Have you ever opened up to someone just to feel like they don’t really care or understand?
Like, you’re pouring your heart out, and they respond with a totally off-track comment.
It’s happened to me. And I get it – it sucks!
Being vulnerable is hard enough. The last thing you need is for someone to be dismissive or make you feel worse.
Empathy isn’t an easy skill. And some people genuinely try, even though their words still hurt a little.
I’m not saying you should hate everyone who isn’t super supportive, but you deserve to connect with people who truly get you.
Spotting those who don’t early on will save you a lot of heartbreak.
So, if you ever want to talk about your feelings, avoid people who usually say something like…
1) “Well, it could be worse…”
Most of the time, when you share terrible news or tell someone about a difficult thing you’re going through, you want them to acknowledge and maybe even validate what you’re feeling.
So, if someone tells you that you just need to look at the bright side or that things could have been worse, it hurts more than it does any good.
People usually use this phrase when they’re uncomfortable with negative emotions or believe that by pointing worse things out, they’re providing perspective.
However, it’s never okay to dismiss one particular hardship because of another.
Sure, we all need a wake-up call every now and then. If you’re reading this, your life is probably better than many people can imagine.
But that doesn’t mean you’re wrong for feeling whatever you feel because of whatever you’re going through.
Similarly, they could also say…
2) “That’s just how life is.”
Besides trying to dismiss your situation, people often use this phrase when they don’t want to engage with the emotional side of what you’re sharing.
Sometimes, it’s because they’ve been through something similar and want to distance themselves from feeling what they felt in the past.
Another possible reason is that they feel unequipped to deal with what you’re feeling or just uncomfortable with emotional expression in general.
Hearing this can make you feel even more defeated when you’re sharing your disappointment or frustration. The phrase implies that you should simply accept what’s happening without complaining.
If someone uses it, there’s a pretty good chance they don’t want to offer you any real support or understanding.
3) “You’re being too sensitive.”
Sometimes, people don’t dismiss the situation you’re in. Instead, they imply that your reaction to it is the issue.
You’ll typically hear this from someone causing you the hurt or discomfort. They might use this phrase to deflect responsibility and avoid addressing their own potentially harmful behavior.
It’s easier to question someone else’s reaction than to examine and change your own actions.
But people who do this don’t realize they can make you feel like your emotions are wrong, even when not.
It’s a horrible thing to do.
And what makes it even worse is when someone says…
4) “Stop being so dramatic.”
Someone who says this to you not only thinks your emotional response is wrong but also suggests that you’re putting up a performance or exaggerating.
It’s a harsh way to dismiss someone’s genuine feelings and underestimate their self-worth.
Empathy involves understanding the depth of someone else’s emotional state. Using this phrase suggests that your feelings aren’t that serious.
Some people also use this phrase to shut down conversations. This can be because they don’t care about what you’re dealing with or feel uncomfortable with high levels of emotional expression.
Whatever the reason, hearing this phrase can make you feel invalidated or belittled, which is totally normal.
5) “Just get over it.”
Every person’s emotional journey is unique. When you’re going through something tough, you need people who will support you, understand you, and be willing to give you the time you need to process your feelings.
Being told to “Just get over it” completely dismisses your emotions and experience.
People who say this are insensitive and lack empathy for you.
It’s never okay to tell someone to move past something without regard for the factors contributing to their emotional state.
People saying this don’t realize how invalidated, unheard, and unsupported it can make someone feel.
If you ever hear this, know you won’t be free to process your emotions around whoever is saying it to you.
The same is true with people who say…
6) “You always make everything about yourself.”
This phrase suggests that you’re self-centered or excessively focused on your own concerns instead of someone experiencing or feeling something that is entirely valid.
It can make you feel incredibly guilty for having the emotions you have or even make you doubt that what you’re feeling is acceptable.
Someone may use this phrase when you tend to dominate situations, but that still doesn’t make it okay.
People who empathize with others will address whatever issues there are with sensitivity and a genuine attempt to understand different perspectives.
They won’t discourage you from expressing your emotions or sharing experiences by using a phrase like this.
7) “Try to look on the bright side!”
Another crowd favorite…
Sometimes, people might use this phrase with good intentions, hoping to uplift your spirits.
But mostly, it doesn’t. And you just feel even worse for not being able to see the good in whatever you’re going through.
Someone who lacks empathy for you will say this in an insensitive tone and only because they want to dismiss what you’re feeling.
It could also be that they don’t understand why you’re sad, frustrated, or upset. So, they use this phrase to brush off your emotions, hoping you can continue the conversation about something else.
Empathy involves allowing someone to share their feelings, even when you don’t really get it.
Helping them see the positive later is okay, but first, you need to let them go through the process.
Someone who cares about you will have empathy for you.
Instead of rushing you to heal or dismissing your feelings, they’ll be a listening ear or helping hand. And when you’re ready, they’ll offer the support you need to move on.
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.