3 Reasons You Should Stop Using the word “Just”

Looking for a quick confidence boost? Here’s a simple one I’ve found whose only requirement is to stop using a single word (or phrase)

Stop using the word, “Just.” Not in every usage of the word, something being “just” as in fair or “just” as in “just happened is alright.

But specifically take a closer look at the phrase, “I just ….”, as in wanting something or waiting for a service.

Screenshot 2015-05-18 at 10.31.04 AM


A) Wait online for your breakfast, “Can I help you?”

“Oh um, yes. I just want a bagel/coffee/juice, etc”

B) Go to the bank. “What can I do for you?”

“Oh, I mean, not much, I just want to cash this check.”

C) In personal situations with friends or significant others

“What are you feeling right now, is everything okay?”

“Yea it’s fine, it’s nothing, but I just feel like…”


The implication of “I Just want…”

In these types of contexts, the word “just” is implying almost an “I’m sorry for taking your time,” mentality. You “just” want something as if your request is less important than something larger. In most ways, the way you say it is probably attempting to be polite. “My request is JUST a small one” you think to yourself. It’s not something super difficult or important, so I’ll preface it beforehand…”

I’ll admit I’ve even found myself doing this on a couple of occasions when I’m out to eat and I want a glass of water to drink. No coffee, no soda, no alcohol, “Just” a glass of water. “I just want water please.”

The intention seems innocent enough, and some of you may be thinking, “Seriously Steve what’s the big deal?”

But that’s not how you should think about it. Whether it’s buying a cup of coffee, going to the bank, or sharing what’s on your friend with someone you trust, the word “Just” slightly emphasizes that your request isn’t as important as someone else’s request.

And little by little you won’t realize that saying this day after day, week after week, will eat away at your confidence, even sub-consciously.


Affecting Other Aspects of Your Life

Over and over again, you’ll keep telling people that your requests, or your needs, or your feelings, aren’t as important as someone else’s. When you “just” need to share an honest moment with a friend or significant other, then you’ll see yourself as waiting on line for coffee. To you it will be the same thing.

“Everyone else has a full order but I just need a bagel.”

“Everyone else is buying a full week’s worth of groceries, but I’m just getting some chips.”

And pretty soon it’s…

“Everyone else has important issues in their lives and are dealing with struggles and hardships and trying to cope with their emotions and feelings… But me… I just have something small to cover it. It’s no big deal really. It’s probably not even worth bringing up It’s just…”

That’s the implication, and you may not even realize it.


The Most Difficult Part

The most difficult part for many might be overcoming your thought right now that this still isn’t a big deal. I’ve seen first hand individuals who carry themselves with confidence and avoid these types of words, vs individuals I can tell don’t have as much confidence and (I don’t believe coincidentally) seem to use words like this more often.

In reality, your request, whether it’s buying a product or talking it out with another person, is just as important as everyone else. Your thoughts, your feelings, your fears and hopes, are some of the most important things in your life. You don’t need to explain them away or brush them aside as somehow being less important. They aren’t “just” something minor.

Instead realize that your requests, and especially you as a person, are just as important as anyone else. Stop telling people what you “Just want,” and tell them what you DO want. Focus on the action, and the achievement.

This is a small, small step to take to boost your confidence, that is easy to apply and will provide you with long term successes. If you find yourself struggling a bit to find your voice or be more confident in your day to day actions, try making a conscious effort to avoid saying “I just…” when you want something or need something. You’ll find that it opens the door to a confidence booster which you’ll be able to build upon continually.

Have you found yourself using the word or phrase, “I just…?” Looking back on it now can you see where there might be an opportunity to improve yourself by no longer saying it?

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  1. June 10, 2015 / 3:48 am

    One of John Lennon’s songwriting “rules” was to never use the word “just.”

    • June 29, 2015 / 9:51 am

      I didn’t know that Dean, that’s interesting. Now I want to go through all my Beatles songs and see if I can find it anywhere!

    • ellenleanse
      July 8, 2015 / 9:02 pm

      Wow…so interesting – it’s a form of mindfulness, in a way. Thanks for adding that very interesting point, Dean. Best, Ellen

  2. ellenleanse
    July 8, 2015 / 9:04 pm

    You added so much useful perspective to my “Just” post, Steve. I love your insights and learned from what you shared. AND I like the lemur pic. Thanks much for adding to the conversation. Best, Ellen