How do excuses damage relationships

Excuses: All lazy excuses!

We have all used you and tried to get out of the affair with your help: Excuses, refusals, excuses. Such excuses are a rejection of guilt, should explain behavior, justify mistakes and thus ultimately delegate responsibility - usually away from us. But they can also be a form of self-deception - a particularly dangerous one: Quite a few people use such excuses to prevent themselves from realizing their dreams and goals ...

Excuses are doubly harmful

Whether for being late, for exceeding speed and an impending fine, for failure or even an affair - about white lies, apologies, sayings and lazy excuses people are hardly embarrassed. "I don't feel like it", "I don't care enough", "I'm too lazy to do that", "I made a mistake" - the confessions would often be more honest, but also more uncomfortable. Because they either have unpleasant consequences or scratch at the pretty self-image.

Reasons are often just excuses. We use you so that we do not have to see our shortcomings. But if we stop justifying ourselves, we have a chance to gain a realistic self-image - and to change our behavior.

Bernard Roth, Stanford professor

Or as it is a familiar one Bon mot sums it up so nicely:

Where there's a will, there's a way; if you don't want something, you will find excuses.

Especially when it comes to excuses and excuses, people become masters of creativity. This does not only apply to fellow human beings. Especially when it comes to themselves, many are rare embarrassed for an excuse and lie to themselves that the proverbial beams bend. You may be familiar with these four typical excuses yourself:

  1. I am not good enough…

    Everyone who takes on something big has a moment of doubt at some point. Self-confidence begins to falter and anything but failure seems impossible. Here it is fear that speaks out of you.

    Don't let this limit you. On the one hand, you will grow and learn new things from the fulfillment of your dreams and on the other hand: Even if you experience a setback, it is still better than not having tried and having to ask yourself: What would have been if…

  2. I am not ready yet…

    A classic among the excuses: the permanent and repeated procrastination. The right time to make your dreams come true is always sought and yet never found. The simple reason: in most cases, it doesn't even exist.

    Get on with your dreams because no matter how long you wait, you will never feel completely ready for them. Excuses like Next year I will start ... are nothing more than lies with which you want to fool yourself and calm your conscience.

  3. I don't know what others think ...

    To share one's dreams with other people is a need for many. At the same time, it also makes them insecure. Their dreams are as individual as the people. What is a pipe dream to you may be big bullshit to someone else.

    This is exactly what nobody wants to hear in order not to let their dream destroy them. But: If you hold on to your dreams yourself, it doesn't matter what others think about them. The realization of your dreams and the consequences thereof are yours - and you shouldn't put that power in the hands of another person, even when faced with criticism.

  4. I don't have enough time ...

    There is always a lot to do in everyday life, you are fully involved in the job and you have a lot on your own in private too. So do many, but when you have a real dream you will always find the time to work on it.

    In other words, if you use too little time as an excuse, you are not pursuing your dream with enough passion. Remember: you don't have time, you take it for the things that are important to you.

The result of such excuses and rejections, on the other hand, always looks the same: The large pool of our options becomes one Obstacle to inadequacies and adverse circumstances. We block ourselves with words and probabilities that may not even be.

However, this harms those affected twice:

  • Excuses make us small.

    Excuses are a kind of emergency exit in uncomfortable situations. But they also ensure that we never learn to endure conflicts or to overcome obstacles and thus expand our supposed limits (and the spiritual horizon). In short: they are comfortable, but they prevent growth.

  • Excuses sabotage our confidence.

    Refusals and excuses distort our perception: obstacles grow into gigantic and insurmountable mountain ranges, while we categorically underestimate our own strengths and abilities. As a result (and in combination with the first point), excuses lead over time to veritable self-doubt. At some point we believe our own lies more than our experience.

And last but not least, excuses damage our image. Anyone who keeps finding reasons why something does NOT work will soon look like one Non-masters. In any case not like a doer type who realizes his goals with his own will, talent and passion.

Lazy excuses: These 10 will make you look lazy at work

Laziness is human to a certain extent. However, anyone who crosses this limit in the job and gives the impression of pronounced indolence is sawing dangerously on the chair on which he or she is sitting. The colleagues soon think of those affected as idlers and slackers.

This danger is with the following Excuses and sayings extraordinary big:

  1. That is not part of my job.

    Translation: I see this employment relationship as a necessary evil, you get the minimum level of performance from me and I get the paycheck from you at the end of the month. No more and no less.

