10 phrases you regularly use that people secretly judge you for

Ever had a chat with someone and noticed a strange look on their face?

You may have shrugged it off, but what if you said something that made them judge you?

Don’t worry, we’re here to help!

Here’s a list of 10 phrases you might be using often that people are secretly judging you for.

1. “I’m not being funny, but…”

This phrase is often used as a precursor to a statement that might come across as rude or controversial.

It’s as if you’re trying to secure a “get out of jail free” card before saying something potentially offensive.

But guess what?

It’s not really working.

People might secretly judge you for trying to mask your rudeness behind this phrase.

Instead, try being more straightforward and respectful with your opinions.

2. “No offense, but…”

This one is a classic.

Just like the previous phrase, “No offense, but…” is usually followed by something that is, well, offensive.

It might seem like a polite disclaimer, but it’s not fooling anyone.

In fact, it could make the person you’re talking to bristle, as they prepare themselves for the blow that’s about to come.

Instead of using this phrase, try to construct your criticism or disagreement in a more positive and constructive way.

3. “To be honest…”

I have to admit, this is a phrase I habitually used until I realized what it implied.

“To be honest…” suggests that you’re about to tell the truth, which raises a question: aren’t you always truthful?

So when I used to say things like, “To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy the movie,” it might have made people wonder if I was dishonest in other conversations.

Now, I try to simply state my opinion without the potentially misleading preface.

So instead of “To be honest, I didn’t like the movie,” I’d say, “I didn’t really enjoy the movie.”

It’s a small change but it makes a big difference in how your words are perceived.

4. “Just saying…”

This phrase often follows an awkward or controversial statement, and can make the receiver feel dismissed or devalued.

It’s like you’re trying to distance yourself from your own words, and that’s not a great look.

Phrases like “just saying” can actually make people less likely to change their minds about an issue.

The takeaway?

Ditch the “just saying” and stand by your words. It’s much more effective!

5. “It’s just a joke…”

Humor is a wonderful thing—it can lighten the mood, bring people together, and make life more enjoyable.

But sometimes, what we intend as a joke can hurt others’ feelings.

When we use the phrase “It’s just a joke…” after someone reacts negatively, it can seem like we’re downplaying their emotions or invalidating their feelings.

We all make mistakes and sometimes our jokes don’t land as intended, but instead of brushing it off, a heartfelt apology can go a long way in mending the situation.

Remember, empathy is key in communication.

6. “I’m just playing devil’s advocate…”

I used to drop this phrase into conversations, thinking I was adding an interesting perspective.

But over time, I realized that it often just frustrated people.

Instead of encouraging a healthy debate, it made me seem like I was arguing for the sake of arguing.

More often than not, playing devil’s advocate can come across as contrarian and uncooperative, rather than thoughtful or insightful.

Now, if I want to introduce a different viewpoint, I try to frame it more positively and less provocatively.

7. “I could care less…”

Alright, let’s get real here.

This phrase is a pet peeve for a lot of people, and not just grammar nerds.

When you say “I could care less,” what you’re actually saying is that you have some care left to give.

But usually, when people use this phrase, they mean to say they couldn’t care less—they have no more cares left to give.

It’s a small mistake, but it can make you seem less articulate than you are.

So next time, drop the could and say what you mean.

We all mess up sometimes, and that’s okay. Just own it and move on!

8. “I’m just saying it like it is…”

This phrase is often used as a shield to deliver potentially harsh or blunt feedback.

While honesty is admirable, it can sometimes border on rudeness when not delivered tactfully.

Those who often use brutal honesty are perceived as less socially skilled by their peers.

So instead of “saying it like it is” in a harsh manner, consider using a bit more tact and empathy in your approach.

It could make all the difference in how your message is received!

9. “Whatever…”

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve used this phrase more often than I’d like to acknowledge.

“Whatever” is often a go-to when we’re frustrated or upset and we want to end the conversation.

But over time, I’ve noticed that it can leave the other person feeling dismissed and disrespected.

It’s a conversation ender, not a problem solver.

Now, when I feel myself about to slip out a “whatever”, I take a deep breath and try to express what I’m really feeling instead.

It’s not always easy, but it’s worth the effort for clearer and more respectful communication.

10. “It’s not my job…”

In an ideal world, we’d all chip in and help out, regardless of our roles.

But let’s be honest, the phrase “It’s not my job” can sometimes slip out when we’re feeling overwhelmed or underappreciated.

The unfortunate truth is that this phrase can come off as uncooperative or dismissive.

It often leaves a sour taste and gives the impression that you’re not a team player. Instead, try addressing the issue head-on.

If you’re feeling swamped, express that instead of dismissing the task outright.

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Picture of Justin Brown

Justin Brown

I'm Justin Brown, the founder of Ideapod. I've overseen the evolution of Ideapod from a social network for ideas into a publishing and education platform with millions of monthly readers and multiple products helping people to think critically, see issues clearly and engage with the world responsibly.

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