People who lack patience and sensitivity frequently use these 10 phrases without realizing their impact

There are times in life when we all, without realizing it, say things that can come across as insensitive or impatient. Perhaps it’s a result of stress or maybe even just a bad day.

Often, it’s not a case of being intentionally hurtful.

You may just be trying to express your thoughts or feelings but the words that tumble out end up causing more harm than good.

We’ve all been there – the foot-in-the-mouth scenario.

In this article, I’ll be shedding some light on those pesky phrases that we sometimes use without understanding their true impact. Let’s dive in:

1) “Calm down, it’s not a big deal”

We’ve all heard this phrase before.

Maybe you’ve even said it yourself a few times without thinking about its implications.

But when someone is feeling upset or emotional, the last thing they want to hear is that what they’re feeling isn’t valid.

Telling someone to calm down, especially when they’re in the throes of an emotional reaction, can actually come across as dismissive and insensitive, even if that wasn’t your intention. 

It’s like you’re trying to put out a fire with gasoline – it just makes things worse.

Instead of telling someone to calm down, try listening to understand their perspective and validate their feelings.

2) “You’re too sensitive”

I’ve been on the receiving end of this phrase more times than I’d like to admit.

It’s a comment that stings, especially when you’re already feeling vulnerable.

The problem with telling someone they’re too sensitive is that it’s a judgment, not an observation.

It’s like saying their feelings are too much or too intense, and that they should somehow tone it down.

Nobody wants to feel like their emotions are a burden to others.

3) “You’re overreacting”

I remember once at a family gathering when I was really upset about something, I was trying to express my feelings when my cousin interrupted me with, “You’re overreacting.”

In that moment, I felt my emotions being invalidated.

My feelings, which were very real and raw to me, were being dismissed as an overreaction.

The phrase “You’re overreacting” is often used by people who may not have the patience or sensitivity to deal with someone else’s emotions.

But here’s the thing:

What might seem like an overreaction to one person could be a completely appropriate response for another.

After all, emotions are subjective. 

So, let’s try to replace “You’re overreacting” with “Help me understand why you feel this way”. It’s a small shift in language that can make a big difference.

4) “I don’t have time for this”

This phrase is commonly used in moments of frustration when patience is running thin.

“I don’t have time for this” sends a clear message that the other person’s feelings or concerns are not worth your time.

It may not be your intention, but it can come across as extremely insensitive.

Instead of saying you don’t have time, try saying “I want to give this the attention it deserves, can we talk about it later?” This way, you’re acknowledging the importance of the situation without letting your impatience take the driver’s seat.

5) “Whatever”

Sometimes, it’s not about the words you say, but the way you say them.

And “Whatever” is a classic example of that.

This phrase, when used dismissively, can be very hurtful. It’s essentially saying, “I don’t care about your feelings or what you have to say.”

Now, I’m not suggesting we strike “whatever” from our vocabulary.

It’s a perfectly good word when used in the right context. But when used as a way to shut down communication, it becomes a weapon of insensitivity.

Next time you feel like throwing out a curt “Whatever”, try a simple “I hear you”. This can go a long way in showing that you respect and value their feelings and thoughts.

6) “That’s just how I am”

We’ve all met someone who justifies their impatience or insensitivity with this phrase.

It’s as if they’re saying their behavior is set in stone and there’s no room for change or improvement.

I call BS.

Because the truth is, we’re all capable of growth and change, especially when it comes to our interactions with others.

Using “That’s just how I am” as an excuse to avoid self-improvement can lead to strained relationships and missed opportunities for personal growth.

I’ll admit, in the past, I’ve used this line.

But as I started becoming more aware of my behavior, and importantly, my words, I realized the importance of taking responsibility for my actions. I couldn’t grow or develop as a person if I resorted to this logic every time I messed up or hurt someone’s feelings. 

7) “You always…” or “You never…”

These are two phrases that can instantly put anyone on the defensive.

They are sweeping statements that label and limit the other person, often ignoring their efforts to change or improve.

When we use “always” or “never”, we’re not allowing room for growth or change. We’re basically saying, “This is who you are and it’s not going to change.”

Next time you find yourself using either of the above, try to instead focus on specific instances or behaviors. Saying something like, “I noticed that you did this and it made me feel this way” is much more constructive.

10) “It’s not my problem”

Finally, this phrase can be like a punch in the gut.

It communicates a lack of empathy, a refusal to engage, and sends a clear message that the person does not care about your feelings or problems.

And while it’s true that we can’t take on everyone’s problems, it’s also true that showing a bit of empathy and understanding can go a long way in making someone feel heard and valued.

Instead of saying “It’s not my problem”, we could say, “I’m really sorry you’re going through this. Is there anything I can do to help?”

This shows that you care about the person and their feelings, even if you can’t solve their problems for them.

Remember, it’s not always about fixing things – sometimes, it’s just about being there.

Wrapping up

We’ve all been there, using a phrase without realizing its impact on the other person. The good thing is, awareness is the first step towards change.

The phrases we’ve discussed are often used without any ill intent but can be perceived as dismissive or insensitive by others. By simply being more aware of our language and its impact, we can make our conversations more empathetic and understanding.

Try to replace these phrases with more empathetic alternatives, and see how this changes your interactions.

Picture of Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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