Would you like to make a better first impression and cultivate long-lasting positive feelings? Be mindful of what you say as much as what you do.
First impressions can form lasting impressions. Many people will advise you to be well-educated, dress better, and clean up your online presence (many people will check you out online before meeting in person).
But, how far will that get you? Those are good things, and daily practice is even better. What you say and repeat over time will make a stronger impression than the things you do.
Here are 20 words to help you notice your everyday vocabulary. Using them often will guide you towards clearer connections with those around you.
Words #1 and #2: “Thank you.”
When someone compliments you, just say “thank you.” When someone is touched by something you did or said, and they express their appreciation, just say “thank you.” Resist what some people do out of habit – “Oh, it was nothing!” That response belittles yourself, the gift, and the recipient. Also, living in gratitude is simply a better way to live.
Many others go through a lot of effort to help us. We may never know all of the challenges they overcame to get to where they could help us. These two words of thanks are a simple, small, and powerful way to acknowledge their gift.
We may never know all of the people (and animals and plants) that contributed to things we can be grateful for, such as our meals. It’s why in many cultures and traditions, thanks are given before a meal. There might be many words, or simply these first two: “Thank you.”
Words #3 and 4: “You’re welcome.”
Recently, many people stopped saying, “You’re welcome,” and instead say, “Sure,” or, “No problem.”
These other phrases changes the message. “You’re welcome” acknowledges that you’ve done something worthy of thanks, while “no problem” suggests that there could have been a problem. Saying the former phrase conveys that you think it was a worthwhile favor. That’s an impressive message to send.
It also gives a way to slow down and acknowledge the gift of thanks others are offering us.
By the way, if you travel or encounter people who speak other languages, these first four words are powerful in other languages and cultures, too.
Words #5 to 8: “How can I help?”
Nobody accomplishes anything alone. We’re all eventually grateful to those who help us achieve great or small things. We can be particularly grateful to those who help us by sensing and anticipating our needs.
Words #9 to 12: “Here’s what’s I know.”
Some people try to keep control of others by holding back information. Demonstrating a willingness to help others by sharing information deepens our connections and shows trust.
Words #13 to 15: “I love you.”
Life is too short. Things happen suddenly. We don’t know when others in our life will be with us again, if ever. It’s not for us to be anxious about the day when we or others will pass. It will happen soon enough. With these words, our last words with someone will be loving speech. Let’s have each parting be one where we express the love we feel, and not at some future “perfect” moment which may never happen.
Words #16 to 20: “I am here for you.”
We humans are deeply connected with each other, even though there are many times when we don’t feel it. Offering our presence and heart to others with the simple phrase “I am here for you” shows that truth. It helps build trust, and shows that we’re setting aside our judgments in order to preserve that connection.