In an earlier post, “Instead of…” was presented as an alternative to saying “Don’t.” “Instead of” forces you to come up with an alternative action, which is usually good.
However, if time is critical, or it’s not all that consequential, or you can’t come up with an alternative, try this:
“Resist the temptation to…”
It works best for quick thoughts that you might usually start with “Don’t”
“Don’t use the side door.”
“Don’t call her so soon.”
“Don’t staple every doggone thing.”
“Don’t leave the lights on in the storage room.”
Substitute “Resist the temptation to…” in place of “Don’t” in each of those statements and you’ll note two things:
1) The statement is less negative and more positive.
2) You put control in the hands of the person you’re speaking to, rather than YOU being the dictator of their actions.
Try it; see what you think.
I like it!
Thanks! It also has the added benefit of being a little goofy, which can defuse the tension in situations that require prescriptive commands…
I have used “resist the urge” especially when addressing the cell phone in class issue. The other day I called cell phones “electronic potato chips”, because if you check it once you have to have another check. No one can check it just once.
Yeah! Good — I like it. Or maybe “fight the urge.”