People with high social intelligence never use these 12 phrases in a conversation

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There are just some people who are naturally good at people-ing.

They know what to say (and what not to say) to connect well with others.

And the reason why they’re that way is social intelligence.

If you’ve ever wanted to find people who are socially intelligent, or want to learn how to be one yourself, then you can start by trying to understand what makes them who they are.

Here in this article, I will show you 12 phrases that people with high social intelligence never use, and why.

1) “Uhhmm, sorry I wasn’t listening again.”

Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.

It’s also a fundamental part of every social interaction.

Most people have made it a habit to think about or do something else while someone’s talking. It seems normal for many of us to read our emails or check TikTok every five minutes.

Socially intelligent people know better than to subject people to that pain.

They’ll listen even if they’re tired or bored. Or try to, at any rate. 

You can hear them say “Sorry I wasn’t listening.” because, let’s be honest, we all space out every now and then.

But “Sorry I wasn’t listening again”? Not likely. 

They’ll likely have admitted to being too tired to continue the conversation before they’ll ever say those words.

2) “Cool…”

Surely there’s more you can tell someone who’s trying to talk to you about things they’re passionate about than just “cool”, right?

“Cool” is like a verbal shrug—a way to say “yeah, yeah, let’s move on.”

It’s a good way to make people think you’re not interested in them, and it’s for that reason that socially intelligent people just don’t say this.

Instead of letting the topic drift away, they’ll engage, ask, and react.

They want to make the other person feel like they have someone they can talk to, even if they’re normally not that interested in the topic in the first place.

3) “Stop. Let me cut you right now.”

And no, I don’t mean the kind of cutting you do with a knife. I mean the whole “stop talking, I’m taking over” thing.

What’s so hard about just letting people finish expressing their thoughts? To give them 30 seconds more, or maybe a minute to clarify things?

That’s why people with high social intelligence would never say “I’m gonna cut you right now.”

They’d wait for a pause before they say anything. 

They know that doing so could make the speaker feel a little bit disrespected, no matter if they say it with a smile.

4) “You’re bothered by that?!”

Different people are affected by the same thing differently.

What might be a “small” and “forgettable” thing for one person might be deeply tied to another person’s worst traumas.

Socially intelligent people understand and acknowledge this, so they strive never to minimize other people’s issues and suffering.

If someone confesses that they’re bothered by horror movies, they’re not going to go “You’re bothered by that?! You know it’s not real, right?”

It might not be real, but the effects it has on them are very much real. And so they’d acknowledge it and let the person go on talking.

5) “If you say so…”

This phrase is something that can easily come off as condescending, especially when laced with sarcasm. Provocative, and goading, at worst.

That’s why people with high social intelligence never utter these words!

If they’re not sold on something people told them, they’d just say “I’m not that sure about that, but we’ll see” instead.

Discussions are meant to be an exchange of knowledge, after all. 

There’s no point in a conversation if the people you’re talking to have no problems just dismissing your words out of hand!

And if they really can’t find themselves to agree with you, they’ll call it off nicely. They’ll say something like “I’m sorry, but let’s just agree to disagree for now, okay?”

6) “I know you’re depressed but can’t we talk about my good news?”

The first part does not necessarily need to be said out loud, mind.

This is also about those people who walk up to people who are clearly in a bad place and then immediately try to gush about their good news.

They might know that their best friend just got dumped, but that’s nothing. They just have to talk to their best friend about their upcoming date or wedding!

People with high social intelligence know better than to do this. 

If they must share, they’ll ask first… or better yet, stay quiet for the moment and share the good news at a more appropriate time.

7) “I know you want to talk about yourself…but can we talk about me?”

I know someone who’s exactly like this.

It doesn’t matter even if you’re down on your knees in front of them, crying your heart out. All they can think about is themselves.

Sure they might go “aww, that’s so sad” for a heartbeat or two, only to quickly yank the focus back to themselves.

Does this sound a touch narcissistic? Yes. And that’s no coincidence—narcissists generally have poor social intelligence.

People with high social intelligence don’t care about being the center of conversation. 

But they might steer the spotlight away from them if they think that it’s been on them for too long.

With every interaction, they regulate themselves by asking “hmm, am I talking too much already?” And if they think they do, they shift the focus to others.

8) “You’re happy? Good for you—I’m not. Can we talk about my problems now?”

I’m sure that you know at least one person who’d say something like this.

They don’t care that they’re ruining the mood and dragging everyone’s spirits down. They’re miserable, and they can’t help but want to make everyone else miserable, too.

I sympathize with them, truly. But it can’t be denied that they’re a drag to be around.

People with high social intelligence remain delightful company, however, even if they are dealing with problems. And that’s because they respect others’ feelings.

They’ll instead wait for an appropriate time to talk to someone—privately—about their problems. And even then, only if that person consents.

9) “I think that’s just stupid.”

This one is just plain careless.

Now they might have a reason. Maybe they were talking about an idea that is genuinely stupid, or maybe they were just using it as a figure of speech.

But a socially intelligent person knows better than to antagonize the people around them by insulting their intelligence anyways.

Instead, they’ll be diplomatic. If they don’t agree with the idea, they’ll say “Hmmm, I don’t agree with that.”

And if they think that the idea was genuinely stupid, they’ll instead go “I think this needs more fine-tuning.”

People with high social intelligence understand that the words we choose matter a lot. And that’s why they always choose their words carefully.

11) “Can I be brutally honest with you?”

Ugh. This one’s one of my big pet peeves.

Look. The people who say this aren’t interested in actually being honest. They’re interested in securing your permission to be hurtful and mean.

I mean, honestly, how are people supposed to respond to that? Saying “no” is basically like saying “I don’t want you to be honest with me.”

The thing is that you don’t have to be “brutal” to be “honest.” In fact, people with high social intelligence understand this well.

If they must deliver “bad” news or give criticism, they’ll do it in a way that doesn’t cause unnecessary hurt.

11) “Forgive me for prying, but…”

Now this isn’t because socially intelligent people know better than to pry, because they still do—especially if they feel like prying would be justified.

But going “forgive me for prying, but…” isn’t the best way to go about it because it leaves the other person no choice.

They’re basically telling you that they think what they’re doing might be undesirable, but they’re doing it anyway.

Someone with more social intelligence will instead value your feelings, so you’ll hear them say things like “can you tell me more?” or “Would you like to share more?” instead.

12) “Bah! Everyone’s got issues.”

You might have met people who say this when you have to turn them down because of your own troubles.

Tell them that you can’t go to their party because you’ve got a headache or that you’re still hurting from your breakup and they’d go “Geez! I have issues too and I am the one running the party!”

You can rest assured that it’s not you, it’s them. They don’t have much social intelligence!

It’s true that we all have our own issues. And it’s true that some people can carry on despite that. But some people need time and space to process things.

People with high social intelligence will acknowledge that and instead try to be empathetic, telling you things like “I understand, maybe next time?” or “my sympathies. I hope things get better for you” instead.

Final thoughts:

What is the right way to handle this-and-that situation? What are the right words to tell people when they feel happy, sad, forlorn, or heartbroken?

How can we make others feel truly seen and heard?

Let me tell you this: books and articles can only help you so much. 

If you’re to learn how to be more socially intelligent, then you’ll want to be out there talking to people.

Social intelligence is not a talent that we’re simply born with. It’s a skill that we master by engaging with the people around us with an open mind.

So go out there and get to know people better.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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