It’s not entirely your fault if the words “It’s fine” are defaults in your vocabulary. Honestly, it’s not–social conditioning and deep psychological needs and fears both contribute to how much they escape your lips. Probably the most common reasons you might use them are
- To reassure someone, such as if they drop something or interrupt you
- To get people to leave you alone when you are upset or don’t want to address an issue
- To give praise or agreement
But as small as these words are, however harmless they initially might appear, they can devastate a business.
Saying “it’s fine” as a mode of reassurance is a bad idea.
- Quite frankly, it doesn’t do a very good job of reassuring. You might mean “Don’t feel bad!” or “Go ahead!”, but in simply saying “It’s fine”, you inevitably force everyone who is listening to acknowledge the mistake, actually drawing attention to it instead of minimizing it. Subsequently, because of what psychologists refer to as the “spotlight effect”, the person who committed the error might feel only more self-conscious and embarrassed. When you’re trying to make customers, shareholders or team members feel comfortable, that just doesn’t work.
- There are going to be times when, even though it might seem polite to say “It’s fine,” it’s really not fine. Dropping a huge pile of files two minutes before a meeting is an actual problem, for example.
- You don’t want to inadvertently teach people that certain behaviors are acceptable, giving them subtle permission to ignore or abuse you, your policies or your protocols.