“The pen is mightier than the sword” is a classic phrase that’s been very accurate in many situations.
There are many phrases we use daily that can really hurt others. However, genuinely kind people will never say the following phrases knowing really well how nasty and stinging words can be.
Let’s see what those are.
1) “What’s wrong with you?”
“What’s wrong with you?” is a very unkind and hurtful thing to say and something no genuinely kind person would ever use.
It can be particularly hurtful depending on the tone and context in which it’s used. It comes off as accusatory or judgmental as if there’s something inherently flawed or wrong with the person being addressed.
Instead, there are much better things to say and ask, such as:
- “You seem a bit different today. Is everything okay?”
- “I’ve noticed you seem upset. Do you want to talk about it?”
- “Is there something bothering you? I’m here if you need to talk.”
2) “It’s all your fault”
This phrase is typically expressed in anger and in the heat of the moment. It also mostly happens in a family setting when kids lash out at their parents or when siblings get into a fight.
However, I’ve heard adults use it against other adults, and it wasn’t pretty at all. Or nice.
Blaming someone entirely for a situation isn’t just unproductive but also unfair. Kind people seek solutions, not scapegoats.
3) “You need to smile more!”
This is one of the oldest comments in the book toward women. On the surface level, it seems a kind and polite thing to say, but it really isn’t.
In fact, a survey found that 98% of women reported being told to smile at work, with 15% saying this happens weekly, if not more frequently.
Being told to smile provokes a variety of negative emotions, including anger, annoyance, and, most commonly, a sense of being demeaned and underappreciated.
When we feel unwelcome in the workplace due to such comments, it can generate a cascade of negative feelings that can adversely affect our performance and potentially jeopardize our life.
Kind people recognize that everyone has unique experiences, challenges, and emotions that can influence their expression.
They understand the significance of letting everyone authentically express their emotions without imposing judgment or expectations to conform.
4) “I told you so”
“I told you so” is a highly toxic thing to say to someone. Instead of rubbing it in their face, a genuinely kind person would offer assistance and comfort or use the situation as a learning opportunity.
They understand that everyone makes errors and experiences setbacks at times. Instead of emphasizing the “I told you so” aspect, they prioritize empathy and understanding.
5) “You’re too sensitive”
“You’re too sensitive” is ironically a very insensitive thing to say to someone. Again, kind people know that dismissing someone’s emotions by labeling them as “too sensitive” can be invalidating and unhelpful.
People use it to dismiss or invalidate someone’s emotions or experiences, but it’s also a classic gaslighting routine.
In some cases, the phrase is used without malicious intent. Some people simply genuinely believe that someone is being overly sensitive without realizing the impact of their words.
6) “Get over it”
“Get over it” is another way to dismiss another person’s feelings or troubles. When someone is going through a difficult time, kind people provide a listening ear and create a safe space for open expression.
They don’t just bark “get over it” at someone and wash their hands of any and all responsibility. This isn’t helpful and doesn’t magically fix things.
And frankly, it makes the person saying it look like an assh*le. And these next two phrases will do the same thing.
7) “You’re overreacting” or “It’s not a big deal”
Another way to dismiss someone’s feelings or experiences is to tell them, “You’re overreacting” or “It’s not a big deal.”
Dismissive remarks like these belittle, ignore, or devalue another person’s thoughts and feelings. They harm self-esteem, build resentment, and damage relationships.
The result is that the person will shut down, stop sharing their feelings, or even question their own perception of events.
8) ”Why can’t you be more like…?”
Comparisons hurt and make people feel inadequate. That’s the cold hard truth. Social media, of course, enables this even more.
When you say to someone, ”Why can’t you be more like…?” you suggest the person is somehow inadequate or inferior to the person you’re comparing them to.
Everyone is unique and has their own strengths, weaknesses, interests, and pace of growth.
When you compare someone to another, you’re essentially invalidating their uniqueness and suggesting they should conform to someone else’s characteristics or achievements.
Think about that for a second.
9) “I don’t care”
“I don’t care” makes the other person feel invalidated, unimportant, or even rejected. It lacks empathy, stops open communication in its tracks, and damages trust and the relationship you have with the person.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unable to engage with the issue at the moment, use:
- “I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. Can we talk about this later?”
- “I need some time to process this. Let’s discuss it after a while.”
- “I understand this is important to you, but I need some space right now.”
10) “You’re being ridiculous”
If you want to take a stab at someone, simply say this phrase, and it’ll do the job. Saying to someone they’re ridiculous can cause frustration, embarrassment, or self-doubt and potentially damage your relationship.
Just like many other phrases on this list, it’s insensitive and dismissive of people’s feelings. Precisely the opposite of what genuinely kind people represent.
11) “You’ll never succeed”
Telling someone, “You’ll never succeed” is a highly damaging and discouraging statement that can have a far-reaching impact.
It’s an attempt to predict someone’s future negatively based on their present circumstances or performance, and it overlooks their potential for growth, improvement, and resilience.
Genuinely kind people would never say this day-ruining phrase.
12) “That’s a stupid idea”
Saying “That’s a stupid idea” to someone is, once again, a form of disrespect and dismissal. This statement is anything but constructive and serves to knock other person’s thoughts or suggestions.
It can potentially cause feelings of worthlessness, self-doubt, or discouragement.
Of course, no authentically kind person would let this go past their lips. They’d rather offer constructive feedback or express their concerns more respectfully.
13) “I’m not interested in your problems”
“I’m not interested in your problems” is yet another cold phrase no kind person would say to someone else. It clearly expresses disinterest and disregard for their struggles or concerns.
If you genuinely aren’t able to engage with someone in a serious conversation about their problems, reassure them that their feelings are valid and that it’s okay to ask for help.
You could say, “It sounds like you’re going through a tough time. It’s important to talk about it, even if I can’t help you right now.”
Let’s see what else we got.
14) “I don’t need you”
“I don’t need you” is a strong statement that can cause substantial emotional pain. It communicates a lack of need or desire for the other person’s presence, contributions, or support.
This in turn makes them feel unimportant, unwanted, or even rejected.
What is the person at the receiving end supposed to think other than they’re obviously not valued or needed in someone’s life?
And while it’s important and valid to cut ties with toxic people, there are other ways of going about it.
15) “This is why people talk about you”
“This is why people talk about you” is a cunning remark that imposes considerable emotional distress. It implies that others are discussing the person behind their back negatively.
This triggers feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and distress, making the person constantly question their actions and how others might perceive them.
16) “You don’t understand”
And lastly, we have the not-so-harmless “You don’t understand” phrase. So what does a person suggest when they say this sentence?
That we aren’t on the same emotional or intellectual level? That our opinion and input aren’t valued? Of course.
Such a statement shuts down any meaningful conversation and leaves little room for dialogue, discussion, or growth.
As you can see, there are many hurtful and insensitive things people say to each other. Tell me, how many have you used before, even if it was inadvertently?
Does that mean you aren’t a genuinely kind person? Perhaps. I don’t know you personally.
But the main thing we need to learn today is to recognize how these phrases are often perceived.
They make us look like insensitive monsters and can, in fact, drive people far away from us. Ouch!