If you want to keep a conversation positive and upbeat, stop using these 12 phrases

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.

Ever been in a chat that turned sour? We all have.

Sometimes, without meaning to, we say things that make conversations less fun.

But don’t worry! You don’t have to change who you are or become overly cheerful. You just need to look at the words you use.

In this article, we’re going to look at 12 phrases that can quickly turn a good chat bad. And we’ll give you some better phrases to use instead.

Let’s get started!

1. “I told you so”

Admit it, nobody likes to hear “I told you so”. It can make the other person feel small and discouraged, like they’ve failed. This phrase is a surefire way to bring down the mood of a conversation.

Instead, try something like “Don’t worry, we all make mistakes” or “Let’s figure out what to do next”.

The goal is to keep the conversation positive and motivate the other person, not make them feel bad about their decisions.

2. “You should have…”

This phrase can make people feel like they’re being blamed or judged, and that’s not fun for anyone.

Instead of focusing on what should have happened, why not focus on what can be done now?

Try replacing “You should have…” with “Maybe next time we could try…” or “What do you think about doing this differently next time?”

This way, you’re suggesting a solution and keeping the conversation future-focused and positive.

3. “It’s not fair”

I remember saying this during a conversation with a friend when I was passed over for a promotion at work.

The atmosphere immediately changed from supportive to slightly uncomfortable. I realized that saying “It’s not fair” didn’t change anything; it just made the conversation heavier.

From then on, whenever I find myself in a similar situation, I say, “Well, that’s disappointing, but it’s a chance to learn and figure out what to do better next time.”

This way, the conversation stays positive and focused on potential growth rather than lingering on the negativity of the situation.

4. “Whatever”

“Whatever” has been voted the most disliked phrase in a conversation – for 9 years running!

This is because it often comes off as dismissive and indifferent, shutting down any further dialogue.

It might seem like an easy way to end a disagreement, but it actually leaves the other person feeling unheard and frustrated.

Instead of saying “whatever”, try saying something like “Let’s agree to disagree” or “I understand your point of view”.

This shows that you respect the other person’s opinion, even if you don’t agree with it, keeping the conversation positive and respectful.

5. “This is the worst”

Imagine you’re having a bad day and everything feels overwhelming. It’s easy to slip into using phrases like “This is the worst”.

However, such statements can quickly cast a shadow over an entire conversation, making it feel more like a pity party than a helpful discussion.

Instead, try saying “Today was challenging, but I’m hopeful for a better tomorrow”.

This acknowledges the difficulty you’re facing but also expresses hope for the future.

This shift in language can make a world of difference to both you and the person you’re talking to, keeping the conversation ultimately positive.

6. “But it’s always been done this way”

I recall a time when I was working on a project with a team, and someone suggested a new approach.

My immediate response was, “But it’s always been done this way”.

As soon as those words left my mouth, I noticed a shift in the room. My co-worker’s enthusiasm deflated, and the conversation lost its positive momentum.

I’ve since learned to replace that phrase with “That’s an interesting idea, let’s explore it”.

This opens up the conversation for creativity. It also shows that I value other people’s ideas, which makes discussions more engaging and upbeat.

7. “I don’t care”

Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there. We’re in the middle of a lively discussion, things get heated, and out slips the phrase, “I don’t care”.

It’s raw, it’s real, but it’s also pretty harsh.

Saying “I don’t care” can make the other person feel like their thoughts or feelings aren’t important to you. And it can shut down the conversation completely.

If what you really mean is that you’re indifferent or don’t have a strong opinion, try saying “I’m open to whatever you think is best” or “I trust your judgement on this”.

It keeps the conversation going and adds a positive spin.

8. “You always…” or “You never…”

Did you know that starting a sentence with “You always” or “You never” can trigger a defensive response in the other person?

According to psychologists, these phrases are often perceived as criticism, leading to a negative shift in the conversation.

Instead of using absolutes, try to express your feelings without blaming.

For example, replace “You never listen to me” with “I feel unheard when I talk about certain topics.” This way, you’re expressing your feelings without blaming the other person/

9. “It’s not my fault”

I remember a time when a friend pointed out a mistake I had made. My immediate response was, “It’s not my fault”.

Looking back, I realize that this phrase didn’t do anything to solve the problem; it just made my friend feel dismissed.

Now, if I find myself in a similar situation, I try to say something like “Let’s see how we can fix this” or “I understand where you’re coming from, let’s work this out together”.

It helps in turning the conversation towards problem-solving rather than finger-pointing.

10. “I can’t”

“I can’t” might be the most disheartening phrase in any conversation.

It shuts down possibilities before they even have a chance to bloom. It’s like saying, “I’ve given up”, and that can bring any conversation down.

Instead of saying “I can’t”, try saying “Let’s find a different way to make this work” or “I’ll give it my best shot”. 

11. “It doesn’t matter”

When you say “It doesn’t matter”, it can feel like you’re dismissing either your own feelings or the other person’s.

This phrase has the power to make anyone feel like they’re talking to a brick wall.

Instead, try saying “Let’s discuss this further” or “Your opinion matters to me”.

These phrases show that you value the conversation and the person you’re talking to, keeping the mood light and respectful.

12. “You’re wrong”

Let’s be real; nobody likes being told they’re wrong.

This phrase can hit hard, making the other person defensive and turning a nice chat into an argument.

A better way to express disagreement could be “I see things differently” or “Can we find a common ground?”.

These phrases promote understanding and keep the conversation from turning into a battlefield.

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.

 

If someone uses these 10 phrases, they’re probably hiding something

10 signs you’re in a relationship with an emotional manipulator