People who lack emotional intelligence frequently say these 10 phrases without realizing their impact

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Ever blurted out something and then immediately thought, “Oops, I wish I could take that back?”

Yeah, we’ve all been there. Sometimes, we don’t think before we speak and our words can kinda sting… without us even realizing it.

This happens especially with people who might struggle a bit with understanding emotions – their own and others’.

This whole emotions game is actually called emotional intelligence. It’s all about knowing what we’re feeling, why we’re feeling it, and how what we say or do can affect those around us.

When we’re not so hot at this, we often end up saying things that can upset or annoy others without even meaning to.

What are these oopsie daisy phrases that people with low emotional intelligence often say?

Today, I’m going to go through 10 of them and why they might not be the best choice of words.

1. “Calm down”

We’ve all been there – frustrated, annoyed, or upset about something, and someone drops the old “Calm down” on us.

It might seem harmless enough, right? But here’s the thing, telling someone to calm down usually does the exact opposite.

In reality, this phrase can come off as dismissive, like you’re brushing off their feelings or not taking them seriously.

It’s almost as if you’re saying their emotions are not valid. It also implies that the person is overreacting, which can stir up even more frustration.

Instead, try empathizing with the person and acknowledging their feelings. Something like, “I can see you’re upset, and I want to understand why,” shows that you care and are willing to listen.

This can go a long way in sorting out misunderstandings and soothing ruffled feathers. 

2. “It’s not a big deal”

Here’s another phrase that people with low emotional intelligence often use: “It’s not a big deal.”

Sounds harmless, right? But wait a minute. What may not be a big deal to you could be a massive deal to someone else.

When you play down someone’s worries or problems, it can seem like you’re belittling their feelings. It’s as if you’re saying that their concerns are trivial or unimportant.

That can hurt, especially when the person is already feeling stressed or upset.

Instead of dismissing their feelings, try saying, “I understand this is important to you.”

This shows that you respect their feelings and are there to support them, even if you don’t see the issue in the same way.

It’s all about acknowledging that different people view things differently, and that’s okay.

3. “You always…” or “You never…”

Now, let’s talk about phrases that start with “You always…” or “You never…”. These can be real troublemakers.

They sound like you’re blaming or criticizing the person, and that can put them on the defensive.

I remember once when a friend of mine said, “You never listen to me.” That stung. It felt like she was attacking me, not addressing a specific issue or behavior.

It made me feel defensive and less open to understanding her point of view.

If you want to express concern or frustration, it’s better to focus on the specific action, not the person.

For example, instead of saying “You never listen to me,” you could say, “I felt ignored when I was talking about my day at work.”

This way, you’re communicating your feelings without blaming or criticizing the other person.

4. “I knew that would happen”

Another phrase that people with low emotional intelligence often use is, “I knew that would happen.”

This can come across as a bit boastful or know-it-all, like you’re claiming you always have the answers.

It can also make the other person feel judged or undermined.

Here’s an interesting fact: according to psychological studies, this type of statement can lead to what’s called “reactance”— a defensive response where people resist advice or suggestions because they want to assert their freedom and autonomy.

Instead of making people more likely to listen to you in the future, it can actually push them away.

A more supportive approach might be to say something like, “That’s unfortunate, let’s figure out what we can do next.” This shows empathy and offers help without sounding judgmental or superior.

5. “That’s just how I am”

Ever heard someone say, “That’s just how I am,” after they’ve upset someone or done something hurtful?

This phrase can be a real heartbreaker. It comes across like the person isn’t willing to change or improve their behavior, even if it’s causing distress to others.

But here’s the heartfelt truth: we can all change and grow. We can all learn to be more sensitive to others’ feelings.

Saying “That’s just how I am” is like putting up a wall. It shuts down the chance for growth, understanding, and connection.

Instead, if we’ve upset someone, we can say something like, “I’m sorry my actions upset you. I will try to be more mindful in the future.”

This shows that we care about the other person’s feelings and are willing to learn and grow. And that’s a really beautiful thing. 

6. “Whatever”

Now let’s talk about “Whatever”. It’s a word that people with low emotional intelligence often use when they’re frustrated or just don’t want to deal with something.

But here’s the kicker — it can come off as really dismissive and disrespectful.

I remember once, in the middle of a heated discussion, I said “Whatever” to my friend. It was like I had hit the pause button on our friendship.

She felt like I was dismissing her feelings and thoughts, and I instantly regretted it.

Instead of using this conversation stopper, it’s better to communicate honestly. You could say something like, “I’m feeling really overwhelmed right now, can we continue this conversation later?”

This shows respect for the other person, and for yourself as well.

It’s okay to take a break when things get heated. It’s all about handling emotions with care — both yours and theirs.

7. “I don’t care”

Here’s a phrase that can cut deep: “I don’t care.” When people with low emotional intelligence use this one, it’s like they’re dropping a bomb in the conversation. It’s raw, it’s harsh, and it can really hurt.

When you say “I don’t care,” it sounds like you’re totally dismissing the other person’s feelings or opinions.

It’s like you’re saying that their thoughts or feelings have no value to you, and that can be incredibly hurtful.

But here’s the honest truth: most of us do care. We might say we don’t because we’re overwhelmed, frustrated, or just don’t know how to handle the situation. But that doesn’t make it okay.

A better approach could be saying something like, “I’m finding it hard to connect with this,” or “I need some time to process what you’re saying.”

This way, you’re being honest about your feelings without dismissing theirs. And honesty, well handled, can be a powerful tool in any conversation.

8. “At least…”

Moving on, let’s talk about starting a sentence with “At least…”. People with low emotional intelligence often use this phrase to try to make others feel better, but it can actually have the opposite effect.

When you say “At least…”, it can seem like you’re trying to downplay or dismiss the person’s feelings or situation.

For instance, if someone is upset about losing their job and you say, “At least you have more free time now,” it can feel like you’re not acknowledging the real pain they’re going through.

Here’s an interesting fact: according to psychological research, trying to find a silver lining in someone else’s painful situation can actually make them feel worse, because it can come off as dismissive or insensitive.

Instead of saying “At least…”, a more supportive response might be, “I’m really sorry you’re going through this.

Is there anything I can do to help?” This shows that you’re taking their feelings seriously and are there for them.

9. “It’s all in your head”

Next up, we’ve got “It’s all in your head”. People with low emotional intelligence might use this phrase when they don’t understand or don’t agree with someone’s feelings or experiences. But trust me, it can feel really invalidating.

I remember when I was going through a tough time and someone told me, “It’s all in your head.” It felt like they were saying my feelings weren’t real or important. It made me feel alone and misunderstood.

The thing is, just because we can’t see or understand someone’s feelings doesn’t mean they’re not real.

A more empathetic response might be, “Help me understand what you’re going through.”

This shows that you’re open to understanding their perspective, even if it’s different from yours. It’s a simple phrase that can make a big difference!

10. “You’re too sensitive”

The last one on our list is “You’re too sensitive”. People with low emotional intelligence often use this phrase as a way to deflect blame or avoid dealing with the impact of their actions.

But here’s the raw truth: it can feel like a slap in the face.

Telling someone they’re too sensitive is like saying their feelings aren’t valid or that they’re wrong for feeling the way they do. It’s dismissive, hurtful, and it doesn’t solve anything.

We all have different emotional thresholds and ways of experiencing the world. Instead of accusing someone of being too sensitive, try saying something like, “I didn’t realize my words/actions would affect you this way. I’ll be more mindful in the future.”

This shows that you respect their feelings and are open to learning and growing.

And that is a hallmark of true emotional intelligence.

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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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