  2. I'm just following my instructions.

    Translation: Thinking along may be allowed in this company. But nobody can force me to do it. If the boss tells me that I should install this pollutant software in the diesel models, then I'll stop. Is there anything else?

  3. I already know what I'm doing.

    Translation: I'm doing this my way. And it is characterized by its simplicity and speed. That's why I don't want to deal with your spiritual outpourings.

  4. I can't do that too.

    Translation: You can see that I'm already totally overwhelmed anyway. And now you want me to get your files in order too? Please don't make it so difficult for me. I can't do it all!

  5. It wasn't my fault.

    Translation: So please iron it out yourself and don't force it on me. In principle, I don't care whether the company suffers any damage, as long as I don't suffer any personal disadvantages.

  6. Sorry, but I don't care.

    Translation: First of all, I don't really value your opinion. Second, I don't even want to think about whether or not I value them. Much too exhausting!

  7. Doesn't that still have time?

    Translation: I know your concern is very urgent, but I'll try to get a few more days out of it. Just because. Because I don't feel like putting unnecessary stress on myself now. Maybe it'll work.

  8. Unfortunately, something important happened to me.

    Translation: Your project just isn't a priority for me. And I don't even feel like working it properly into my schedule. I'll take care of it another time. Maybe.

  9. We'll talk about that another time, okay?

    Translation: Please leave me alone with the crap. I would like you to completely forget the whole thing and not talk to me about it again. Otherwise come back tomorrow. But only if it absolutely has to be.

  10. Just ask Richy, he still has free space.

    Translation: No, I'm not the one for this job. So go straight to the office next door and leave me alone.

Good excuses, bad excuses: that's why they hurt

However, there is also the situation that one is confronted with an excuse, which is immediately recognizable and transparent as such. So one bad Excuse in the literal sense of the word.

Even with such excuses, those affected do double harm:

  • You are dishonest.

    (Bad) excuses usually have little to do with reality, but rather arise from the imagination or the lies of their creator.

    As a result, they can permanently damage the relationship of trust, after all, lies give the impression that the person you are talking to will not shy away from telling the untruth in other situations and using lies for their own benefit.

  • You offend the intellect of the other.

    Excuses are supposed to distract from one mistake and appease the other. Sometimes there are really good reasons for mishaps, but also very flimsy ones.

    Anyone who makes a bad excuse is implicitly saying: I think you're so stupid that you believe the crap too. The lie in itself is disrespectful enough, but bad excuses are also insulting and expose a conversation that is not conducted on an equal footing from the start - after all, the liar thinks his excuse is intellectually superior, otherwise he would hardly have such a story present.

This is also the reason why it hurts so much when one bad excuse dished out becomes: The interlocutor has not only decided to lie to us, but does not even consider it necessary to present us with a credible explanation. You could also say right away: You are too stupid to know. And even if I did, I wouldn't care.

Of course you can have such behavior tolerate or ignore. As a rule, it depends on whether you will work with this person again or never see them again.

In the first case, however, such a laissez-faire attitude encourages those affected in their behavior and they continue to believe that they can get away with their excuses. Accordingly, we would rather recommend one appropriate and courageous backlashTo prevent this type of behavior from happening to you again in the future:

  1. Question the behavior.

    Mistakes can always happen. It is a sign of greatness and responsibility to stand up for it. Therefore, you should first ask why you were told a bad excuse and not the truth: Do others feel that they cannot tell you the truth because you get resentful or angry easily? In this way, you may be able to help ensure that the truth is told more often yourself.

  2. Do not ignore the incident.

    It's easier to get over a bad excuse and pretend nothing happened. In doing so, you give the scam absolution at the same time. In this case, silence is just tin and talking gold: speak to them directly about possible contradictions and also tell them that you do not believe them. As a rule, this is followed by (transparent) resistance to indignation (“Do you think I'm a liar?”). But that's just crude rhetoric. It's true, after all: you think the person is a liar and the reasoning is a flimsy excuse.

  3. Find out the truth.

    So don't let yourself be led to a sideline, but rather ask carefully: The story behind a bad excuse is usually the more interesting one that tells you a lot about the other. Why didn't he or she want to tell the truth and why did it even get to the point that an excuse was needed? Finding out the truth not only helps to affirm more honesty in the relationship, but also makes it clear that you are not being fooled. Even if exposed liars react angrily, they at least have more respect for you now.

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October 16, 2020Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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