Sometimes the things we say out of politeness or force of habit are actually communicating the total opposite. As we think about spring cleaning this season, it can be about more than garages, closets and attics. It can also be about our etiquette.

Mister Manners, Thomas Farley shares with us how cleaning up your language can also help you clean up your etiquette.

We’re taught from a young age to say “please” and “thank you,” but “please” is starting to fall out of favor among adults who don’t want to sound condescending or demanding, as in: “Please don’t pretend you’re actually happy about this” or “Have this back to me by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, please.” A new and improved way: “I’m sensing you are not happy about this” or “Is there any chance you could get this back to me by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow?

Another word that you may want to consider changing up is the word “you’re welcome”. This one carries some baggage, particularly when heard by anyone under the age of 40. Millennials and Gen Z tend to think of this phrase as either self-aggrandizing or sarcastic, even when spoken with the best of intentions. Does it actually mean “You are welcome to tell me any time how nice that was of me”? New and improved: “My pleasure”.

For more tips on how to spring clean your language, check out Mister Manner’s website at