People who are really difficult to be around often say these 11 phrases (without realizing their impact)

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There’s a fine line between being assertive and being difficult.

Being difficult often comes down to not realizing how your words affect others.

People who are hard to be around usually don’t intend to be that way, but they tend to use certain phrases that can rub people the wrong way.

These phrases can make interactions challenging, even if they’re not meant to be offensive.

Let’s dig into these phrases often used by people who can be tough to be around, without them even realizing it.

1) “You should…”

Interacting with others requires a level of respect and understanding.

However, people who are difficult to be around often cross this line by using the phrase “you should”. This may seem harmless, but it can come off as controlling or judgmental.

When individuals frequently use “you should” in their conversations, it gives off an impression that they know better than others. This can make those around them feel undermined or disrespected.

While it’s important to share opinions and suggestions, there’s a way to do it without imposing on others. Consider using phrases like “have you considered” or “what do you think about” instead.

It’s not just about sharing your viewpoint; it’s about respecting others’ perspectives too.

2) “I’m just being honest…”

Honesty is a virtue, right? Well, not when it’s used as a cover for harsh or unkind remarks.

Some people often use the phrase “I’m just being honest” as an excuse to say something hurtful or unnecessary. I’ve experienced this in my own life.

I once had a co-worker who was notorious for his sharp comments. He would often say things that were out of line and then follow it up with “I’m just being honest”. For instance, he once told me, “Your presentation was really boring, I’m just being honest.”

While honesty is important, there’s a difference between constructive criticism and plain rudeness.

It’s essential to communicate feedback in a way that is respectful and helpful, rather than hurtful.

3) “It’s not my fault…”

Responsibility can be a tough pill to swallow. But people who are often challenging to be around tend to dodge accountability with phrases like “It’s not my fault”.

This phrase creates a barrier to communication and problem-solving. It pushes blame onto others and avoids taking responsibility for one’s own actions.

Interestingly, psychology suggests that individuals who often deflect blame may do so as a defense mechanism to protect their self-esteem. However, this can lead to strained relationships and hinder personal growth.

Accepting responsibility, on the other hand, shows maturity and willingness to learn from mistakes. It creates a positive environment for growth and development.

4) “Whatever…”

One word that can instantly shut down a conversation is “whatever”. It’s a phrase often used by people who are difficult to be around. It’s dismissive and shows a lack of interest or regard for what the other person is saying.

Using “whatever” during a discussion can make the other person feel that their words or feelings are insignificant. It hampers open communication and can lead to resentment or conflict.

Engaging in meaningful dialogue involves showing respect for the other person’s thoughts and feelings, even when there’s disagreement.

Replacing “whatever” with phrases like “I see your point” or “let’s agree to disagree” can keep the lines of communication open and foster better relationships.

5) “I don’t care…”

Expressing indifference can be more harmful than one might think. When people often say “I don’t care”, it can make those around them feel unvalued and dismissed.

This phrase is frequently used by people who are tough to be around as it indicates a lack of interest or concern for others’ opinions or feelings. It can come across as selfish, creating a barrier to effective communication and empathy.

Showing interest and respect for others’ perspectives, even if you disagree, is key to maintaining healthy relationships. Replacing “I don’t care” with phrases like “I respect your viewpoint” or “let’s discuss this further” can make a world of difference in how you are perceived by others.

6) “I don’t need anyone…”

We all value our independence, but the phrase “I don’t need anyone” can be a red flag in relationships.

People who are hard to be around often use this phrase to express self-sufficiency, but it can come off as isolationist and uncaring. It can create a sense of distance and disconnection between the speaker and those around them.

The truth is, we all need someone at some point. No one is an island. Human beings are social creatures who thrive on connection and mutual support.

Communicating that you value the people in your life, even while maintaining your independence, can create stronger and more meaningful connections.

After all, needing people doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human.

7) “That’s just how I am…”

“This is just how I am” is a phrase I’ve heard from people who are often difficult to be around. It’s a phrase that can seem like an excuse for behavior that could be improved or changed.

I remember when I was younger, I used to get defensive when people pointed out my habit of interrupting others. I would say, “That’s just how I am”. But over time, I realized that this was a defense mechanism, a way to avoid taking responsibility for a habit that was disrespectful to others.

The phrase “That’s just how I am” can prevent growth and self-improvement. It can close the door to feedback and self-reflection.

On the other hand, being open to change and willing to work on ourselves can lead to better relationships and personal development.

8) “It’s all about me…”

While it might not always be said out loud, the phrase “It’s all about me” can be expressed through actions and attitudes. People who are difficult to be around often display a self-centered perspective that overlooks the feelings and needs of others.

This attitude can lead to one-sided conversations, a lack of empathy, and a failure to recognize or appreciate the contributions of others. It can make those around them feel overlooked and unappreciated.

Contrarily, showing genuine interest in others, listening actively, and acknowledging the value others bring to the table can lead to more balanced and fulfilling interactions. 

9) “No (without explanation)…”

Saying “No” is important. It helps set boundaries and protect our time and energy. However, people who are tough to be around often use “No” without giving any explanation or alternative.

This can come across as dismissive and uncooperative. It can create a sense of rejection and shut down opportunities for collaboration or compromise.

While it’s not necessary to justify every “No”, providing context or suggesting alternatives can soften the blow and maintain a positive relationship. It shows respect for the other person’s request, even if you are unable to fulfill it.

10) “Just calm down…”

Telling someone to “just calm down” during a heated moment can be incredibly dismissive.

It implies that their feelings are not valid or overblown, which can add fuel to the fire rather than diffusing the situation.

I’ve seen this happen in conversations where emotions are running high, and it almost always does more harm than good.

Instead of trying to minimize how someone is feeling, it’s more helpful to acknowledge their emotions and offer support.

Saying something like, “I can see this is really upsetting you, let’s work through it together,” can open up a pathway to constructive dialogue and show that you’re truly listening.

11) “If you really cared, you would…”

This phrase is a classic guilt trip, suggesting that if someone doesn’t act in a certain way, it means they don’t care.

It’s manipulative because it tries to shame the other person into doing something by questioning their feelings or commitment.

The truth is, caring can look different to everyone, and using this phrase can create unnecessary tension and hurt.

A more positive approach is to express your needs and feelings without making assumptions about the other person’s intentions.

For instance, “I feel valued when you do X. Could we talk about how to make that happen?”

This opens the door for a healthy conversation about needs and expectations without putting the other person on the defensive.

Food for thought: The power of words

The impact of our words is profound, often leaving an indelible mark on those around us.

Our language has the power to build bridges of understanding or create walls of division. The phrases we choose to use can reflect our attitudes, our values, and our respect for others.

People who are difficult to be around often don’t realize the impact their words have. But being aware of these phrases and the potential harm they can cause is a step towards improving our interactions and relationships.

We all falter and say things we regret. But it’s important to remember that our words carry weight. They can uplift or they can hurt. They can inspire or they can discourage.

As we journey through life, let’s strive to use our words wisely, spreading kindness and understanding. Because in the end, it’s not just about what we say, but how we make others feel.

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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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