I was hanging out with a friend for coffee, making small talk about their work, when it hit me. It felt like someone had physically flicked their finger and smacked me right between my eyebrows, even though no one had touched me. In that instant something “clicked” in my brain—and it all happened because my friend innocently said a phrase I’d heard a million times before, something to the effect of:
“Yeah, I’ll just have to check with my boss about that.”
It’s a simple, seemingly innocuous phrase that probably gets spoken countless times every day in various parts of the world.
But this time it hurt me. These words felt somehow… gross, offensive. I felt insulted for my friend.
“Why?” you may ask.
Because for the situation we were discussing, my friend knew exactly what to do. We talked about it at length. They had thoughtfully processed the options, they’d consulted the appropriate people to get other viewpoints, they were the person closest to the work, and they clearly knew what decision needed to be made.
But they couldn’t make that decision without checking with a “boss.”