8 phrases you should never say to your partner if you want to keep their respect

If you’ve ever been in a relationship, you know that words can either build or break the bond you share with your partner.

Some, even when said without ill intentions, can damage the respect your partner has for you.

The words we use in conversations with our significant others can sometimes be taken the wrong way. They may feel disrespected or unvalued.

And trust me, it’s not a pleasant place to be.

Let’s delve into these phrases and discover how to better communicate with our partners.

1) “Why can’t you be more like…?”

When faced with challenges, it’s natural to look for solutions or improvements.

But comparing your partner to someone else is a no-go.

This phrase, even if said in the heat of an argument, can make your partner feel underappreciated and undervalued. They begin to question their worth and your respect for them.

In essence, you’re telling them they’re not good enough as they are.

Using this phrase does not foster a healthy relationship; instead, it creates resentment and hurts the respect your partner has for you.

So, avoid it at all costs. Focus on constructive feedback and ways to grow together rather than wishing for a different person beside you.

2) “I’m fine…”

Seems harmless, right?

But in reality, it’s one of the most damaging phrases you can use in a relationship. When your partner asks how you are or if something’s wrong, responding with “I’m fine” when you’re clearly not, can create a wall between you two.

This phrase can be a way of shutting down open and honest communication. It may feel easier than explaining what’s really going on, but it leaves your partner guessing and in the dark about your feelings.

Remember, your partner is not a mind reader. The respect in your relationship is built on trust and honesty. Open communication is key to maintaining and strengthening the respect between you two.

3) “You always…” or “You never…”

These phrases might seem like a simple way to express frustration, but they can chip away at your partner’s respect for you.

When you use these sweeping generalizations, you’re not addressing the actual issue at hand. Instead, you’re criticizing your partner’s character.

When a person hears these absolutes, their brain tends to go into defense mode, making it less likely for them to listen to or empathize with what you’re saying.

They may feel attacked and become defensive, which can lead to an unproductive argument rather than a constructive conversation.

Next time you find yourself about to use “always” or “never” in an argument, pause.

Try to express your feelings without attacking your partner’s character. It’s more effective and respectful to address specific behaviors or incidents instead of resorting to blanket statements.

4) “It’s not a big deal…”

Sometimes, in an attempt to soothe our partner or diffuse a situation, we might say, “It’s not a big deal.”

But what may seem trivial to you may be significant to them.

When we dismiss our partner’s feelings or concerns, it can make them feel invalidated or unimportant. They start to question whether they can safely share their thoughts and emotions with us.

Instead of dismissing their feelings, try to understand where they’re coming from. Even if it seems insignificant to you, express that you see their point of view and that their feelings are valid.

This shows your respect for their emotions and ensures they feel heard and understood in the relationship.

5) “Calm down…”

We have all probably said this at one point or another, thinking it would help diffuse a heated situation.

But the truth is, it rarely does. In fact, telling your partner to “calm down” when they’re upset can often escalate the situation.

It’s like pouring fuel on a fire. When emotions are high, being told to suppress those feelings can make your partner feel dismissed and misunderstood.

Instead of using this phrase, try acknowledging their feelings first. Say something like, “I can see you’re really upset,” and then give them some space to cool down if needed.

This approach shows empathy and respect for their emotions, and can help prevent further conflict.

6) “If you loved me, you would…”

Using love as a bargaining chip can seriously undermine the respect in your relationship.

I remember a friend once sharing how his partner frequently used this phrase to manipulate him into doing things.

This, he confessed, made him feel like his love was being questioned and his worth was being measured by his actions.

This phrase manipulates love into a conditional state, implying that your partner’s love for you should be proven through actions you dictate. It creates an imbalance of power and can lead to resentment.

Instead of questioning their love, communicate your needs clearly and openly.

Remember, it’s not about making them prove their love but about creating a partnership based on mutual respect and understanding.

7) “Whatever…”

“Whatever” is a dismissive word that shuts down conversation and conveys a lack of interest in or care about your partner’s feelings or thoughts. Truth be told, it’s a form of verbal eye-rolling.

Think about it.

How would you feel if you were pouring your heart out, or trying to resolve an issue, and the response you received was a curt “whatever”?

It’s hurtful and shows a lack of respect for your partner and their feelings.

If you find yourself wanting to use this phrase, take a moment to gather your thoughts instead.

Even if you need some time to process the conversation, it’s better to communicate that rather than dismiss your partner with “whatever.”

8) “You’re overreacting…”

This is one of the most harmful phrases you can use in a relationship. By telling your partner they’re overreacting, you’re dismissing their feelings and perspectives.

Your partner’s emotions and reactions are their reality. Even if you don’t understand or agree with them, it’s crucial to acknowledge their feelings as valid.

Telling them they’re overreacting is essentially saying their feelings are wrong, which can lead to feelings of isolation and misunderstanding.

Instead, aim for understanding and empathy. Communicate that you may not fully understand their reaction, but you’re willing to listen and try.

This shows respect for their feelings and can strengthen your bond in the long run.

Remember, respect in your relationship is built on how you communicate with each other. Making an effort to avoid these phrases can go a long way toward maintaining and enhancing the respect you share.


The essence of a relationship is understanding, respect, and love, and it all boils down to how we communicate with each other.

This guide is designed to help you navigate the tricky waters of relationship conversations, but, in the end, it’s your relationship – it’s up to you to choose what’s best for the two of you.

Here’s to building stronger, more respectful relationships!

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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