13 phrases you’ll never hear a truly compassionate person say

Genuinely compassionate people aren’t hard to spot. They have a whole different demeanor to them. 

Soft-spoken and with a reached-out hand ready to help, a genuinely compassionate person will never, ever say the following phrases. 

1) “Stop being so sensitive.” 

Don’t you just hate this phrase? If you’re on the receiving end of it, you’ll be quite distraught that your feelings are entirely dismissed. 

I’ve heard it said by husbands to their wives (and vice versa), mothers to their daughters, and managers to their employees.   

Compassionate people respect the feelings and emotions of others. They’d never belittle or dismiss them in such a manner.

If you wouldn’t say it to a stranger, for goodness’ sake, don’t say it to your family member, friend, or especially not to your subordinate.

2) “You’re just being dramatic.”  

Another insensitive thing to say is, “You’re just being dramatic.” There are also many variations of it:

  • “You’re overreacting.” 
  • “You’re exaggerating.”
  • “You’re blowing things out of proportion.”
  • “You’re making a big deal out of nothing.”

There’s nothing worse than hearing one of these when you pour your heart out to someone. 

You tell them something that’s very important to you, and they just dismiss your thoughts and feelings in the worst way possible.

They signal you’re exaggerating and overreacting to a situation. 

While it’s true that some people respond differently to specific situations, labeling them as dramatic without understanding their perspective is hurtful and invalidates their feelings. 

On the other hand, a sympathetic person will try to understand and empathize with others’ emotions. 

Instead of dismissing someone as being dramatic, they’d take the time to listen and validate their feelings.

3) “I don’t care about your problems.” 

When you’re the center of your own universe, other people’s problems aren’t that important. 

When you say, “I don’t care about your problems” to someone, you’re signaling indifference and suggesting that you’re not interested in offering support or understanding.

You’re also leaving the person feeling invalidated, isolated, and unsupported, especially if they were seeking comfort, advice, or a listening ear from you.

Compassionate people actively demonstrate care and concern for other people’s problems.

They offer a listening ear, express empathy, and try to understand their perspective. They also show genuine interest in finding ways to help or comfort them, realizing that offering support would make a significant difference in their well-being.

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4) “I told you so. You should have listened.” 

The quintessential “I told you so!” 

What do we signify with this often-heard phrase? Smugness, of course. And the satisfaction that we were right.

But guess what? Even a broken clock is correct two times per day. 

Telling someone, “I told you so. You should have listened,” is counterproductive and detrimental to your relationship.

Instead of focusing on past mistakes, compassionate people focus on the present situation and provide comfort or assistance. 

They offer support, encouragement and help their friend, family member, or whoever to solve the problems, consequences, or challenges they face.

5) ”You’re on your own.” 

”You’re on your own” is similar to “I don’t care about your problems,” right? 

When someone tells you this, they denote a sense of abandonment or refusal to provide help. 

This can leave you feeling devastated and isolated. Especially if the person saying it is someone you hold near and dear. 

It really is a relationship-altering phrase sometimes and a good wake-up call that you need to be more self-dependent. 

Supporting one another is integral to promoting a caring and empathetic society. Compassionate people strive to create an environment where people feel valued, understood, and supported, even when facing challenges.

6) “Get over it.” 

“Get over it” is another phrase that reeks of self-entitlement and smugness. 

It often dismisses or trivializes someone’s emotional struggles, pain, or difficult experiences. It implies they should quickly move on and stop dwelling on their emotions or the past.

People experience emotions differently, and healing from emotional wounds or challenging experiences takes time and varies from person to person. 

Simply telling someone to “Get over it” disregards the complexity of their emotions and the process of healing.

A compassionate person would say one of the following instead:

  • “I’m here for you. How can I support you through this?”
  • “Take all the time you need. I’m here to listen.”
  • “I can imagine how tough this must be. Is there anything I can do to help?”
  • “You’re not alone in this. I’m here to support you every step of the way.”

7) “You brought this upon yourself.” 

Another phrase that stings and isn’t helpful at all to the person that’s in the middle of having serious issues. 

