. But, often, that phrase is used to avoid conflict and is a sign that you should take action.

Though speaking up can be difficult, it’s the only way the issue will really get resolved. The best course of action is to schedule a time to talk to the offending party or pull them aside in private. Let time pass, so you’re not emotionally charged. And treat it as an opportunity to gain more information.

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The problem

When you don’t address something early on, there’s a good chance you’ll harbor negative emotional energy and become so upset that you eventually have a hard time being in the same room with person who “wronged” you, much less trusting them or feeling good about them.

Worse, you may snap, and when you do, there’s a high likelihood you’ll say something that only makes the situation worse.

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Treat “it’s no big deal” as a cue to take action

The problem may very well not be a big deal; if that’s the case, a calm conversation will take care of it. Similarly, if the person wasn’t being nefarious, simply naming the behavior that’s troubling you in respectful terms should allow the person to address it without a big blow up.

Well-intentioned people who’ve made small mistakes are generally capable of listening without reacting negatively.

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Act, but don’t ambush

When you let things build up, you’re more likely to act in an uncontrolled fashion at an inopportune time.

So, when your colleague says something mildly upsetting in a meeting, schedule some time to talk about it or discreetly approach them about it after some time has passed. That way you give yourself a chance to detach from your initial emotional response and to carefully think about what you want to say and how you’ll say it.

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True inquiry

True inquiry is a respectful way of testing whether something actually is a big deal and is entirely consistent with the notion of assuming positive intent. For example, try saying “Can you help me understand why you’re doing that?” or “Could you share your data or reasoning on this?”

After all, if positive intent is warranted, a person’s response to genuine questions should only confirm that. If it doesn’t, then you know that continuing to assume positive intent is both a mistake and an excuse for your inaction.

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Emotional responses

Not everything that triggers an emotional response requires a response. But if something is really no big deal, then you probably wouldn’t use this rationalization in the first place; you’d simply address it or ignore it.

So, learn to recognize this when it happens, and address things before they really become a bigger deal.

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IDEAS CURATED BY

holdenp

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