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

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Ever notice how some people just seem to know the right thing to say?

They can make friends easily and never seem to upset anyone. This is because they have something called social intelligence. It’s a skill that helps people get along well with others.

But not everyone has this skill. Some people say things without realizing how their words can affect others.

They might think they’re being normal or even helpful, but sometimes, their words can hurt people’s feelings or make them uncomfortable.

In this article, we’re going to talk about 11 things that people with low social intelligence often say.

We’re not trying to be mean or point fingers. We just want to help everyone understand how these phrases can be hurtful. That way, we can all learn and try to communicate better with each other.

Phrase 1: “Calm Down”

Imagine this: someone is upset, their emotions are all over the place, and you tell them to “calm down.” It sounds helpful, right? Wrong.

Telling someone to “calm down” can make them feel like their feelings aren’t important. It’s like saying, “Stop feeling that way,” and that’s not very nice.

When people are upset, they need understanding and support, not someone telling them to switch off their emotions like a light. It can make them feel dismissed and ignored.

When someone is upset, try listening. Let them share their feelings. If you want to help, ask what you can do or just be there with them. This shows that you care and that their feelings matter.

I’ve tried to keep it simple and straightforward. Let me know if this works for you!

Phrase 2: “It’s Not a Big Deal”

We’ve all been there. Something’s bothering us, and we need to talk about it. But then someone says, “It’s not a big deal.” Ouch. These words can sting. They can make people feel like their problems aren’t important, or they’re overreacting.

The thing is, what might not be a big deal to one person can be a huge deal to someone else. We all see and feel things differently.

When someone is worried or upset about something, telling them it’s not important can make them feel small and unimportant.

Instead, try saying something like, “I see that you’re really upset. Want to talk about it?” This way, you’re showing that you care and are ready to listen. It helps the other person feel valued and heard.

Phrase 3: “You Always” or “You Never”

Here’s something a bit too common. “You always forget to call!” or “You never listen to me!” Heard that before? It’s a quick way to make someone defensive or hurt. Nobody likes to feel accused or blamed all the time.

When we use words like “always” or “never,” it’s like putting a label on someone. It’s saying, “This is who you are,” and that can be really harsh. It doesn’t leave room for change or mistakes. We’re all human; nobody is perfect.

Instead of using these absolute terms, we could be more specific. Like, “I felt hurt when you didn’t call me yesterday.”

It’s honest, it’s raw, and it’s about how you feel, not what the other person always or never does. It’s a conversation starter, not a door slammer.

Phrase 4: “At Least…”

I remember a time when a friend shared with me the pain of losing her job. Trying to be helpful, I said, “At least you have more time to spend with your family now.” I meant well, but the look on her face told me I’d missed the mark.

The phrase “at least” can sometimes make people feel like their pain or problem is being minimized. It’s as though we’re trying to look at the silver lining, but it can end up making the other person feel like their feelings aren’t fully acknowledged.

I learned that it’s often better to just listen and say, “I’m really sorry to hear that. That must be tough.”

It’s simple, but it shows that you’re there, you’re listening, and you’re acknowledging their feelings without judgment or trying to make it all seem okay when it’s not.

Phrase 5: “I Know Exactly How You Feel”

When someone’s going through a hard time, our first instinct might be to connect by sharing a similar experience.

We say things like “I know exactly how you feel” to show we understand. But the truth is, every person’s experience and feelings are unique. We can’t truly know exactly how another person feels.

Saying “I know exactly how you feel” can make the other person feel like their experience isn’t unique or significant.

It can make them feel like we’re not really listening but are ready to jump in with our own story.

A better approach might be to say, “I can’t imagine exactly how you’re feeling, but I want to be here for you.”

It shows respect for the other person’s unique experience while offering support and understanding.

Phrase 6: “You’re So Strong”

It’s a compliment, right? We say “You’re so strong” to people who are going through tough times, thinking it will lift their spirits. But here’s the twist – it can sometimes do the opposite.

When people are in pain or struggling, being told they’re strong can feel like a burden. It’s as if they’re not allowed to show their pain or ask for help.

They might feel the need to live up to being “the strong one” and end up bottling up their emotions.

Instead, consider saying, “It’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling. I’m here for you.” It gives them permission to be vulnerable, to be human, and assures them that they’re not alone, no matter how messy things get.

Phrase 7: “Just Be Positive”

Sometimes, when people are feeling down, we try to give them a lift by saying, “Just be positive.” It sounds like good advice, but here’s the raw truth: it’s not always that easy.

When someone’s dealing with real, heavy stuff – like loss, or stress, or illness – telling them to be positive can make them feel like their pain isn’t valid. Like they’re wrong for feeling sad, angry, or scared. But those feelings are real and they matter.

It’s okay not to be okay. We all have those days where everything just sucks. And in those moments, we don’t need a pep talk.

We need someone who’ll sit with us in the mess and say, “I’m here with you.” No judgment. No advice. Just being there, acknowledging the hurt and the ugly feelings – that’s powerful.

Phrase 8: “You Should…”

“You should exercise more.” “You should eat healthier.” “You should just move on.” We’ve all heard it, and maybe we’ve said it too. It sounds like we’re helping, but hold on a minute – it can often feel like judgment.

When we tell people what they “should” do, it can make them feel like they’re not doing enough, or they’re not good enough the way they are. It’s like we’re saying we know better than they do about their own lives.

Instead, a more helpful approach might be to ask open-ended questions or share experiences in a non-prescriptive way.

Like, “Have you thought about trying…” or “What worked for me was…” It’s less about telling them what to do and more about offering support as they figure out their own path.

Phrase 9: “Everything Happens for a Reason”

It’s a phrase meant to comfort, to offer solace during tough times. But here’s the thing – when someone is in the thick of struggle or grief, hearing “everything happens for a reason” can feel pretty empty.

To someone who’s hurting, it can seem like their pain is being brushed off, or worse, meant to be. It’s like saying their suffering was somehow destined, and that can be a lonely and confusing place to be.

A kinder response might be simply, “I’m so sorry you’re going through this.” It might not explain the why’s or offer solutions, but it acknowledges the pain. It says, “I see you, I’m here with you,” and sometimes, that’s enough.

Phrase 10: “Things Could Be Worse”

I remember when a close friend of mine was going through a rough patch, and I, trying to offer comfort, said, “Well, things could be worse.” In my mind, I was trying to help them see the bright side. But the silence that followed made me realize my mistake.

It’s a phrase we use with good intentions, aiming to provide perspective. But it can unintentionally invalidate the feelings of the person who’s struggling. In that moment,

I saw the disappointment in my friend’s eyes – it’s not about how bad things could be, it’s about how bad they already feel.

I’ve learned that a more empathetic response is to acknowledge their feelings, to be present in their experience.

A simple, “This sounds really hard, and I’m here for you” can go a long way. It doesn’t dismiss or compare their pain; it honors it, and sometimes, that validation is exactly what’s needed.


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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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