If someone uses these 10 phrases in conversation, they have a difficult personality

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There’s a fine line between having a robust personality and being just plain difficult.

The line is crossed when someone repeatedly uses certain phrases that belittle others or create unnecessary conflict.

Identifying a difficult personality isn’t only about the what, but the how. It’s not just about what they say, but how they say it.

Here are 10 phrases that, if someone uses regularly in a conversation, might indicate they have a difficult personality.

Let’s dive in. 

1) “I’m just being honest”

We’ve all met those people who pride themselves on their brutal honesty.

Saying “I’m just being honest” can often be a thin disguise for being unnecessarily harsh or unkind. This phrase is commonly used by difficult personalities to justify their abrasive comments.

Sure, honesty is an admirable trait. But there’s a world of difference between being honest and being brutally frank to the point of rudeness.

Consider this: if someone consistently uses this phrase, it might be a sign they’re using honesty as an excuse to drop tact and empathy from their communication. And that’s a classic sign of a difficult personality.

There’s a way to deliver constructive criticism without resorting to blunt force trauma. It’s called tact. And it’s something difficult personalities often lack.

2) “You’re too sensitive”

Let me share a personal example about this one.

I once had a friend who would often make snide remarks about my appearance, my job, and my lifestyle choices. When I confronted her about it, her go-to line was always, “You’re too sensitive.”

This phrase is a classic blame-shifter. Instead of acknowledging their own hurtful behavior, they put the onus on you for reacting to it. They make you feel like you’re the problem, not their insensitivity.

In essence, they’re saying, “I don’t have to change my behavior; you need to change how you react to it.” And let me tell you, that’s not just difficult – it’s downright toxic.

If someone regularly tells you that you’re overreacting or being too sensitive, consider it a red flag.

3) “That’s not my problem”

The phrase “That’s not my problem” is a telltale sign of a difficult personality. It’s an outright refusal to show empathy or offer assistance, even when it’s within their capability to do so.

Interestingly, studies have shown that people who regularly use this phrase tend to score high on the narcissism scale. Narcissists often lack empathy and have a strong sense of entitlement, brushing off issues that don’t directly benefit or concern them.

In a healthy relationship, be it personal or professional, we’re expected to show concern for others’ issues, even if they don’t directly affect us.

When someone opts for “That’s not my problem” instead of offering help or at least sympathy, it can indicate they’re not easy to deal with.

4) “Whatever”

You might think “whatever” is just a harmless, casual phrase. But it’s not always as innocuous as it seems.

In many contexts, “whatever” is a verbal eye roll. It’s dismissive. It signals that the speaker really doesn’t care about your opinion or feelings.

They’re essentially shutting you down without explicitly saying so. The conversation ends there, with no chance for you to explain or defend your viewpoint.

If someone uses this phrase often, it could be a sign that they’re not interested in engaging in meaningful conversations or considering others’ perspectives. And that’s a hallmark of a difficult personality.

5) “I don’t care”

This phrase can be a double-edged sword. There are times when “I don’t care” is used to express indifference towards trivial matters. But when it’s used in response to serious discussions or emotional revelations, it’s a clear sign of a difficult personality.

“I don’t care” dismisses the relevance or significance of the topic at hand. It’s a way for someone to dodge responsibility, avoid engagement, or belittle your feelings.

When used frequently in important conversations, it shows a lack of empathy and understanding. It might indicate that the person isn’t willing to invest time or effort in understanding others’ perspectives, which can make them tough to get along with.

6) “Why is it always about you?”

This phrase can really sting. It’s often thrown around by difficult personalities to belittle your feelings and make you feel selfish, even when you’re expressing genuine concerns or emotions.

Hearing “Why is it always about you?” can make you second-guess yourself. It can make you feel like your feelings don’t matter, like you’re not worthy of attention.

But remember this: everyone has a right to express their feelings. You are not selfish for wanting to talk about your problems.

If someone consistently uses this phrase to deflect conversations about your emotions or concerns, it might be a sign that they have a difficult personality. They’re making it hard for you to share your experiences, which is crucial for any healthy relationship.

7) “You wouldn’t understand”

Once, I shared a deeply personal dilemma with a close friend in hopes of gaining some insight. Instead of offering a listening ear or some advice, the response I received was, “You wouldn’t understand.”

This phrase is often used as a defensive mechanism. It shuts down the conversation and creates an unnecessary barrier between the speakers.

When used repeatedly, it indicates a lack of trust or respect for the other person’s ability to grasp or empathize with complex situations. It’s also a way of keeping others at an emotional distance, which is characteristic of a difficult personality.

Everyone has the capacity to understand if given the chance. By using this phrase, they’re denying you that chance.

8) “I’m sorry you feel that way”

At first glance, this might seem like an apology. But look closer. It’s a masterclass in passive aggression.

“I’m sorry you feel that way” isn’t an apology at all. It’s a way of denying responsibility for the issue at hand, while giving the illusion of remorse.

Instead of acknowledging their actions or words that caused hurt, they’re essentially saying they’re sorry for your feelings – something they can’t control.

This phrase can be a clever tactic used by difficult personalities to dodge accountability while seeming empathetic.

If you hear this phrase regularly, it might be a sign that you’re dealing with someone who has a knack for making things difficult.

9) “I don’t need your advice”

While it’s essential to have confidence in our own abilities, dismissing others’ advice outright can signal a difficult personality.

The phrase “I don’t need your advice” can come off as arrogant and dismissive. It shuts down the opportunity for open dialogue and can make the other person feel undervalued.

Frequently using this phrase suggests a person is not open to others’ perspectives or insights. They’ve essentially created a one-way street where only their opinions matter.

This level of close-mindedness can be challenging to deal with, making constructive communication nearly impossible.

10) “It’s all your fault”

This phrase is perhaps the most damning of all. “It’s all your fault” is a blunt instrument of blame, used by difficult personalities to absolve themselves of any responsibility.

No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. But in a healthy relationship, blame is shared, discussed, and dealt with constructively.

Consistently blaming others without taking any responsibility for one’s actions shows a lack of self-awareness and an inability to accept criticism or admit mistakes.

If this phrase is a regular part of someone’s vocabulary, it’s a clear sign they have a difficult personality. It points to an individual who may not be willing to engage in the give-and-take that makes relationships work.

Final thoughts: It’s about growth

When it comes to human behavior, there is a myriad of factors at play. Our background, experiences, and even our brain chemistry can influence our patterns of communication.

If someone uses these 10 phrases regularly, it might be indicative of a difficult personality. However, it’s crucial to remember that people can evolve and grow.

Just as a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, individuals can go through transformations. Neuroscience has shown that our brains are capable of change and adaptation throughout our lives – a concept known as neuroplasticity.

So, while these phrases might indicate a difficult personality, they don’t seal someone’s fate. Awareness is the first step towards change. Once we’re aware of our damaging patterns of communication, we can take steps to modify them.

As you reflect on these phrases, consider not only how they apply to others but also whether you might be using them yourself. After all, the journey to personal growth often starts with self-reflection.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor 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 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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