Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yabbut …

I have a long-running non-joke about Canadians, the most polite and non-confrontational people in the World.

Make a statement to a Canadian, and they listen quietly, and then begin their response with “Yabbut”. You can always tell who is a Canadian; they start their sentences with “Yabbut”.

It’s nothing to do with place of birth or of passport. It’s a frame of mind that says “Don’t upset anyone”.

(As an aside, Torontonians are the only people who, when you step backwards in a line-up or queue and inadvertently tread on the toes of the person behind you, that person, if from Toronto, will quickly say “Sorry!”, even though YOU are the one who trod on THEIR toes!)

Rather than disagree with what you have said, Canadians start with “Yes”, they pause, and then continue with “But”; this becomes slurred into “Yabbut”.

I find myself saying it too, which means I have suffered too many cold and bleak winters.

Today I learned two variations on this theme: “I agree with you, but …” and “I agree with you, because …” and I was struck by my reaction to both responses.

My reaction to “Yes, But” was negative; “Let’s fight about it”.

My reaction to “Yes, Because” was positive; “Oh good! We are on the same wavelength, let’s not fight about it”.

It didn’t matter that my partner went on to tear me to shreds. The second lead-in had me seeing their argument from their point of view, rather than from mine.

Talk to Me !

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