‘I’ll try’ or ‘I don’t want to’?

‘I’ll try’ implies ‘I don’t want to’. How often have you asked (or invited) someone to do something and they’ve said ‘I’ll try’, only to let you down?

‘I’ll try to do it today.’ ‘I’ll try to make it to the meeting.’ ‘I’ll try to help.’ How many people have been disappointed by ‘I’ll try’, thinking they’ve been given a promise?

People say they’ll try if they don’t want to, don’t think they can, haven’t really got time, or have no intention of following through.

Assertive people don’t say ‘I’ll try’ when they mean ‘I won’t’ or ‘I don’t want to’. It’s a feeble cop-out.  Far better to say, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t, I don’t want to or ‘It’s not convenient’ and say why (even if you have to soften it a little).

Beware: ‘I’ll try’ implies failure and deceit. It is deceptive and defeatist.  When someone tells you they’ll ‘try’, realise that it could be an excuse and don’t be too disappointed if you’re let down.  

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How to Books, 2010