Source: Fast Company, Jul 2017
The speaker implies the possibility that somebody has created an issue that they’re willing to let slide.
Whatever” is often used to dismiss another person’s idea. … “Whatever” denotes resentful resignation, even if it doesn’t sound that way to your own ears. Much the same is true of other tepid notes of assent, like “yeah,” “yup,” “sure,” and “fine.”
“IT IS WHAT IT IS”
Clichés like this make you sound like a lazy thinker. We default unthinkingly to empty expressions when we’re trying to give the impression we have something to say but really don’t, and also when we want to sound as though we’re comfortable with something but might not be.
To be fair, you can’t get away with never saying “can’t”—it’s just too common and useful a contraction—and I’m not suggesting you try. But it is smart to be on you guard for the contexts where you use it.
For example, you might innocently say at a meeting, “I can’t get that report to you until next Monday.” And fine, maybe you really can’t because it just isn’t feasible. But phrasing it like this makes you sound ineffective—like the person who disappoints. Why not flip it around and say what you can do instead? “I’ll have that report to you next Monday.” There—suddenly you’re somebody who delivers, and is helpfully realistic about timelines to boot.
Try to avoid “don’t” in similar situations. Rather than saying, “I don’t know what the solution is,” go with, “Let’s go over what some possible solutions might look like—I could really use some input.” Then you’ll sound bright and collegial.
Here’s another perfectly innocuous word that can sound defeatist and passive (or even passive aggressive) around the office if you aren’t careful. In some contexts, it can make you sound less than confident.