If someone consistently uses these 10 phrases, they might be secretly unhappy

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Have you ever chatted with someone who seems all sunshine and rainbows, but the words they use are kind of… off? It’s like their smiles don’t match their sentences.

Well, turns out, there are certain phrases that can be secret signs of someone feeling unhappy – even if they don’t say it outright.

Let’s dive right in and uncover these 10 telltale phrases. Keep your eyes peeled – you might just spot someone who could use a real smile.

1. “I’m fine, just tired”

Ever get the classic “I’m fine, just tired” response when you ask someone how they’re doing? It’s almost like a reflex, isn’t it?

But if you hear this phrase over and over again, it might be time to pause and think.

Sure, we all have our off days where we didn’t get enough sleep. But if someone is always “just tired,” there could be more to the story.

Being constantly tired can be a cover for a bunch of emotions – from sadness to stress or even feeling overwhelmed. It’s easier to say you’re tired than to admit you’re not happy.

Next time you hear this from a friend, coworker, or family member, it might be worth a gentle follow-up question or simply offering your company.

Sometimes, a little chat can be just what they need to open up about what’s really going on.

2. “I don’t care, whatever”

When someone shrugs off decisions with an “I don’t care, whatever,” pay attention. This might not be the chill attitude it seems to be.

If this phrase pops up a lot, it could be a sign that the person feels disconnected or indifferent – and that’s often a sidekick of unhappiness.

Indifference can be a defense mechanism. It’s like saying, “If I don’t care, then it can’t hurt me.”

But this armor might actually be hiding feelings of helplessness or a lack of joy.

If your buddy is constantly giving the power to others to make choices, they might not be feeling great about their own life.

When someone hits you with an “I don’t care, whatever,” try to engage them a bit more. Ask what they really like or prefer.

It’s a simple way to show you value their opinion and, who knows, it might just crack open that door to a deeper convo about what’s really bugging them.

3. “It’s not a big deal”

I remember a time when a close friend of mine was going through some rough patches.

No matter what happened, even if it was something that clearly upset them, they’d brush it off with a quick, “It’s not a big deal.”

At first, I thought they were just super laid-back about life’s curveballs. But after hearing it time and again, I started to realize there was something deeper at play.

One evening, we were hanging out when they got a disappointing text – something about work not going well.

And there it was, their go-to phrase: “It’s not a big deal.”

This time, I decided to gently challenge that. I said, “Hey, it seems like it is a big deal to you, and that’s totally okay. Want to talk about it?”

That was the moment their guard came down. We ended up having a heartfelt conversation about the stress they were under.

This phrase can be someone’s way of protecting themselves from admitting that things are actually affecting them.

By sharing our own concerns and showing vulnerability first, we can encourage others to open up and share what’s really weighing on their hearts.

4. “I just want to be alone right now”

It’s perfectly healthy to need some alone time now and then. In fact, a little solitude can help with self-discovery and resetting one’s mental state.

But there’s a flip side. If someone you know is constantly insisting, “I just want to be alone right now,” especially when they used to enjoy socializing, it might be a red flag for underlying unhappiness.

An interesting fact to consider is that, according to psychologists, while solitude can be rejuvenating, excessive isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression.

When someone is frequently seeking to withdraw from others, they might be trying to hide their unhappiness or avoid addressing issues that are bothering them.

When you hear this phrase being used too often by someone, it might be worth gently checking in on them.

While respecting their need for space, making sure they know you’re there when they’re ready to talk can make all the difference.

5. “I’m just not lucky like other people”

Hearing someone say, “I’m just not lucky like other people,” can tug at your heartstrings. It’s a phrase that echoes a sense of defeat and a belief that life’s goodness is reserved for others, but not for them.

This sentiment often comes from a place of deep-seated unhappiness or frustration with how things are turning out in their life.

Feeling unlucky is more than just experiencing a bad day; it’s about consistently seeing oneself as the victim of unfortunate circumstances, which can be a heavy emotional burden to bear.

It’s a reflection of hopelessness and the feeling that no matter what they do, it won’t be good enough to change their fortune.

When you hear this phrase, it’s an opportunity to offer heartfelt support. Reminding them of their strengths and past successes can help counteract these feelings.

Encourage them to focus on one positive thing each day, however small it may seem.

This can gradually help shift their perspective from one of perpetual misfortune to recognizing the potential for good in their life.

Sometimes, the most heartfelt thing we can do is to help someone see the light in themselves when all they can see is darkness.

6. “Nothing ever goes right for me”

This phrase hits close to home because I’ve caught myself saying it during tougher times. ”

Nothing ever goes right for me” is a line that would slip out when I felt overwhelmed by a series of challenges.

