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The Most Important Word You Should Never Say Again | Jennifer Magley

The word sure, without question, is the weakest response in the history of the English language.

Picture it. Flowers everywhere. Everyone stands. 

The bride comes down the isle towards the groom waiting hand over hand before her.

Such a radiant moment of pure love and commitment.

When asked, “Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded on and on,” she takes a deep breath and answers:

Sure.

What just happened? I do was an option or even Yes is acceptable but SureThe word sure is, without question, the weakest response in the history of the English language.

Overused and overexposed it is laced within every indifferent response. Meet for coffee next week? Sure. Love, can you take out the trash? Sure. Want to grab dinner sometime? Sure.

The tepidity of this word can not be understated. It is a weapon of passive aggressive indifference. What’s worse is that this response is not even a conscious one. The majority of people use this word on the regular without a second thought. While this may seem like a personal pet peeve, I am not alone in my perception of sure.

Urban Dictionary, the authority of slang young speak, defines sure as, “The WORST response to a “Yes” or “No” question. The response you give when you don’t 100% want to say “yes” but also don’t want to say “no.” It goes on to state that, “it is not an acceptable response to a yes or no question.” 

Here’s the secret about sure, it still is interpreted as a yes albeit a lackadaisical yes. As a coach of athletes, executives, and business owners this single word is one of my least favorites to hear. Despite it being a reluctant or even hesitant yes it is helpful in that it reveals how they really feel about something. It is a take it or leave it insight.

If you still are not onboard let’s experiment with responding with sure to a couple of life changing questions:

In case of emergency landing are you willing to lift the exit door? Sure

-You will be asked to leave your row. A verbal yes response is required before takeoff.

Do you think this operation will fix my heart doctor? Sure

-A verbal yes is desirable before someone slices you open.

Can you see us spending our lives together? Sure

-In this moment sure seems more of a why not than an actual verbal yes.

While sure is a word that should be put to pasture, indubitably there are times when sure is helpful or even desirable. Alas if you choose to continue using this word, there are only three instances that it makes sense:

  1. When you want to annoy someone.
  2. When you do not want to commit or completely agree with another person. 
  3. When you want to softly agree with someone, a way of saying I see you.

Someone is in tears, “I mean it just hurts so bad…can you see where I am coming from?” Sure

-Sure is better than yes in this scenario as we can only agree but can not feel what they are feeling.

“And that’s when I just quit. Do you get it?” Sure?

-This one word question indicates that it is still not clear and you’d like more information. All in one word.

Other than these three instances, sure is the one word we should never use again. Yes and No are great mechanisms and binary choices of response. Sure is the verbal equivalent of someday or maybe. If you are looking to make a change in your life consider making this micro-shift and watch what happens when your yes is yes and your no is no.

Want to see if coaching is right for you? Email me at [email protected] to schedule a 15 minute call.

Jennifer Magley is a former professional athlete, speaker, author, and high performance coach. Article originally appeared on www.magleyjennifer.com/blog More information can be found at www.magleyjennifer.com and videos on YouTube.

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