- You have a meeting that you would like me to attend
- I have a very busy schedule that day
I could frame the conflict using "but" as in: "I recognize you want me at the meeting, but i have a very busy schedule that day". Framing the statement that way infers that I have heard you, and am implying that I won't be attending the meeting. 'But' is an 'exclusive' conjunction, excluding, denying, or somehow discounting the message of the first phrase. "And' is also a conjunction (an INCLUSIVE conjunction) which infers that, although the two elements may be in opposition, they are both viewed equally (at least without exclusion).
Compare these four:
A. "I recognize you want me at the meeting, but I have a very busy schedule that day."
B. "I have a very busy schedule that day, but I recognize you want me at the meeting."
C. "I recognize you want me at the meeting, and I have a very busy schedule that day."
D. "I have a very busy schedule that day, and I recognize you want me at the meeting."
The first two infer that the two statements are not compatible, that I will have to choose. The second two don't indicate exclusion; they infer that both could be accomplished.
Use 'but' when suggesting the views are not compatible and that the view in the first phrase is to be discounted. Use 'and' when suggesting both phrases are to be viewed as compatible.
Ken Fields, owner and principle counselor at Open Mind Counseling says: "The use of "but" is extraordinarily common. In fact, few people actually recognize the subtle influence of using but. If you were to consciously attempt to change "but" to "and" in your speaking, you will notice how odd it feels. But, it is a worthwhile exercise if for no other reason than to become more comfortable with the ability to switch from one to the other. However, there can be a more important reason: using "and" instead of "but" can positively influence dialogue. When using "and" instead of "but" there is a sense of inclusion and acceptance even if the conclusion is a denial or refusal."
Try it out over the next several days. Listen to others' sentences and when you hear "but" change it in your own mind to "and." Then, start listening to your own sentences. When you hear yourself about to say "but" change it to "and" but remember one thing…oops…and remember one thing…
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