10 phrases you should never use if you want people to like you

Have you ever said something and immediately wished you could take it back?

We all have.

Talking to people can be tricky. In today’s world, where we chat online just as much as face-to-face, our words are super important. And what we say can make people like us or want to avoid us.

Whether you’re trying to impress others at work, on a date, or just in your everyday life, there are certain things you shouldn’t say.

These phrases can make people feel bad, make you seem unfriendly or even mean, and make it harder for people to like you.

So, let’s get started! Here are 10 things you should never say if you want people to like you.

1. “I don’t care.”

When you say “I don’t care,” it can come across as dismissive or indifferent. It makes people think you’re not interested in their thoughts or feelings.

While you might not mean to sound uncaring, it’s easy for this phrase to be misinterpreted.

Instead, try saying something like “I’m open to suggestions” or “What do you think?” This shows that you value other people’s opinions, which can help them warm up to you.

2. “It’s not my fault.”

No one likes a blame shifter. When something goes wrong, it’s easy to want to point fingers.

But saying “it’s not my fault” can make you seem irresponsible or like you’re not willing to take accountability for your actions.

Even if it truly isn’t your fault, there are better ways to express this.

You could say, “I’m sorry this happened, let’s figure out how we can fix it,” or “I wasn’t involved in that part, but I’m willing to help correct the issue.”

This way, you come across as a team player and problem solver, two traits people tend to admire.

3. “You’re wrong.”

Nobody likes to be told they’re wrong, especially not outright.

I learned this the hard way when I was in a group project at college. We were working on a presentation and I told one of my teammates bluntly, “You’re wrong.”

The atmosphere in the room immediately turned icy. My teammate felt attacked and everyone else felt uncomfortable.

Instead of flat-out telling someone they’re wrong, it’s more effective to phrase it differently. For example, try saying “I see where you’re coming from, but have you considered this…?”

This way, you’re not directly attacking their idea but offering a different perspective. Trust me, it makes a huge difference in how people perceive you.

4. “That’s easy, why can’t you do it?”

This phrase can make people feel small and incompetent.

What might be easy for you could be challenging for others, and it’s important to remember this when communicating.

Did you know that according to the theory of multiple intelligences proposed by Howard Gardner, people have different types of intelligences?

This means that everyone has their own set of strengths and weaknesses.

So, instead of belittling someone’s struggle, a better approach would be to offer your help or provide constructive advice.

It shows empathy and understanding, which are qualities that people appreciate.

5. “Whatever.”

“Whatever” is one of those phrases that can make a person feel like their thoughts or feelings are being dismissed.

It’s a word that, when used in the wrong context, can make a conversation turn sour real quick.

People want to feel heard and understood. When you respond with “whatever,” it’s like telling them their input doesn’t matter.

So, next time you’re tempted to drop the ‘W’ bomb, take a moment. Think about the other person’s feelings.

Try responding with something like “I see your point” or “Let’s talk more about this.” It might seem like a small change, but it can make a huge difference in how people feel about you.

6. “I’m always right.”

Confession time: I used to be guilty of saying this. I’d say it half-jokingly, but over time I noticed it was affecting my relationships.

Friends were less likely to approach me with their ideas or opinions because they felt I wouldn’t value them.

Saying “I’m always right” makes you seem arrogant and closed-minded.

It’s impossible for anyone to always be right, and claiming so can lead others to see you as egotistical.

Instead, try saying things like “I believe…” or “In my experience…” This way, you’re sharing your thoughts without dismissing the opinions of others. Trust me, it’s a change worth making!

7. “I don’t have time for this.”

Life is busy, I get it. We’ve all got a million things on our to-do lists and sometimes it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

But saying “I don’t have time for this,” especially when someone is trying to talk to you about something important, can be really hurtful.

It’s like telling the person that they’re not worth your time. It’s harsh, and it’s likely to make them feel unimportant.

So, instead of being dismissive, try saying something like “I’m really swamped right now, but let’s set a time when I can give you my full attention.”

It shows that you value the person and their thoughts, and trust me, they’ll appreciate it.

8. “You always…” or “You never…”

These absolute phrases can come off as critical and unfair.

Did you know, according to relationship experts, using “always” and “never” during disagreements is one of the top predictors of divorce in married couples?

That’s because these words make the other person feel like they’re being unfairly judged on their entire character, based on one or two instances.

Instead of using absolutes, try to focus on specific behaviors or incidents. For example, instead of saying “You never help with the dishes,” you could say, “I noticed I’ve been doing the dishes a lot lately.

Could you help me out next time?” This way, you’re addressing the issue without attacking the person’s character.

9. “Why can’t you be more like…?”

I still remember the sting I felt when someone I looked up to said this to me. It felt like a punch in the gut.

It made me feel like I wasn’t good enough as I am, and that I had to change myself to be accepted.

Comparing someone to another person is never a good idea. It can make them feel inadequate and hurt their self-esteem.

So, instead of wishing someone was more like someone else, appreciate them for who they are.

Everyone is unique, with their own strengths and weaknesses, and that’s something to celebrate, not criticise.

10. “I know you are but what am I?”

Remember when we were kids, and we used this phrase as a comeback during a playground squabble? It’s not a good look when you’re an adult.

It shows an inability to engage in mature, productive conversation. It’s also a clear sign of defensiveness rather than taking the opportunity to reflect on the feedback or criticism being given.

Instead of reverting to childish comebacks, try saying something like, “That’s an interesting perspective, I’ll think about it.”

This shows that you’re open to constructive criticism and self-improvement, which are qualities that people respect and admire.

Remember, the way we communicate plays a huge role in how people perceive us. Avoiding these phrases won’t just make you more likable, it’ll also improve your relationships and interactions with everyone around you.

So, let’s ditch these phrases and embrace more positive, respectful communication.

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Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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