You should…

16 Dec

I have been trying to ensure that I do not use “you should” when speaking.  I think it is harmful to the person it is used on.  If I use it please call me on it.

“You should socialize more”

“You should get over our worrying about everything”

“You should get into this career”

“You should move into a different neighborhood”

“You should just get over it”

“You should look for the positive”

The above statements are just examples…

When I hear any statement that begins with “you should” then whatever the statement is, means that the person receiving that statement is doing it wrong, and must change to be acceptable to the one making the statement.  Nothing in the statement includes discussion, rather it is a directive of what that person wants another to do, and the one receiving it then feels the need to justify their reason, choice, etc..

If someone opens a conversation about something replacing “you should” with “have you thought about” or “have you considered” and then offers suggestions of alternatives or things might help, then there is no condemnation of what is happening now, or what choices were made before.  Rather it is a question about whether or not you are happy with the way it is, and if not, have you thought about a different way.

To me the “you should” statements lowers self-esteem, and is a negative that is less than helpful, and at worst harmful.

We all have enough negatives in our life that are beyond our control, that we do not need a negative self-esteem added to the list.  There are many things we could all change about ourselves and don’t change, simply because we like who we are. 

Thanks for letting me vent and please if I say “you should” tell me to stop. 

How do you feel when someone says “you should” do X?  Am I being oversensitive?


Posted by on December 16, 2011 in Uncategorized


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4 responses to “You should…

  1. shadowtheadoptee

    December 16, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    It’s not you. In the context you speak of, yeah, I get defensive too. Is what they are really saying, “You should be more like me.”? In that case, no thanks, I am, perfectly, happy just being me.


  2. The adopted ones

    December 16, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Perhaps that is what get me – I don’t want to be like you thanks very much (not you Shadow)…


  3. momsomniac

    December 16, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    I agree.


  4. Amanda

    December 17, 2011 at 6:41 am

    You’re exactly right. When being trained to counsel clients, we are told to value self-determination. Unless someone is really making a horrible decision and they really need your direct opinion, we are supposed to let someone come to a conclusion on their own, rather than tell them what they should or shouldn’t do. This is because, as you said, “you should” (much like the question “why?”) sounds like a critique or accusation, and because if someone doesn’t arrive to an answer on their own, they’ll be less dedicated to making a change that might be needed in their life.

    I had someone throw a “you should” line at me regarding parenting my kids the other day and I about wanted to bite their head off lol.



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