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Tuesday, April 14th, 2009
This is a pet peeve of mine, but please don’t say, “Not a problem.” And this is not just me being cranky. It’s wrong. Okay, it’s not always wrong. There are times when not a problem makes sense. When might that be? Well, when perhaps it was a problem—when the request might have been an imposition. Say I ask you to do me a favor, for example. Me: “I know you’re busy, but could you possibly help me out with this?” You: “Sure thing. Not a problem.” See? There it makes sense. My request might have been an imposition, but you’re saying it’s not. Good.
When does it not make sense? Pretty much anytime other than that. For instance, I’m trying to order a pizza. They put me on hold. It’s taking forever. My life is passing before my eyes, it’s taking so long. Finally, they come back on: “Can I help you?”
“I’d like to order a pizza for delivery.”
“Not a problem.”
Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
Man, communicating can be tricky. You know what you want to say – and you think you have it right – but the other person hears it completely differently. It’s almost like you’re speaking in a foreign language but your translator is in a bad mood – and drunk.
In any case, that’s the sort of stuff we’ll be talking about in these pages: How can we close the gaps between what we mean to say and what people hear?