the magic of “not ideal”

I’m sure it originally came from tumblr, so my apologies to the OP for not crediting. And also my enormous thanks, because “not ideal” has turned out to be a workplace magic phrase.

My workplace has a thing about “being negative.” As in, don’t do it. (If there’s one thing they’re negative about, it’s negativity!) And yet we have to talk about the status of current projects, which is not always good news? Enter the magic of “not ideal.”

“How’s that timeline looking?”
“Well, it’s not ideal.”

*it has a positive focus word!
*yet it’s emotionally neutral!
*and it’s true!

Technically speaking, “not ideal” covers an entire spectrum that ranges from “mildly inconvenient” to “total clusterfluff,” but it *sounds* good. In fact, it sounds better than “not bad,” which is technically actually a better spectrum of possibilities!

You can even upgrade to “it’s not ideal right now,” which sounds even more positive (like there’s a chance it *could* be ideal, just not exactly at this moment). But it still doesn’t promise anything, which is the key.

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