News flash: Arguments are unavoidable!
Whether we like it or not, they’re a natural part of human interaction and we’re bound to get into them from time to time.
What determines their outcome – whether our point gets across and whether we remain on good terms with the other person – is how we communicate.
That’s where being smart comes in.
Smart people recognize the importance of effective communication. They know what to say and what not to say to have a respectful and productive exchange.
In this article, we’ll explore 18 things that smart people never say in arguments so that you can become a “smarter” communicator.
Here we go:
1) “You’re just stupid.”
Not much of an argument, is it?
Calling someone stupid reminds me of little kids fighting on the playground, not two mature adults having it out.
Smart people would never call someone stupid in an argument because using insults is not only disrespectful but also takes away any chance of finding a solution and making up.
When someone tells the other person, “You’re just stupid” they’re acting like a child who can’t think of anything better to say. They don’t want to fix things, they just want to have a grown-up tantrum.
2) “You always do this.”
Don’t you just hate it when people keep bringing up past mistakes in new arguments?
As if it’s not bad enough that they’re accusing you of something now, they’re also bringing up things you thought you resolved.
This actually keeps happening with someone close to me. We get into an argument, they present their case and I present mine, I explain that my intentions have been misunderstood and we make up.
But then… the next time we get into an argument, they’ll say, “You always do this” even though we already talked about it and I thought that they understood that I wasn’t “doing this”.
All in all, making generalizations about someone’s behavior is bound to make them defensive and escalate the argument. That’s why smart people prefer to focus on specific issues rather than making broad accusations.
3. “I don’t care about your opinion.”
When you dismiss someone’s opinion, not only are you showing a lack of openness to different points of view, but you’re effectively telling them that you don’t care about them.
Think about it – if someone doesn’t care about your opinion, there’s no point in continuing the conversation or the relationship for that matter, right?
Smart people know how important it is to listen to the other person and consider what they’re thinking.
Even if you disagree with them, the least you can do is respect their opinion.
4. “You’re wrong and I’m right.”
Here’s another childish argument.
You’d be surprised at how many adults use it! They have a hard time processing the fact that they don’t know everything and they’re not always right.
When you use this argument, you’re refusing to entertain the possibility of being wrong and saying no to a healthy dialogue.
If you wanna be smart, you need to be open to the possibility of being wrong. And that’s okay, mistakes are actually good for us because they help us learn and grow.
5. “You’re just being emotional.”
This argument is usually used by men when arguing with a woman.
They wouldn’t dare use this argument with another guy, but when it comes to women, the old stereotype that we’re always emotional and thus can’t be rational is very much alive.
Of course, this isn’t an argument used by smart men. They know how condescending it is to say something like that.
And guess what – you’re allowed to be emotional from time to time. Emotions are a valid aspect of the human experience and are bound to come up – especially in an argument!
Instead of being dismissed, emotions should be acknowledged and respected.
6. “I’m too busy to listen to you.”
So, if you wanna tell someone just how unimportant their thoughts and feelings are, just brush them off.
This is the perfect way to make someone feel like sh** and to lose a friend.
If you don’t want to do that, then be smart about it and take the time to listen to the other person. Be empathetic and willing to engage in a constructive conversation, no matter how busy you are.
Can you do that?
7. “You’re just jealous.”
Listen up: Accusing someone of jealousy brushes aside the real issues at hand and undermines the validity of the other person’s concerns.
This is certainly not something smart people would say in an argument.
Instead of resorting to personal attacks, try to address the problem.
8. “You’re just being sensitive.”
Smart people never invalidate someone’s feelings by labeling them as “overly sensitive”.
Whether the person you’re arguing with is a close friend, family member, coworker, or acquaintance, it’s important to acknowledge their emotions.
Trust me, it will help you gain a better understanding of each other’s perspectives and increase the chances of a positive outcome.
10. “You’re just overreacting.”
The truth is that yes, sometimes people overreact. That’s why it’s up to the smart person to de-escalate the situation.
Telling someone who is overreacting that they’re overreacting is like pouring oil on a fire.
If you want to calm the other person down so that you can have a normal conversation, then try to approach them with empathy and understanding.
Try to figure out why they reacted the way they did.
11. “You’re just trying to start a fight.”
Maybe they are and maybe they aren’t.
But accusing someone of intentionally starting a fight undermines the possibility of resolving the underlying issues.
If you want to be smart about it, assume good intentions and look for a constructive resolution.
12. “I don’t need to explain myself to you.”
Here’s the thing: Refusing to provide an explanation or justify your actions is pretty arrogant.
When you refuse to explain, you’re basically telling the other person that you think you’re better than them and you’re effectively shutting down any chance of having a dialogue.
Smart people know how important it is to treat the other person as an equal and that explaining your reasoning fosters understanding and helps bridge gaps in communication.
13. “You’re just looking for attention.”
Accusing someone of seeking attention deflects from the real issues being discussed. Instead, try to understand their underlying motivations and address the core concerns.
14. “You never understand me.”
Saying this is defensive behavior and may lead to a breakdown in communication.
While it may be true that the other person doesn’t understand you, accusing them and using words like “never” won’t help the situation.
Try to think of a way to get your point across and make them understand you, use a new strategy.
And instead of saying, “You never understand me” say something like, “It’s very important to me that you try to understand where I’m coming from” and once you have their attention, be very clear in expressing yourself.
15. “You’re just being dramatic.”
This is another way to dismiss someone and diminish their experiences and emotions.
Obviously, it’s not something smart people say in arguments.
Instead, they try to approach the conversation with empathy and validate the other person’s feelings, even if they don’t fully understand them or agree.
16. “You’re just like [negative comparison].”
The quickest way to make me angry is to compare me to my horrible aunt. Do that and the argument will turn into a full-on war.
If you want to stay on topic, have the other person hear you out, and resolve your conflict, you should never make negative comparisons to demean or belittle someone.
Just try to address the specific problem being discussed, don’t resort to personal attacks. Okay?
17. “I’m done with this conversation.”
Smart people don’t walk out on arguments, no matter how hard.
That’s because abandoning a conversation abruptly prevents resolution and leaves lingering tensions.
Eventually, you’re gonna have to resolve things so instead of dragging this out, try to be patient and to find common ground. Stay calm and work towards a mutually satisfactory conclusion.
18. “It’s pointless to discuss this with you.”
Just think about how you’d feel if someone told you this.
Stupid? Unimportant? Angry?
The truth is that it’s never a good idea to write off the other person’s opinions as worthless – not if you want to continue having any kind of productive relationship with them.
Be smart and approach discussions with an open mind. Be ready to engage in meaningful exchanges, you never know, the other person may just surprise you.
The bottom line
Smart people never resort to personal attacks, dismissive statements, or closed-mindedness in arguments.
They avoid insults, generalizations, and accusations. Instead, they focus on the issues at hand.
They know how important it is to be respectful, have empathy, and be an active listener.
Now that you know what verbal landmines to avoid, hopefully, you’ll try to be smarter in all future arguments.