If someone is emotionally intelligent, they’ll never say these 8 phrases

Emotionally intelligent people are highly tuned into their own emotions and the emotions of others. They know how powerful words can be and there are just certain things they’d never say. 

Not everyone has this emotional filter that stops them from blurting out hurtful things. Research suggests that only 36% of people can identify emotions as they happen.  

It’s fair to say: the world would be a better place if everyone was just a little bit more emotionally intelligent. 

A good place to start is to be mindful of things we say and don’t say. So today, I’m sharing 8 phrases that emotionally intelligent people never use. You can start improving your emotional intelligence right away by removing these phrases from your speech. 

How many of these are you guilty of saying? I know I’ve uttered a few in the past. 

Let’s dive in.

1) “That’s not my problem”

You’d never hear someone high in emotional intelligence say “That’s not my problem” no matter what situation they’re in. 

People with high EQ value empathy and they know that showing understanding and helping others are key to building strong lasting relationships. They’re big on compassion and empathy for others 

If you ever hear this phrase from someone, it’s a dead giveaway that they’ve got low emotional intelligence. 

2) “You’re overreacting”

Is there anything more frustrating than being told you’re overreacting when you’re upset about something big? 

Let’s be honest: sometimes people can be a little dramatic with their reactions to things. But it’s still not ok to say “You’re overreacting”.

When someone says this you just know instantly that they lack emotional intelligence because they’re minimizing how someone feels.

Someone with high EQ would never do this, they know how important it is to let people know they’re seen, heard, and cared for. They’re great at providing emotional validation and support when their friends need it most. 

3) “It was just a joke, chill”

We’ve all witnessed a joke that hasn’t landed quite like the joker had hoped, right? 

What happens next tells you a lot about the person who made the joke. They’ll either apologize for hurting someone’s feelings or they’ll brush it off by saying something like “It was just a joke, chill.”

Someone with high EQ would never try to hide behind the fact that it was meant to be a joke. They’re aware how their actions can impact someone else, even if it wasn’t their intention. 

I recently witnessed this scenario firsthand when a colleague made a joke about veganism in the office. One of the girls who happens to be a vegan heard it and wasn’t happy. Unfortunately, my friend’s response showed his lack of empathy claiming “It was just a joke.” 

If you want to come across as more emotionally intelligent, avoid this phrase. 

4) “You’re too sensitive”

I’ve heard this phrase thrown around a lot, people will say things like “She’s just too sensitive” or “They’re being a bit sensitive”. But what’s wrong with being sensitive? 

The truth is: if you take offense to something someone says and they put the blame back on you by telling you “You’re too sensitive” then it’s a telltale sign they lack emotional intelligence.  

We know that people with high EQ, value empathy and understanding, and calling someone too sensitive shows a complete lack of empathy. As outlined by mental health organization HelpGuide.org “low empathy can also lead you to believe that the people around you are too sensitive”.

Someone with high EQ acknowledges and respects people’s emotions and wouldn’t minimize them by claiming they’re too sensitive. 

5) “Now you’re just being over dramatic” 

 Another phrase you’d never hear from an emotionally intelligent person is “Now you’re just being over dramatic”.

Emotionally intelligent people know that how someone feels is unique to them and it’s never their place to comment on or cast judgment on it, even if they don’t agree with the reaction. 

Calling someone over dramatic is dismissive, discourages them from sharing how they really feel in the future, and completely invalidates them as if they don’t matter. 

We could all learn to respect other people’s feelings more even if we don’t fully understand them, and a great starting point is to never use this phrase again. 

6) “…and that’s the end of it”

Do you know anyone who regularly uses dismissive language? It’s like they view everything as black and white and leave no room for emotions. 

They might say something like “I’ve made my decision and that’s the end of it” or “You’ll just have to deal with it and that’s the end of it”. Dismissive language like this highlights low EQ. 

People who use these phrases don’t understand or recognize emotions. They don’t realize the importance of bringing people on a journey with them, instead, they think they can click their fingers and people will obey them.

It reminds me of when Meryl Streep played Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. A cold character with painfully low levels of emotional intelligence, she often finishes interactions by dismissively saying “That’s all”.

As you strive to become more emotionally intelligent, it’s best to avoid phrases like this that cut out any room for people to express emotions. 

7) “I have no idea why you’re getting so upset”

People with high emotional intelligence would never say “I have no idea why you’re getting so upset”. These people are hardwired to recognize, acknowledge, and understand emotions. 

That doesn’t make them mind readers so sure, sometimes they’ll be confused about why someone is upset. The difference is instead of saying something cold and dismissive like this, they’ll ask more soft and gentle questions to understand what’s happening. 

Emotionally intelligent people will communicate with respect and empathy toward the other person. They won’t hide behind not understanding what’s going on, they’ll figure it out with you. 

Next time you feel frustrated when you don’t understand someone’s emotions, try something like “Help me to understand what you’re feeling right now” and watch the whole conversation change for the better. 

8) “Just calm down”

A while back, I had an argument with my sister over the phone. When I hung up the frustration was still running through my veins when my boyfriend came into the room and said “Just calm down now, she’s off the phone”. 

When I heard those words “calm down” I saw red and as a result, we ended up also having a row. Needless to say, he’s never made the mistake of telling me to calm down again. 

This is a hugely popular phrase that you’ll never hear an emotionally intelligent person use. Remember these guys understand and recognize emotions, it’s their specialty. 

They know that when someone feels a heightened sense of emotions, simply telling them to calm down is only going to add fuel to the fire. 

If you want to be more emotionally intelligent, be sure to avoid this phrase at all costs. 

Final thoughts

There you have it, 8 phrases that you’d never hear an emotionally intelligent person say. 

If you’ve said any of these phrases in the past, don’t worry. We’ve all been there. Developing emotional intelligence is a journey that we go through in our lives. You’ll never be perfect but there’s always room to improve. 

If you catch yourself saying any of these phrases going forward, pause and think of a way to rephrase them that’s more understanding and compassionate towards others. It’s a small change that will have a big impact on you and the people around you. 

Cat Harper

Cat is an experienced Sales and Enablement professional turned writer whose passions span from psychology and relationships to continuous self-improvement, lifelong learning and pushing back on societal expectations to forge a life she loves. An avid traveler and adventure sports enthusiast, in her downtime you'll find Cat snowboarding, motorcycling or working on her latest self-development project.

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