When you say, “You brought this upon yourself,” you’re basically saying it’s their fault and responsibility alone. It’s just like saying, “I told you so.”

It’s their fault they did something and now have to suffer the consequences. Do you think the person doesn’t already know this? Is there really a need to say this out loud to them? 

Life is influenced by many factors, and attributing all the blame to the person oversimplifies the circumstances.

A truly compassionate person would say, “We all make mistakes. Let’s learn from this and find a solution together.”

Or, “We all have moments where things don’t go as planned. Let’s focus on finding a solution.”

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8) “You’re just not trying hard enough.” 

Look, I think that with enough passion, consistency, and hard work, people can move mountains. 

For me, this phrase could motivate the right person not to give up and take it up a notch to fulfill their goals and dreams. 

However, saying this to the wrong person could completely demoralize them and make them give up altogether. 

It’s dismissive of the person’s challenges, circumstances, or limitations. It also overlooks the complexity of their situation and the potential obstacles they’re facing.

What you should say to them is, “I understand you’re facing challenges. How can I support you in overcoming them?”

Or, “What obstacles are you encountering? Let’s work together to find ways to overcome them.”

Sounds much better and more constructive, doesn’t it?

9) “Stop complaining.” 

I’ve used this phrase throughout my life. I do find that people complain too much, including me. 

They’re not satisfied when it’s sunny or when it’s raining. Oh, there’s too much salt in your meal? (The next day) Oh, it isn’t salty enough, you say? Go figure. 

All joking aside, there are many valid reasons why people should express their frustrations, and dismissing their complaints outright can be hurtful and prevent open communication.

For example, when someone says, “I hate my job. It’s so stressful, and my boss is always criticizing me,” you shouldn’t tell them to stop complaining, should you?

Instead, try with “Your concerns are very reasonable. Let’s discuss them and see if we can find a way to address the issues.”

10) “Why can’t you just be happy?” 

When someone tells you, “I’m feeling lonely lately. It seems like I can’t connect with anyone, and it’s making me depressed.” And you answer with, “Why can’t you just be happy?”

It implies that happiness is a simple choice and the person should be able to change their emotional state effortlessly. With a snap of their fingers, basically.

However, happiness isn’t clear-cut and is influenced by many internal and external factors. It’s not always a matter of choice or willpower.

Truly compassionate people will try to understand the underlying reasons behind the person’s emotional state. They provide a listening ear, show empathy, and offer help or advice if needed.

11) “I don’t understand why you’re still upset about this.” 

The phrase “I don’t understand why you’re still upset about this” is dismissive and unsupportive to someone who is still feeling emotional or distressed about a specific issue. 

It makes them feel like their feelings are being undermined or not taken seriously.

A genuinely sensitive person would say, “I can see that it’s still affecting you. Would you like to talk about it and help me understand better?”

Or, “I may not fully understand, but I’m here to listen and support you. What can I do to help you through this?”

12) “You should be more like me.” 

“You should be more like me” suggests that they believe that their own qualities, traits, or behaviors are superior or more desirable than those of the person they’re talking to.

I cringe at the mere thought of this phrase. 

We all have our own values, experiences, and perspectives that shape who we are.

Empathetic people promote acceptance, appreciation, and a celebration of individuality. 

They emphasize the value of diversity and encourage mutual respect. This allows for personal growth and promotes an environment of understanding and support.

Just bite your tongue if you don’t have anything supportive to say. 

13) “You’re just looking for attention.”

And lastly, we have another banger. 

“You’re just looking for attention” implies that the person’s actions or expressions are insincere and driven by a desire for excessive or needless attention or sympathy. 

It tells them they focus solely on seeking attention and not genuinely expressing their emotions or needs.

Try saying, “It looks like something’s bothering you. I’m here if you want to open up and discuss it” instead.

Final thoughts

It’s all too easy to be condescending and inconsiderate. It’s an easy way to wash your hands and not think about helping others. It’s the easy way out.

We could all try to be more compassionate and aware of other people’s problems and perspectives, couldn’t we? 


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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