Each time I said it, I believed it a little more, and it felt like I was under a cloud where every silver lining was just another shade of grey.

I remember one particularly rough week when everything seemed to go wrong – from work problems to a minor car accident.

It was like a mantra of defeat, “Nothing ever goes right for me,” said with a half-hearted attempt at humor, but deep down, there was real pain.

What changed things for me was a friend who noticed this pattern. Instead of agreeing or trying to cheer me up with empty platitudes, they asked me to list one thing that had gone right each day, even if it was as simple as enjoying my morning coffee.

That small exercise started to crack the shell of my negativity. It helped me see that while not everything was going my way, there were still moments of success and joy.

Now, when I hear someone else trapped in that same refrain, I share my experience and suggest the same simple daily practice.

It’s not an instant fix, but it’s a start – a way to kindle hope and find balance amid the chaos.

7. “Why does this always happen to me?”

When someone constantly asks, “Why does this always happen to me?” it’s like they’re carrying around a sign that says, “I expect the worst.”

I’ve seen it in the eyes of friends who are struggling, and it’s a tough pill to swallow.

It’s this raw admission that they feel singled out by life, cursed almost, to be on the receiving end of all things bad.

This question isn’t just about looking for answers. It’s a gut-level reaction to pain and disappointment that seems relentless.

It’s the voice of someone who’s been knocked down so often, getting back up feels pointless.

The honesty in this phrase is striking because it’s not just about venting frustration – it’s a cry for understanding and a desperate search for meaning in the midst of hardship.

When I hear it, it reminds me to step back and offer more than just comfort. It calls for a response that acknowledges their struggle without dismissing it – maybe sharing my own moments of asking the same question and how I navigated through them.

Because sometimes, the most healing thing you can give someone is validation of their feelings and the space to be heard without judgment.

8. “I guess it’s just my fate”

This phrase can be a real heartbreaker. When someone says, “I guess it’s just my fate,” they’re essentially throwing their hands up to the universe and saying, “I have no control over what happens to me.”

It’s a resignation, a white flag signaling defeat in the face of life’s battles. And that sense of powerlessness? It’s a classic symptom of unhappiness.

The concept of learned helplessness describes a condition in which a person has learned to behave helplessly, even when there are opportunities for them to help themselves.

This feeling often arises after experiencing repeated failures or uncontrollable events.

When someone chalks up their life to fate, they might be stuck in this cycle of learned helplessness.

They’ve come to believe that their actions won’t change the outcome, so why bother trying? If you’re hearing this phrase from someone close to you, it might be time to gently remind them that they do have agency in their lives.

Encourage small steps, celebrate even minor victories, and help them see that they can indeed influence their path – fate is not the sole author of their story.

9. “I used to have big dreams”

This one stings when I hear it because I’ve been there myself. “I used to have big dreams” is a phrase that’s escaped my lips more than once, often during late-night conversations or moments of self-reflection.

It’s a personal confession, a glance back at the younger version of myself who was brimming with aspirations and the sobering realization that somewhere along the line, I let them slip away.

Saying this out loud can feel like admitting a loss – mourning the futures we painted in broad strokes but never brought to life.

It’s not just nostalgia; it’s the acknowledgment of unmet potential and the quiet grief that comes with it.

Remembering how it felt to say those words makes my heart go out to anyone else who does the same. It’s a reminder to reach out and touch that part of them that still dares to dream.

To say, “Your dreams might have changed, but they don’t have to disappear.”

Sometimes we all need that nudge, a voice that tells us it’s never too late to dust off those old ambitions or find new ones to chase after. Because dreams are resilient, and so are we.

10. “I just don’t enjoy things the way I used to”

This one cuts deep. It’s a raw admission that the color has faded from life’s tapestry, leaving everything a bit more gray. “I just don’t enjoy things the way I used to” is often spoken in a quiet voice, a mix of confusion and sorrow.

It’s the realization that the activities, hobbies, or social events that once sparked joy now feel dull and lifeless.

When someone shares this, it’s not for lack of trying to recapture that lost passion; it’s an honest confession that despite their efforts, the spark just isn’t there. This phrase can be a significant signpost pointing toward depression, where anhedonia – the inability to feel pleasure – takes hold.

Hearing these words can be a call to action for those who care. It’s not about offering quick fixes or telling them to “cheer up.” Instead, it’s about acknowledging their struggle, validating their feelings, and sitting with them in that uncomfortable space.

The raw honesty in their words deserves an equally sincere response – one that says, “I’m here with you, for as long as it takes to find some color again.”

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.

Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.

With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.

 

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

If your partner displays these 9 behaviors, they’re secretly afraid of losing you

If you recognize these 9 behaviors, your partner is hiding something from you