fuzzy language of a building tradesman…

Time is a funny thing… but so is the meaning that we all put on words we use. Recent incidents with local tradesmen have reminded me of something I’ve used  in management workshops to highlight the dangers of fuzzy language (first came across it in an “interpersonal communication” text book).

So, tell me…. you think that you understand and communicate well with the partner in your life?


I urge you to do this and tell all of us the results.

The following is a list of words relating to time. If we assume that always=50 and never=1 , please place a number between 2-49 next to all the other words below:

1             Never

…            Often

…            Sometimes

…            Usually

…            Most of the time

…            Occasionally

…            Seldom

…            A lot

…            Almost always

…            Rarely

…            Frequently

…            Quite often

50          Always


Let me make a prediction. It is highly unlikely that you and your life partner will get more than 50% of the corresponding numbers exactly right/same. Which means what?

Well… it means that fuzzy meanings have probably caused several hundred arguments between you over the past few years. It also means that when a tradesman tells you he’ll be there “soon”…you need to define what “soon”means ;-)

Would love to hear the results !


5 responses to “fuzzy language of a building tradesman…

  1. Caro Michael,
    Words of wisdom. Funny and, yet very true. Time has become my companion – since I moved to Italy. I have learnt to appreciate the (RELATIVE!) time factor. Soon means everything – from almost (surprisingly) instantly to whenever, or call me back. But I feel so rich. Time is on my side. I was my enemy in mt former life. Bacione, Ingrid

  2. Hi Michael !
    a spot on post….
    well here too, soon is a very vague temporal concept.
    Whenever my boyfriend tells me, don’t worry . i’ll be right there in a sec…
    hum…this second is sooooo elastic

    Hope you can still juggle with time though!

    • Welcome back Lala… cant wait to see your Barcelona pics. Perhaps you should try this exercise with M… results would be interesting ;-)

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