• Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

Never Say Never?



The Limitations We Put on the Use of “Never” and Why


We tell instructors to never (haha) to use the word “never” and certainly not to tell your students “never do this.”


We tell instructors to never (haha) to use the word “never” and certainly not to tell your students “never do this.”

Why? Well, because:


  1. Something may have worked for someone in the past and why invalidate that

  2. Something may have been a choice that someone made and it didn’t work and now they will feel responsibility for everything that went wrong. “If only I hadn’t....”

  3. Something might actually work in certain circumstances and it might be the only choice in their circumstance.


I am certain there are more reasons to add to that list. (Feel free to add.)


And, over the years I have learned that this is complex, even more than I originally thought. Instructors can use the word never is certain circumstances.

And, over the years I have learned that this is complex, even more than I originally thought. Instructors can use the word never is certain circumstances.


It is totally okay to say:


  1. “Never let someone tie you up, fight!”

  2. “Never let someone change your location, fight!”

  3. “Never let someone drug you, fight!”


The difference is that in these circumstances, we know that our student's ability to survive is significantly reduced and the outcomes in situations like these three are dire and most likely deathly.


The difference between the two types of “never”s is that one is limiting choices and autonomy and the other is giving them information that might save their lives.

The difference between the two types of “never”s is that one is limiting choices and autonomy and the other is giving them information that might save their lives.


It’s complicated, and at the same time, kind of simple.