Is This Word Making You Sound Weak?

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you may be thinking “am i really using one specific word that makes me sound weak?” yes and no. there are actually a few words that we use to weaken how others perceive us but today we shall focus on this one:


my husband totally called me out on this a few months ago (this is what happens when you own a communication business together). the amount i was using the word ‘sure’ in response to questions was insane once he pointed it out.

here are some examples from my life:

“do you want to go out to dinner?”
me: “sure.”

“should i take atlas with me to the store?”
me: “sure.”

“is it okay if i stay up late to finish some work?”
me: “sure.”

“do you want another drink?”
me: “sure.”

i found myself typically using ‘sure’ when i didn’t really have a strong preference either way. or so i thought. i do typically have a leaning one way or the other and so do you. we should be vocalizing this.

why is ‘sure’ such a weak word? for starters, it implies you really don’t care one way or the other. i used to think that meant i was obviously very flexible and accommodating. after thinking about it some more, i realized that i want to be seen as definitive in my responses because i do have opinions and preferences and they shall be heard!

using “sure” signals indifference and now more than ever, our world requires us to be outspoken. by using “sure” it takes away others seeing us strong and confident in what we want and don’t want. using the word ‘sure’ makes me sound uncertain.

it also means we are willing to settle. but we actually aren’t, right? cuz we ain’t settlin’.

even if you don’t really have a preference about eating pizza or thai food, make a decisionyes it works for you or no it doesn’t. no “sure.” no “whatever.” no “meh.” pick a side and go with it.

back to my examples, here is often what i was thinking when those questions were asked to me…

“do you want to go out to dinner?”
me: “sure.”

<what i was thinking: i mean, we could go out to dinner if you really want to – but then i’d have to put on pants. i don’t really want to put on pants.> my answer should have been “no, let’s eat here.”

“should i take atlas with me to the store?”
me: “sure.”

<what i was thinking: if say ‘yes, get her outta here’ does that make me bad mom? if i say no, then we stay here on the floor and i don’t get my work done.> i should have said “YES, take her with you” and been completely okay with it!

“is it okay if i stay up late to finish some work?”
me: “sure.”

<what i was thinking: i really like when we get ready for bed together because #toothbrushes.>  i should have said, “i’d rather you come to bed now and let’s get up early to work.”

“do you want another drink?”
me: “sure.”

<what i was thinking: duh. it’s been a long day.> i should have said “yes, please!”

start paying attention to how you respond to questions. we are strong and our language needs to reflect that!

is there a word you notice you say a lot that you want to get rid of using?


  1. Rose S.

    July 12, 2017 at 9:44 am

    I recently completed a training program for women who are interested in running for elected office. Three words we need to remove from our vocabulary- just, sorry, and ok. I am adding sure to that list. Thanks for the reminder to say what we mean.

    • chelsea

      July 19, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      absolutely agree with those! ryan trains on those words too (and ‘only’) so we are working hard to eliminate those from our language too! can’t wait until you are in office!

  2. Jennifer Haston

    July 12, 2017 at 9:54 am

    I love this! For me, it’s “if you want”.. which is even worse because it’s about what “They” want not me. I am running into this example A LOT

    “should i take atlas with me to the store?”
    me: “sure.”

    i should have said “YES, take her with you” and been completely okay with it!

    Mom guilt is weird and totally random. My example is, I got off the phone with my husband last night and realized, I need to ASK for “me time” not just expect it, (and so does he!) and we had a long conversation about how important it is to ask for what you want.. (never mind that I wrote a blog about that a few months ago…. )

    Keep on being SURE of YOURSELF, Chelsea – It gives the rest of us wings!

    • chelsea

      July 19, 2017 at 2:13 pm

      so glad you brought up the point of ‘if you want’ because i am SUPER guilty of that too (which is just another way for me to get around ‘sure’). thank you for that. very glad you are also realizing to need to ASK for that me time and not just hope they get it.

      you are a powerhouse!

  3. Lindsay

    July 12, 2017 at 9:54 am

    I love this article. It is a great reminder to me to be more assertive!

