We all crave authenticity — that feeling of being our true selves, not just with ourselves but with others.
But, sometimes, even with the best intentions, we say things that make us seem less genuine.
I’ve been there, wanting to be real but catching myself saying something that I later realized was anything but.
That’s why I’ve compiled a list of 8 things people who are truly authentic avoid saying to others.
Read on, and discover how small changes in your language can make a world of difference in how authentically you’re perceived, and more importantly, how authentic you feel.
1) “I’m fine”
You’ve surely been asked “How are you?” millions of times. The go-to response is usually “I’m fine” — but sometimes, you might not really mean it.
I’ve done it lots of times myself, especially when I didn’t want to burden others with my problems.
But guess what? Saying you’re fine when you’re not is the antithesis of authenticity.
While it’s normal to want to protect yourself or others from uncomfortable feelings, being authentic means allowing yourself to be seen — the good and the bad.
Except in situations where it would be truly inappropriate, people who are truly authentic don’t shy away from their own vulnerability.
If something is wrong, they’re more likely to say, “I’m going through a rough patch, but I’d rather not talk about it right now” or perhaps “I’m struggling, can we talk?”
This level of honesty invites genuine connection and shows you’re comfortable being your authentic self.
2) “You should be more…”
Nobody is perfect, and sometimes you may see something that a person could do better.
Such as “You should be more organized” or “confident in yourself” or even “sociable”.
I’ve definitely been guilty of this, thinking that I was helping someone by offering advice. But what I didn’t realize was that I was actually imposing my own beliefs and standards onto them.
When you say, “You should be more,” you’re indirectly saying that the person isn’t enough as they are. This kind of language is counter to the idea of being authentic, both for you and the person you’re talking to.
Authentic people understand that everyone is on their own unique journey and that it’s not our place to dictate how someone else should be.
Instead, you could formulate your ideas like “Have you considered trying…” or “What do you think about…”
These expressions open up a dialogue and invite others to explore possibilities rather than feeling judged or confined.
3) “I know what I’m talking about”
Confidence is one thing, but there’s a fine line between self-assuredness and arrogance.
Saying, “I know what I’m talking about,” can easily come off as conceited and dismissive of others’ perspectives.
Authentic people understand that the journey to knowledge is ongoing and collective. They know there’s value in listening and learning from others, and they don’t need to continually assert their expertise.
Instead, they let their insights and actions speak for themselves — knowing that nobody can know everything.
If you catch yourself wanting to reassure others of your expertise, consider why you feel the need to do so. Is it because you feel threatened, or is it a bid for validation?
Instead, try demonstrating your knowledge through thoughtful conversation and open dialogue. Let others come to see your expertise naturally, without you having to proclaim it.
4) “I don’t care what anyone thinks”
Saying “I don’t care what anyone thinks” might sound like the ultimate expression of self-confidence and authenticity.
I’ve said it before, particularly in moments when I felt judged or misunderstood, believing it made me appear strong and independent.
But here’s the reality check: completely dismissing the opinions or feelings of others isn’t a sign of authenticity; it’s often a defense mechanism, a wall put up to protect oneself.
Truly authentic people understand the balance between caring for themselves and considering others.
They recognize that relationships are a two-way street and that empathy and understanding play significant roles in authentic connections.
Of course, it’s important not to be swayed by everyone’s opinion, but saying you don’t care at all closes the door to meaningful interactions and self-improvement.
Instead of declaring your indifference to other people’s thoughts, try saying, “I value my own opinion, but I’m open to hearing what you think.” This shows that you have self-respect while still respecting the perspectives of those around you. And that’s what authenticity is all about.
5) “This is just business, not personal”
Have you ever heard this line and felt a cold shiver down your spine?
It’s usually dropped like a bomb when someone is about to make a cutthroat decision, as if labeling it “business” absolves all emotional repercussions.
But let’s get real: Every business decision affects people on a personal level — whether it’s a colleague getting laid off or a change that impacts your daily workflow.
Authentic people understand that life is a blend of personal and professional, and the two can’t be easily separated. They navigate business decisions with not just rationality, but also emotional intelligence.
You can be both professional and compassionate. If you need to make a difficult decision, acknowledge its impact and show empathy toward those affected.
This demonstrates leadership and also authenticity, which fosters a culture of trust and respect that’s good for both people and business.
6) “That’s just how I am”
Before I really dove deep into my self-development journey, I used to use this phrase as a shield against criticism or feedback. I wanted people to “accept me as I am”, and believed that it allowed me to comfortably settle into my ways.
However, true authenticity calls for a willingness to evolve. People who genuinely embrace their real selves recognize that personal growth is an ongoing journey.
So by hiding behind the excuse of unchangeability, I not only shut the door on self-improvement, but also prevented myself from becoming the best person I could be.
That’s why now when I’m tempted to write something off as “a part of me”, I stop myself. That’s a sign for me that there’s maybe something there for me to work on.
And then I go for a statement like “I’m open to working on that” or “I see how there’s room for improvement.”
This has helped me immensely to lay the foundation for personal growth and deeper, more authentic connections.
7) “It doesn’t matter”
How many times have you brushed off someone’s question or shrugged away an opportunity with the phrase, “It doesn’t matter”?
I’m sorry to admit I’ve also found myself doing it, especially when I wanted to avoid conflict or uncomfortable emotions.
What this is really saying is, “I don’t want to deal with this right now.” And you know what? Sometimes that’s a flag that it does matter — a lot.
Authentic people don’t downplay their feelings or the feelings of others. They recognize that if something stirs an emotional response, whether it’s a small irritation or a big life decision, then it’s worth taking seriously.
If you find yourself tempted to dismiss something as unimportant, stop and ask yourself why.
Is it because you genuinely don’t care, or are you dodging a difficult conversation or decision? If it’s the latter, try to face the issue head-on, or say something more constructive like “Let me think about it” or “I need some time to process this”.
These alternatives create space for meaningful dialogue and reflection, allowing you to navigate your feelings authentically and respectfully.
8) “I’ll try”
You might think saying “I’ll try” shows you’re open and willing, but it often reveals something else. Authentic people rarely use this phrase, and for a good reason.
Instead of keeping options open, it actually muddies the waters. It leaves the other person wondering, “Will they, or won’t they?”
Let me share an experience. A friend once told me he’d “try” to help me move. Guess who didn’t show? If he had been upfront about his availability, I could have made arrangements with someone else, and it would’ve saved both of us some trouble.
So, if you’re keen on maintaining your authenticity, aim for clarity over convenience. Commit to what you can actually do, and communicate it openly. Your relationships will thank you.
Stepping into your most authentic self
So there you have it — 8 phrases that authentic people steer clear of.
Have you caught yourself saying these things? If you have, don’t worry — nobody is perfectly authentic. We all slip into habits or patterns of speech that don’t always reflect our true selves.
The key is to become aware of these instances and make a conscious effort to be as genuine as possible, both in words and actions.