People who lack empathy use these 12 phrases without realizing they’re being unkind

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People without empathy are all around us. You probably have them in your family, or one of your friends is insensitive and unempathetic towards others. 

So, you’re probably already familiar with them. However, have you ever really paid attention to what they’re saying? 

In either case, you’re in for a treat today because we’ll be dissecting the specific phrases people without empathy use without realizing they’re being unkind.

1) “Get over it, it’s not a big deal”

When someone says, “Get over it, it’s not a big deal,” they’re kinda saying that whatever’s bothering you isn’t really worth getting worked up about. 

But how would hearing this make you feel?

It might make you feel like your feelings don’t matter much. As you should just brush it off and move on without anyone recognizing how you’re feeling or how the situation is affecting you.

The truth is, they might not realize that by doing this, they’re brushing aside whatever’s bothering you. It’s their way of saying, “Your feelings on this don’t really matter, so let’s move on.”

Infuriating? Extremely! 

But let’s move on, and I have to warn you, this next phrase will also make your blood boil. 

2) “You’re too sensitive”

When someone says this to you, they’re essentially suggesting that you should toughen up emotionally. 

In doing this, they obviously don’t understand they’re being unkind and insensitive. 

They downplay the validity of your feelings. They imply that your emotional responses are exaggerated or unwarranted in this situation.

For example, you share with your partner what a tough day at work you had and how your ideas were criticized in front of everyone. 

So, what does your partner do? They tell you that you’re too sensitive and that it was all just work banter.


3) “Why are you making everything about you?”

When someone hits you with the “Why are you making everything about you?” line, they’re saying you’re being selfish or hogging the spotlight. 

They’re missing the point that you’re just trying to share what you’re feeling and hoping for a bit of understanding. 

They’re assuming you’re trying to steal the show, but in reality, you just want someone to get where you’re coming from. 

I once shared with my colleague how I had to deal with some personal stuff at home and how challenging that was.

And what did they respond with? 

“Why are you making everything about you? We all have problems.”

Needless to say, I never shared anything personal with them again. 

4) “You’re too wrapped up in yourself”

Similarly, telling someone that they’re “too wrapped up in themselves” is something that’s also unkind. 

Yes, there are situations where this phrase might be warranted, but most of the time, it really isn’t. 

This comment suggests that the person is excessively self-centered or focused on their own concerns. But, then again, who isn’t?

While we all need to strike a balance between self-care and consideration for others, this phrase overlooks the underlying reasons behind the person’s behavior. 

It also discourages open communication about their feelings.

5) “Why can’t you just be happy?”

We’re all trying to be happier, right? But it’s not always easy. That’s why telling someone to “just be happy” is tone-deaf. 

You suggest that they should focus on positive emotions rather than dwelling on negative ones. 

And that’s great. But as I already said, that’s easier said than done.

While developing a positive mindset is healthy, this phrase oversimplifies the complexities of human emotions. It discourages the person from expressing their full range of feelings.

There are times to be happy, and there are times to be sad and emotional. 

6) “I don’t have time for your drama”

Yes, yes, we’re all swamped, and most of us don’t have the time or brainpower to deal with someone else’s drama. 

Still, something that might be drama in your eyes might be incredibly important in their eyes.

With this dismissive remark, a person without empathy prioritizes their own concerns over those of the person asking for support. 

It implies a lack of willingness to see the emotional aspects of someone else’s life, categorizing their struggles as mere “drama” that isn’t worth their time or attention.

7) “It’s just a joke, lighten up”

People without empathy often use this phrase in response to someone who feels hurt or offended by a comment. But this downplays the impact of the words by telling them it was just a harmless joke. 

And yes, most of the time we joke; it is just a joke. We don’t make it to hurt someone. That being said, you have to know your audience. 

When someone doesn’t have empathy, they overlook the potential harm caused by jokes and dismiss the person’s feelings. 

So they do a double whammy. First, they hurt their feelings with the joke, and then they invalidate their feelings too by implying they’re too sensitive.

8) “I’ve got my own problems to deal with”

People who lack empathy often think their time and their problems are more important than other people’s. 

But the truth is, they simply don’t want to help others when problems arise. And to dodge or justify that, they simply say they have their own problems to deal with. 

While it’s true that everyone has their challenges, expressing empathy doesn’t necessarily require solving someone else’s problems.

It’s more about acknowledging and understanding their feelings.

9) “I don’t see why that would bother you”

Okay, so picture this: your friend spills their guts about something that’s bothering them, and you hit them with an “I don’t see why that would bother you.” 

Not cool, right? It’s like they just tossed their feelings into a black hole.

By saying this, you don’t just have a lack of understanding. You’re waving away someone’s emotions as if they’re no big deal. 

Let’s keep it real – everyone’s emotions matter, and sometimes, it’s cool to nod along and say, “I get it,” instead of hitting them with a “Why are you even bothered.”

10) “Why can’t you just be chill about it?”

Just like telling someone to “just be happy,” telling them to “be chill” is equally tone-deaf and unkind. 

There are times when it’s appropriate to be chill, and there are times when it’s not. 

While promoting a laid-back approach can be positive, it skips the complexity of the person’s emotions and the reasons behind their reactions.

They’ll probably think twice about opening up their feelings to the person who told them to be chill, right? 

I know I would. 

11) “You’re taking things too personally”

Another insensitive and unkind remark that often comes after saying something offensive and is a way of downplaying the fallout that happened. 

For example, you confide in a friend about feeling hurt by something they did, and their comeback is, “You’re taking things too personally; it’s not that big of a deal.”

They struggle to put themselves in your shoes, so they default to this catch-all phrase, thinking it’s a quick fix to avoid diving into the messy world of feelings.

12) “Stop being so emotional”

When someone says, “Stop being so emotional,” they’re usually not realizing how unkind it sounds. 

It’s like they’re telling you to shut down your feelings or act like they don’t matter. This phrase comes from a lack of empathy, where the person doesn’t understand or appreciate the importance of emotions.

Imagine you’re sharing something important to you, and instead of getting support, you hear, “Stop being so emotional.”

It can make you feel like your feelings aren’t correct or that you’re supposed to hide them. 

People who use this phrase don’t grasp that everyone experiences emotions differently, and that’s completely normal.

Final thoughts

There are many, many other unkind phrases you might hear from the empathy-challenged people. But let’s stop at twelve, it’s a nice number. 

In the end, what is the problem of people without empathy? They can’t put themselves in other people’s shoes, right? 

They think that what they feel is the same that everyone else feels, too. 

But that’s a black-and-white way of looking at things. People aren’t just ones and zeroes. They have a range of feelings. 

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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