View Full Version : Common Phrases that damage relationships

07-14-2016, 04:21 AM
“I’m sorry, but…” or, “I’m sorry, if…”

When we use phrases like this our intention might be to explain that we didn’t intend to cause hurt. We might want to mitigate our actions in the eyes of the person who has been hurt so that they know that there were no malicious intentions.

“You always…” or, “You never…” or, “You make me…”

Unless they end with a compliment, these phrases can damage any relationship. First of all, “you always” and, “you never” are emotionally manipulative. They’re also not very honest. Very few people never or always do anything.

“Why don’t you just…”

It seems pretty innocent, doesn’t it? Somebody has a problem and you have a solution that you believe is quite simple. So, you offer it up: “Why don’t you just do this clearly simple thing that has worked for me in the past?” Here’s the problem. First of all, there’s a lot of assumptions being made in that statement.


There might not be a more passive-aggressive, unkind, or dismissive word in the English language. This word can be used to dismiss something another person has said or how they feel, to indicate that they are not worth conversing with, and to contemptibly claim victory in an exchange without actually arguing any points of merit. It’s also a word that is used as a weapon when aren’t willing to communicate honestly. It is best to stop using this phrase entirely, especially in a new work environment.

“I’m always wrong,” or, “I’m such an awful person.”

When we use these phrases, we’re not admitting we’re wrong, we’re attempting to set ourselves up as a martyr. If someone really does feel this way, it might be a good idea to seek out counseling in order to deal with some self-esteem issues. Otherwise, this is pure manipulation. If you’ve done something wrong, and take such an extreme emotional reaction when it is pointed out to you, it turns the tables on the person you have wronged. Instead of addressing the issue at hand, they must now focus on our feelings.

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