If someone uses these 7 phrases, they lack kindness and empathy for others

Ever had a conversation where all you can say at the end is “ouch”?

It’s like a verbal assault.

Even when they’re trying to help (or console you), they somehow turn a simple interaction into an unfeeling exchange that leaves you wounded and confused. 

Here’s the thing. 

Some people have all the tact of a wrecking ball and while their words might be blunt, the meaning behind them is anything but…

It cuts deep!

Worse still, they don’t seem to care. In fact, they may not even realize they’re hurting your feelings in the slightest – they’re clueless.

That’s because they lack kindness and empathy for others.

Using any of these seven phrases confirms it. 

1) “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

On the surface, this phrase doesn’t seem all that bad. It sounds nice, even. After all, it has the word “sorry” in it, right?

Don’t be fooled. 

This is what’s known as a non-apology apology (a fauxpology) and truth be told, they’re not remorseful at all. 

In fact, it’s akin to saying “sorry-not-sorry.”

Let me explain. 

Instead of taking accountability for their behavior, they’re placing the blame on you and your feelings. In other words, it’s not their fault it’s yours. 

It’s a form of deflection, maybe even a sign of gaslighting. 

When all is said and done, you can’t apologize for how someone feels (it’s just not possible). The only thing you can control in this situation is your behavior. 

By avoiding ownership and skirting around the real issue, you’re not only minimizing how someone feels but you’re also demonstrating a lack of empathy

2) “I don’t care.”

This phrase is pretty self-explanatory – they “don’t care.” 

It’s the same as saying “whatever” or “it’s not my problem.” 

It outright dismisses the feelings or concerns of others, indicating a lack of empathy and kindness

Additionally, it implies a selfish mindset. One that’s focused solely on their own interests, rather than extending a helping hand or showing compassion when needed.

Here’s the thing. 

When someone lacks empathy, they often have difficulty connecting to other people’s circumstances

In their eyes, this sort of thing would never happen to them. If it did, they would handle the situation much better than you ever could.

As a result, it’s difficult for them to understand where you’re coming from. They may also struggle to see how this blunt response will upset you. 

3) “I told you so.”

Let’s face it, we all make mistakes or decisions that we later regret. 

It’s all part of the human condition. 

There’s nothing to be ashamed of, so long as we learn and grow from it moving forward. 

However, some people in life can’t help but point out your errors or kick you when you’re down. 

It’s almost like they want to make you feel stupid.

I’m talking about those know-it-all individuals who are quick to gloat and say, “I told you so” at the drop of a hat. 

And let me tell you, those four little words aren’t for your benefit. 

It’s certainly not conducive to learning. 

Instead, they’re prioritizing being right over offering support or understanding during a time you need it most. 

Remarks like this only say one thing – they lack empathy and compassion.

4) “Stop being so dramatic”

A big part of being empathetic is having the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes

You take time to listen, consider other perspectives, and show understanding, all without casting judgment or being critical. 

So when someone tells you to “stop being dramatic” or says “you’re overreacting/being crazy” it’s a clear sign that they lack kindness and empathy. 

Not only are these remarks insensitive, but labeling someone “too sensitive” or “dramatic” invalidates their feelings and with it, their emotional responses. 

This can cause feelings of shame, embarrassment, and guilt. 

5) “I’m just being honest”

People often say that honesty is the best policy. 

With good reason. 

However, this seemingly innocent phrase can be incredibly upsetting. Especially when it’s an excuse to hurt, criticize, or put others down.

In fact, research shows that radical (or brutal) honesty can actually be harmful to relationships.

And sometimes, the truth giver uses the guise of “being honest” to give them a free pass (justification).


That’s not to say, you should cease being honest with others. All I mean is, that there’s a way to be blunt without being cruel.

That’s where empathy and kindness come into play.

It allows you to consider how to deliver this truth without causing more harm than good. All the while, offering compassion and understanding (a safe space) when they need it. 

6) “It could be worse”

I’m sure we’ve all heard this phrase before, you may have even used it yourself. 

I know I have. 

Often telling myself “it could be worse” time and time again. It simply rolls off the tongue like an automated defense mechanism. 

On the surface, it’s a way of gaining perspective when I start to spiral or enter a loop of despair. 

But like many of the other phrases, it comes down to intent and delivery. Particularly when you’re saying it to someone else.

The truth is, when you look at it objectively this innocent-sounding sentence can be problematic.

Simply put, it minimizes someone’s pain or distress.

This diminishes their need for empathy and support, leaving them feeling isolated and misunderstood.

At the end of the day, you don’t know what someone else is truly going through. But just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t make their feelings any less valid. 

7) “Just get over it.”

Finally, this more direct version of the phrase above can come off as harsh and unfeeling.

Even if the intent is to help or show “tough love.” 

It only serves to trivialize their feelings, making them feel unheard and invalidated.

Ultimately, it fails to acknowledge the complexity of emotions and the time it may take for someone to heal from a difficult situation.

When someone lacks empathy and kindness, these nuances typically go over their head. 

So if you recognize any of these seven phrases, there’s a good chance the person using them just doesn’t understand their impact. 

Language plays a crucial role in how we express empathy and kindness towards others. 

I think the lesson here is. 

By being mindful of our words (and choosing expressions that validate, support, and empathize with others), we can cultivate an environment that promotes compassion and understanding for everyone. 

All it takes is a little care and time to think before you speak to be kind. 

Picture of Leila El-Dean

Leila El-Dean

Leila is a passionate writer with a background in photography and art. She has over ten years of experience in branding, marketing, and building websites. She loves travelling and has lived in several countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Spain, and Malta. When she’s not writing (or ogling cats), Leila loves trying new food and drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea.

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