Do You Have a Low Tolerance for BS?

Jorge Olson

May 5, 2023

“If I’m fat, just tell me I’m fat!”

You tell it like it is and expect others to do the same. Sure, you consider feelings sometimes!

You talk straight to your kids, including teenagers; you speak directly to your boss, spouse, and parents. You expect the same, right? You want straight talk from your mechanic, accountant, and fitness trainer. “If I’m fat, just tell me I’m fat,” you tell your trainer.

If you can see yourself in any of these situations, you, my friend, have a low tolerance for BS.

Five tips to communicate BS-free without looking like a jerk

It can be difficult to communicate without sounding like a jerk. But it is possible to do so without resorting to BS. By speaking straightforwardly and honestly, you can avoid coming across as a know-it-all or an arrogant person.

The key is being mindful of your words and how others perceive them. Speak clearly and concisely without exaggerating or embellishing the facts. Be respectful of others’ opinions, even if you disagree with them. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to admit when you are wrong or don’t know something – it shows humility and respect for others.

By following these five tips, you can communicate effectively without being rude or insincere with your words.

1. Pay attention

Notice I said pay attention, not just listen. I say this for a reason. It would help if you listened intently, with your mind, ears, eyes, and body. Your body language will tell the other person that they are important, that you care, and that they have your full attention; not half of your attention shared with a text, Facebook, TV, or a call you have to take. I mean your full attention. Put down your phone, or turn it off (yes, I said it), and look the person in the eyes with your shoulders facing them. 

By paying attention to people when communicating, we can ensure that our conversations are productive, respectful, and mutually beneficial.

2. Don’t Interrupt

Next time you’re part of a group conversation, count how many times people jump in, add, or simply interrupt the speaker. They might do it directly to the person speaking or turn to another person and start a side conversation. We all have the urge to talk and express ourselves, but don’t do it! You can nod, say “aha,” and give positive facial expressions, but don’t interrupt. If the person goes off-topic, bring them back with, “I really want to know what happened next.” On extreme occasions, you might say, “Get to the point,” or if you want to be subtle, “Finish the story, I only have ten minutes.”

Communication is a two-way street. It’s important to make sure that both parties have the opportunity to express themselves without interruption. Interrupting someone while they are speaking can disrupt the flow of conversation and be seen as disrespectful and dismissive.

To ensure effective communication, it’s important to practice active listening and give the other person time to finish their thoughts before jumping in with your own opinion or response. This will help create an environment of mutual respect and understanding between all parties involved in the conversation.

3. Don’t Judge

This point is the big one. If you start judging, you’ll begin getting BS simply because nobody will want to tell you what they did, what they are thinking, or what the situation is. Your employees will give you a thick story that sounds like “it wasn’t my fault.” Your kids will explain it’s the teacher’s fault they’re getting the failing grade; you know the story. Unless you have a law degree and were appointed and nominated to the Supreme Court by the President, don’t judge.

Remember, part of NO BS, by definition, is no judging. It’s about getting to a goal, which might be to feel better or come up with a solution. Remember, not all problems have answers, especially many emotional ones.

We can use communication to build relationships, share ideas, and solve problems. However, we can create misunderstandings or hurt feelings if we are not careful with our words and tone. We must be mindful of how we communicate with others and always strive to be respectful and understanding. By doing this, we can ensure that communication is a positive experience for all involved.

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is an essential part of communication. It helps us to understand the other person better and encourages them to open up. Use questions to clarify misunderstandings and get more information about a topic. Asking questions is a great way to show that you are engaged in the conversation and interested in what the other person says. By asking thoughtful questions, we can gain insight into the other person’s point of view and build stronger relationships with them.

Asking questions engages you in conversation. Sometimes you even have to tell them, “I really want to know,” but often, a “Tell me what happened” is sufficient. Practice asking questions and digging into life, business, or other issues. Yes, it takes practice. If you’re a consultant or a salesperson, you know what I’m talking about. 

5. Pay Attention to Your Delivery

When it comes to communication, how you deliver your message can be just as important as the words you choose. That’s why it is crucial to practice your delivery when communicating. The correct delivery can help ensure that your message is received correctly and that you can convey your ideas clearly and concisely. It can also help ensure that the conversation flows naturally and that both parties feel comfortable.

Now that people know you care, listen, and your intentions are good, you can be as direct as you want without repercussions. If you’re speaking with someone you don’t know, it will not work until they know who you are and what you’re about. Practice it in your home before taking it out in the real world. Let me know how it goes; no BS!

It’s easy to communicate BS-free; you just have to care about the other person and what they say, feel, and want. If you care about that employee, boss, or family member, and they know it, you can talk BS-free and expect the same from them. If there are repercussions if they speak their mind, or you judge them for doing so, you’ll get BS for the rest of the day, week, month, you know, forever. Simple as that.


Jorge S. Olson is a polymath, bestselling business author, and expert communicator globally recognized as an expert in beverages, consumer goods, and Mexico mergers & acquisitions. He’s held C-level positions in private and public companies for 15 years. When he’s not sharpening his communication skills, he’s building social enterprises, writing, and reading.

The third edition of his book Build Your Beverage Empire will be out this year. You can contact him at

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