If someone uses these 10 phrases, they lack kindness and empathy for others

People who lack empathy are challenging to interact with.

They have difficulty understanding others’ perspectives, so they make insensitive remarks.

And while they don’t think their inappropriate comments are a big deal, words can cut deeply.

Next time you suspect that a person doesn’t have a compassionate bone in their body, pay attention to how they speak.  

If someone uses these 10 phrases, they lack kindness and empathy for others.

You might want to keep your distance, or you risk getting hurt time and time again.

1) “I don’t care”

Not caring about trivial stuff isn’t a problem until this indifference is expressed about someone’s feelings or concerns.

When you dismiss another person’s emotions, you make them feel unworthy and unimportant.

The phrase can be perceived as unkind and lacking empathy for a few reasons:

  • It conveys a lack of consideration for the other person’s experiences
  • It suggests complete disinterest in understanding and supporting them
  • It leads to a breakdown in communication, as conversations tend to end abruptly after that
  • It implies a complete failure to connect with others

People who don’t care about others spend their free time grumpy and alone.


2) “You’re overreacting”

Accusing someone of overreacting or being dramatic dismisses their emotions and invalidates their feelings.

What may seem minor to you can feel like the end of the world to someone else.

Or the opposite. Maybe something exciting happens to them, and telling them to tone it down dampens their enthusiasm.

I scored Taylor Swift concert tickets earlier this year.

The demand was huge, chances of getting them were slim, the purchasing process was unbearable.

When I finally got the confirmation email, I was over the moon.

Fast-forward to a couple of days later.

While having lunch with a casual friend, I tell her how thrilled I am that I get to go to the concert, how I need an outfit, how I plan to make friendship bracelets so I can trade them with other fans on the big day.

The works.  

Her response? “Why are you making such a fuss? It’s just a concert, and it’s months away.”

She made me feel silly and childish.


3) “You’re too sensitive”

If someone keeps accusing others of being too sensitive, their kindness is in short supply.

“You’re such a snowflake.” “You need to toughen up.” “You must grow a thicker skin.”

Umm, no, thank you.

Being sensitive is who I am, and I’m tired of apologizing for it.

It’s even more annoying when the person in question employs this phrase after making a cutting joke at your expense or openly mocking you.  

When you tell them their words bothered you, instead of apologizing, they accuse you of not having a sense of humor.

If only eye-rolls could hurt as much as careless words.

4) “Why can’t you just be normal?”

Labeling someone weird or a freak obviously shows a lack of understanding and empathy for their unique experiences.

Especially once you’re out of middle school.

(Many kids are cruel; I don’t make the rules.)

This question is rude and ignorant:

  • It implies a judgmental attitude
  • It indicates a lack of effort to understand the other person’s perspective
  • It invalidates the other person’s identity, suggesting that their natural self is unacceptable
  • It’s damaging to the person’s self-esteem

The phrase assumes a narrow definition of “normal” without recognizing the diversity of the human experience.

There’s no such thing as normal.

We’re all mad here.

5) “It’s all in your head”

If someone frequently accuses people of imagining things, they lack kindness and empathy for their point of view.

As a chronic overthinker who struggles with her mental health, for instance, I know that a lot of my issues are, indeed, all in my head.

When I share them with others, I’m not looking for confirmation of that fact.

I’m hoping for a listening ear and, perhaps, some encouragement.

It’s not rocket science.

6) “That’s not my problem”

Kind people generally don’t mind lending a helping hand.

When someone downright refuses to assist others without expecting anything in return, they out themselves as selfish.

They are prioritizing their own wants over someone else’s needs, with no consideration for how this makes the other person feel.

Granted, setting boundaries and saying “no” can be an act of self-care.

But when someone consistently declines to help others without a good reason, they come across as heartless.

Plus, they miss out on building fulfilling connections and contributing to a supportive community.

At the end of the day, it’s their loss.

7) “I told you so”

Ah, just what you want to hear after making a mistake or failing at something!

Saying “I told you so” to someone who is already feeling low doesn’t do anything to lift their spirits.  

Quite the contrary, as your statement makes them feel dumb and inferior.

Using this phrase indicates a lack of empathy for the person facing difficulties.

The speaker prioritizes personal vindication over support.

A much more compassionate response would be to push down your desire to be right and comfort the other person.

Expressing faith in their ability to overcome the hurdle they’re facing is also a good idea.

At least, that’s what a kind and empathetic person would do.  

8) “You should have known better”

This phrase implies blame, suggesting that the person being addressed made a huge error in judgment.

It makes them feel criticized and unsupported when likely all they wanted was a shoulder to cry on for a bit.

Empathy involves understanding the circumstances that led to someone’s actions, and this phrase completely disregards the challenges the person might have faced at the time.

It shows that the speaker can’t quite put themselves in the other person’s shoes.

9) “I don’t have time for this”

Instances when it’s fine to say this out loud:

  • When your computer decides to install updates in the middle of the workday
  • When strangers attempt to sell you on religion while you’re running errands
  • When you’ve been on hold with the cable company for 40 minutes
  • When you try to carry all your grocery bags at once, and one of them breaks
  • When you’re running late and you notice a stain on your shirt just as you’re about to get out the door

Instances when it’s not: when someone comes to you with a problem, hoping for assistance or advice.

An empathetic person would at least listen to them.

One who lacks kindness, on the other hand, would dismiss them outright.

10) “Life’s not fair; grow up”

Finally, using this phrase to belittle someone’s struggles lacks empathy and fails to acknowledge the real challenges they may be facing.

The dismissive tone of the phrase is off-putting, telling someone to grow up is ungracious, and making such a blunt generalization does nothing to soothe their pain.

Life *is* unfair, but some people have it harder than others.

You can never 100% know what’s going on in someone else’s inner world, so cutting them some slack is a classy move.

In today’s fast-paced world, taking time to process your losses is seen as weak and indulging when it’s actually crucial if you want to learn something from what went wrong.

Rather than immediately getting back on the horse, slow down and feel your feelings.

It’s a much healthier approach.    

Don’t let someone who lacks kindness tell you otherwise.

Bottom line

Everyone has bad days when they’re on the edge of snapping.

But if a person says these phrases above, there’s a good chance they suffer from an empathy deficiency.  

Keep your interactions to a minimum until they get this unappealing affliction under control.

You deserve support in your time of need.

Unkind people won’t be able to accommodate you. 

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