People who are really difficult to be around often say these 9 phrases (without realizing their impact)

Communicating with others isn’t always a walk in the park. Sometimes, without realizing it, people can use phrases that make them really difficult to be around.

These phrases can create a negative environment and push people away, even when the speaker doesn’t mean to.

It’s not about intentional manipulation or ill-will; it’s just a lack of understanding about the impact of their words.

In this article, we’ll uncover these 9 phrases often used by people who can be particularly challenging to interact with, without them even knowing the effect they’re having.

1) “I’m just saying…”

In any social setting, there’s a certain level of decorum expected. We often dance around topics and tread lightly to maintain harmony. However, some people use a phrase that gives them a free pass to voice their unfiltered opinions or criticisms.

The phrase is “I’m just saying…”

“I’m just saying” seems harmless enough, right? The speaker might believe they’re merely expressing an opinion or stating a fact. However, this phrase often precedes or follows a comment that can be hurtful or offensive.

The problem lies in the fact that it absolves the speaker of any responsibility for the impact their words might have. It’s like they’re saying, “Don’t shoot the messenger!”

But the reality is, words carry weight. And the way we deliver them can influence how others perceive us and how comfortable they feel around us.

It’s not what we say but how we say it that matters most. “I’m just saying” is one such phrase that can make people difficult to be around without them even realizing its impact.

2) “You’re too sensitive”

We all have different thresholds for what we find offensive, hurtful, or simply annoying. What might be a harmless joke to one person could be a hurtful comment to another. And that’s okay. We’re all unique in our own ways. However, there’s a phrase that I’ve encountered that tends to dismiss these feelings and individual sensitivities.

That phrase is “You’re too sensitive.”

I recall an incident when a friend made a joke about something I was deeply passionate about. I expressed my discomfort, only to be met with, “You’re too sensitive.” In that moment, I felt my feelings were invalidated, as if I was overreacting.

The issue with this phrase is that it shifts blame onto the person who’s feeling hurt or upset, instead of addressing the actual issue. It’s a way of evading responsibility for one’s own words or actions.

By telling someone they’re “too sensitive,” we’re essentially denying their feelings and experiences. This can create an uncomfortable environment and make people difficult to be around, often without them even realizing the impact of their words.

3) “It’s just a joke”

Humor is a complex social tool. It can bridge gaps, lighten moods, and bring people together. But it can also be a double-edged sword, especially when used carelessly. One phrase often used to dismiss the negative impact of a misplaced joke is “It’s just a joke.”

This phrase can be problematic because it downplays the potential hurt caused by the joke. Instead of acknowledging that the joke might have crossed a line, the speaker hides behind the shield of humor.

Research in psychology suggests that humor, particularly sarcasm and ridicule, can be a subtle form of aggression. So when someone says “It’s just a joke,” they’re often brushing off their own aggressive behavior.

As such, this phrase can make interactions uncomfortable and people difficult to be around, all without them realizing the impact of their words.

4) “But I…”

Communication is a two-way street. It involves listening as much as it does speaking. However, some people have a tendency to shift the focus of the conversation back to themselves, often starting their sentences with “But I…”

This phrase may seem harmless, but it can subtly indicate a lack of empathy or interest in the other person’s point of view. Instead of acknowledging what the other person has said, the speaker redirects the conversation back to their own experiences or thoughts.

This habit can create a barrier in communication and give off the impression that the speaker is self-centered. People who frequently use “But I…” can be difficult to be around, often without realizing the impact their words have on others.

5) “No offense, but…”

We’ve all heard this one before. The infamous preface to an often offensive statement – “No offense, but…”. This phrase is commonly used as a disclaimer before saying something potentially hurtful or controversial.

While the speaker might believe they’re softening the blow with this introduction, the reality is it does little to lessen the impact of the words that follow.

“No offense, but…” often serves as a warning sign that an offensive comment is coming. It does not absolve the speaker of the impact their words may have.

In fact, it can create an instant defensive response, making conversations feel tense and people difficult to be around without them even realizing the negative impact of their words.

6) “You always…” or “You never…”

We all, at some point, fall into the trap of speaking in absolutes, especially when emotions are running high. Phrases like “You always…” or “You never…” often slip out during heated conversations.

These phrases can feel accusatory and unfair, painting the other person’s actions with a broad brush. They can make the receiver feel cornered and defensive, as if they’re being judged based on a single trait or action.

I remember a time when a loved one told me “You never listen.” I felt unseen and unappreciated. It made me question my worth in their eyes.

Speaking in absolutes like this can strain relationships and make interactions with the speaker feel uncomfortable and difficult. Recognizing the impact of such phrases is the first step towards healthier communication.

7) “Whatever”

Disagreements are part of life. They can be challenging, but they also provide an opportunity for growth and understanding. However, there’s one phrase that can instantly shut down any constructive conversation – “Whatever.”

“Whatever” can come across as dismissive and indifferent. It can feel as though the speaker is uninterested in resolving the issue or discussing it further.

I remember a heated argument I had with a close friend. Just when I thought we were making progress, they said, “Whatever.” It felt like a door slammed in my face. I was left feeling unheard and invalidated.

Using “Whatever” in this way can make it difficult for others to feel comfortable around us, often without us realizing the impact of our words.

8) “Calm down”

When emotions are running high, it’s natural to want to diffuse the situation. However, one phrase that often achieves the opposite effect is “Calm down.”

While it may be intended to soothe, “Calm down” can come across as dismissive. It can make the other person feel like their emotions are being trivialized or overlooked.

Instead of helping them regain composure, it might provoke even more frustration or agitation. It’s a phrase that can make interactions tense and difficult, often without the speaker realizing the negative impact of their words.

9) “At least…”

In our attempts to offer comfort or perspective, we might resort to using the phrase “At least…”. While it’s often meant to help the other person see the silver lining, it can unintentionally minimize their feelings or experiences.

The phrase “At least…” can seem to suggest that the person’s pain or struggle isn’t significant enough. It can give the impression that their feelings are being compared and measured against others’ problems, which can be hurtful and dismissive.

Remember, empathy is about understanding and sharing in someone’s feelings. It’s not about offering solutions or comparisons. Using “At least…” can make someone difficult to be around, often without them even realizing the impact of their words.

Final thoughts: The power of words

The way we communicate and express ourselves plays a significant role in our relationships and interactions. Our words can build bridges or create walls, bring joy or cause pain. They carry an immense power that we often underestimate.

In our day-to-day conversations, we may unknowingly use phrases that make us difficult to be around. These phrases, though seemingly innocent, can have a profound impact on the people around us.

Renowned American poet Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

As we navigate through our social circles, let’s strive to be more mindful of our words. Let’s foster an environment of understanding and empathy, where everyone feels heard and valued. After all, it’s not just about what we say, but how we say it that truly matters.

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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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