    • chelsea

      July 19, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      i am glad it resonated with you lindsay! thank you for reading and your comment 🙂

  4. Sheila

    July 12, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Oh Chelsea, I soooo relate to this … the justification for saying “sure” and the disempowerment that comes with it. Thanks for the reminder that it’s time for me to get clear!

    • chelsea

      July 19, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      glad to hear it’s been a good reminder, sheila! let’s get clear and keep moving forward!

  5. Paula Tomko

    July 12, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Can’t wait for your post on the word ” JUST” and how that diminishes us more than sure.

    Thanks for this. Great column today!

    • Marilyn Jess

      July 17, 2017 at 4:46 am

      Agree. “Just,” and “But,” are words I’ve banished from my vocabulary. These qualify anything you say after that. They aren’t strong words, and we need strength more than people pleasing.

    • chelsea

      July 19, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      maybe i’ll have ryan do a little video on his opinion of ‘just’ because he gets REAL fired up about it 🙂 thank you paula! and totally agree with you marilyn, less people pleasing!

  6. Claire

    July 12, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Spot on Chelsea!! I was trying to explain to someone recently that sure is so vague and is not a firm “yes or no”, and you totally just summed it up for me! Thanks!

    I fall prey to saying “sure” when I’m indecisive, so this is really a great article to remind us to empower ourselves and do as you say, make a decision!

    • chelsea

      July 19, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      yay! glad to be of help 🙂 also glad you are already talking about this with people! it’s an important aspect of feeling empowered and then being perceived as powerful!

  7. Sara

    July 12, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    Being decisive and assertive is so important, especially for people pleasers like me.

    • chelsea

      July 19, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      i totally get what you mean, sara! i tend to be a people pleaser too (and also someone who doesn’t love making decisions). eliminating certain words has helped with this!

  8. Penny'

    July 12, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I want to say great advice. But what I should say is yes great advise because u gave clear examples, I could hear myself doing the same thing with another word I use. This was a informative subject because we all do this all time, I liked it because it really made me think about what I say and so. But it was a great subject.

    • chelsea

      July 19, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      thank you for your comment, penny! we are so not alone in using these weak words. glad you are thinking more about what you say and how you say it!

  9. Charlene Maugeri

    July 13, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Hmm I’ve never really thought about it like this, but you’re so right! I’m going to start making and voicing those decisions! I also need to get rid of the word “sorry.” I am so guilty of saying it way too much!

    • chelsea

      July 19, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      oh yes sorry is such a huge one! i should have linked to my past article in this one – thanks for sparking that reminder! glad you are going to focus on it more charlene!

  10. Audrey

    July 13, 2017 at 9:30 am

    I use “sure” occasionally, especially when I definitely have a preference, but the word that drives me nuts is, “ok.” K says “ok” sometimes when we argue and it’s completely impossible to respond to! Or when I tell him something or he tells me something and we say, “ok” when it actually warrants a real response. Drives me NUTS.

    • chelsea

      July 19, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      ohhhh ‘ok’ would be such an irritating one to hear, particularly in the midst of an argument! i could totally see that. i will have to start paying attention to that one too!

  11. Marilyn Jess

    July 17, 2017 at 4:48 am

    May I add….But and No. The first weakens communication, the second is a complete sentence and needs no qualifying words after it. No.

    • chelsea

      July 19, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      oh that whole ‘no is a complete sentence’ thing is still a big one i’m working on! thank you for bringing that up again so i can focus my energies around that too! thank you marilyn 🙂

  12. Pingback: 'Yes' is also a Complete Sentence • the new wifestyle

  13. Vivien

    September 9, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Apologies, catching up on all of your posts; been crazy busy!
    I love it! Wracking my brain now to see if there are words I should get rid of. I’ve been very mindful of the word “just” ever since Ryan’s post about that word.

    • chelsea

      September 12, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      no need to apologize vivien, i’m grateful for the time you took to catch up! hope the craziness is slowing down some for you 🙂