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Chapter 25. Getting Less Difficult—The W... > What's Their Problem? - Pg. 267

Getting Less Difficult--The Words, Ma'am, Just the Words 267 This Won't Work! Beware the accidental brush-off. Saying "whatever" to someone is a brush-off. So is not paying attention to the person, reading the newspaper while someone is talking. Be particularly alert if you are distracted. That's when accidental brush-offs are most likely to occur. Communicating Mistrust Probably for reasons linked to the "less-than" thing earlier, people have a great deal of difficulty with language that suggests they are untrustworthy or unreliable. This one is interesting because even when people are clearly unreliable in the workplace, pointing that out to them is likely to start a shooting war if you use the wrong kind of language. Imagine you work with Sam. Sam isn't terribly good at time management or keeping his com- mitments. Let's assume you're working on a project together. If he is late with his part, you won't be able to do your part, and you'll catch heat from the higher-ups. So you approach Sam, in good faith, hoping to remind him of the importance of getting the work