If you want to be viewed as confident by other people, stop using these 10 phrases

You ever feel nervous when talking to people?

You’re not alone!

But did you know that using certain phrases can make you seem less confident?

In this article, we’ll talk about 10 things you should avoid saying if you want to come across as confident and cool.

Let’s get started.

1. “I’m not sure, but…”

Ever catch yourself starting a sentence with “I’m not sure, but…”?

Stop right there!

This phrase instantly tells people that you’re not confident in what you’re saying. It’s like putting a big, red warning sign on your words that screams, “Don’t take me seriously!”

Instead, just say what you think. If you’re wrong, it’s cool—you can learn from it. But starting off unsure makes people less likely to listen to you in the first place.

Drop the doubt and just dive in!

2. “Sorry to bother you, but…”

Ah, the classic “Sorry to bother you, but…” I used to say this all the time, thinking I was being polite. Turns out, it often does more harm than good.


Because saying you’re a “bother” before you’ve even started speaking undercuts your own message. It’s like you’re apologizing for taking up space and time—even though you have every right to be heard!

So next time, instead of tiptoeing around the point, just go ahead and say what you need to say. People will take you more seriously when you act like you deserve to be heard. And guess what? You do!

3. “To be honest…”

“To be honest,” sounds like you’re about to drop some real truth, right? Wrong. When you use this phrase, it’s like you’re hinting that you might not always be honest. Why would you want to give that impression?

Instead, let your words speak for themselves. If you’re always straightforward, you won’t need a special phrase to highlight your honesty. People will know you’re genuine by what you say and do, not because you prefaced it with “To be honest.”

Drop the phrase and let your honesty shine on its own.

4. “Does that make sense?”

After explaining something, have you ever asked, “Does that make sense?” It sounds like you’re checking in, but really, you’re showing a lack of confidence in your own explanation.

I’ve been there. I’ve asked this question thinking I was being clear and helpful, but it often just makes the other person wonder if even I’m not sure about what I’m saying.

Instead, trust that you’ve made your point. If something’s unclear, trust the other person to ask you for clarification. Asking “Does that make sense?” only plants the seed that maybe it doesn’t make sense at all.

You’re smarter and more articulate than you give yourself credit for. Own it.

5. “It’s just my opinion, but…”

This is another phrase I used to lean on a lot, especially when I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers. “It’s just my opinion, but…” sounds humble, but it actually weakens your stance.

When you frame your thoughts as “just an opinion,” you’re giving others the green light to dismiss what you’re saying. But here’s the thing: Of course it’s your opinion! You’re the one saying it!

Your thoughts and viewpoints are valuable. Don’t dilute them by prefacing them as “just” anything. State your case and let it stand. You’ve got something worth hearing, so say it like you mean it!

6. “Maybe it’s just me, but…”

This one’s tricky because it seems like you’re being considerate, acknowledging that others might feel differently. But in reality, “Maybe it’s just me, but…” sets you up as the outlier, the one person who might be off-base.

Why give people that option?

If you have a point to make, make it. No need to make it sound like you’re the odd one out or like your viewpoint is some weird exception. The fact is, if you’re thinking it, chances are others are too—or at least, they might find your perspective worth considering.

Don’t set yourself up as the lone wolf. Your ideas have value—present them that way.

7. “I could be wrong, but…”

Ever drop a “I could be wrong, but…” before saying what you really think? It’s like you’re giving people permission to dismiss you before you’ve even made your point.

Look, we all get things wrong sometimes. It’s part of being human. But when you open with doubt, you’re telling people not to bet on you. If you’re not backing yourself, why should they?

You don’t need to slap a disclaimer on your thoughts. Say what you have to say. If you’re wrong, you’ll learn something. If you’re right, well, you’ve just proven that you didn’t need a safety net in the first place.

Go all in on what you have to say. That’s how you make an impact.

8. “I’ll try to…”

When you say, “I’ll try to,” you’re giving yourself an out, a little escape hatch in case you don’t deliver.

But did you know that according to psychology, the language we use can actually shape our behavior? When you commit to “doing” instead of “trying,” you’re more likely to follow through.

Replace “I’ll try to meet the deadline” with “I’ll meet the deadline,” or “I’ll try to be there” with “I’ll be there.” The shift might seem small, but it’s powerful.

You’re not just making a promise to others; you’re setting an expectation for yourself. And that level of commitment shows—it makes you look more dependable and confident, too.

Say you’ll do it, then do it. No “try” about it.

9. “This might be a stupid question, but…”

Ah, this one hits close to home. I remember peppering my questions with this phrase, especially when I was in new or intimidating situations. It felt like a safety cushion, but what it actually did was set me up for dismissal.

Think about it: If you say your question might be stupid, you’re almost inviting people to think less of you.

No question is stupid if you genuinely don’t know the answer. And asking questions is how you learn and grow, right?

So instead of undermining yourself, just ask the question. No apologies, no disclaimers.

You have a right to understand, and you’ll be respected more for seeking clarity than for staying confused in silence.

10. “No worries if not.”

This one seems like you’re being easygoing and low-pressure, right? But here’s the twist: “No worries if not” can actually make you come across as less confident. It’s like you’re preparing for rejection before you even get an answer.

When you really need or want something, don’t give people an easy way to opt out. Stand behind your request or question.

If they can’t fulfill it, they’ll let you know, and that’s okay. But don’t set yourself up for a “no” by suggesting that “no” is a perfectly good answer.

Be bold with what you ask for or propose. Let people decide for themselves how they feel about it. You might be pleasantly surprised by how often the answer is “yes” when you don’t offer a way out.

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Picture of 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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