Communication Breakdown: the Destructive Yesbut

Yesbuts are communication wreckers. Here is a classic example of a series of yesbuts in conversation.

  • Mom: Do you know how much I worry when you are out past midnight.
  • Son: Yes, but you don’t have to worry. I’m not doing anything.
  • Mom: Do you understand why I want you home by midnight?
  • Son: Yes, but all my friends are out. I’d miss everything.

Yesbuts are a way of seeming to participate in a conversation. A yesbut is a sneaky way to reject the premise of another person’s statement, a way to reject what another is saying without seeming to do so. Watch out for them in your own communication. They are quite common arguments within families and relationships.


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