I’m not being racist, but …
I think you’re wonderful, but you can occasionally be needy.
I’m grateful for all that you’re doing, but I’m wondering if you could do this part again?
You don’t hear wonderful; you hear needy. You don’t think I’m grateful at all. You think that I think your work isn’t good enough.
It doesn’t matter what positive intent comes before the word “but” because your brain has automatically cancelled it out.
Admittedly, it’s pretty hard to come back from a statement that starts with “I’m not being racist, but.” It works as an excellent hook. Yet the chances are high that anything I say next will offend someone before I ever get a chance to explain, so let’s avoid that one, eh?!
If I say, “I think you’re wonderful, and yet I occasionally find you can be needy,” or “I’m grateful for all that you’re doing, and I’m wondering if you could please do this part again?” You’re going to naturally be more open-minded about each part of that statement.
“But” slams your mind closed.
“And” keeps your mind open.
Catch yourself today: Before saying “but,” replace it with “and”; notice the difference in the response.
Consider sharing your experience with me.