Everyone slips up from time to time and let's out something rude, or mean, or judgmental. That's what it is to be human, and it's OK to occasionally screw up. But there are a few unattractive things you should never say — not even when you're tired, or and not even when you're cranky.
These are the sentiments that echo in the mind forever and ever. Think along the lines of judgmental opinions or rude, unsolicited advice. These things not only hurt the person who hears them, but they also make you look pretty darn bad.
That's because, whether we realize it or not, our words have a lot of weight. "Everything we say is a reflection upon us," says Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, in an email to Bustle. "If we speak with kindness and generosity, people will remember that. If we criticize, humiliate, or cut someone down, this is the impression that people have of us, too."
And this is exactly why you should choose your words carefully, even when you're angry, or arguing, or feeling like you just don't care. It's far better to leave things unsaid, especially since it can be difficult to come back from harsh words, according to Martinez. Read on for some good examples of when that might very well be the case. And the next time you feel some less-than-positive things bubbling to the surface, do everyone a favor and keep them to yourself.
1. Anything Specifically Meant To Push Someone's Buttons
The better you know someone, the easier it is to push their buttons, according to Martinez. But just because you know exactly what to say doesn't mean their sensitivities are fair game. In fact, if you've been entrusted with secrets, bringing them up will only make you look super mean and manipulative. And that's not a good look.
2. Any Type Of Personal Attack
It's one thing to disagree, or even argue. But fighting dirty is something else entirely — especially when you get into personal attacks. "This is a cheap way to try and 'one up' someone, put them in their place, or win an argument," says Martinez. "People have much more respect for, and are much more willing to engage with someone who actively listens and stays on topic, never resorting to making things personal."
3. Any Question About Relationship Status
Commenting on someone's singledom is usually done innocently, but it often ends up coming off as harsh and judgmental. That's why it's almost always none of your business, according to Jonathan Parks-Ramage on Refinery29.com. So unless you're chatting with your best friends, consider this a topic better left untouched.
4. Something You'd Never Want Said To You
This is the age old rule of treating others as you'd like to be treated, and it is sound advice. It shows that you're a respectful person, and that you won't say anything just for the sake of talking. It also shows that you are a calm, measured, and caring. And, if you ask me, those are some pretty great things to be.
5. Comments About Someone's Appearance
Whatever you do, don't point out that someone looks tired or like "they've had a hard night," according to Parks-Ramage. It's kind of like saying, "Wow, you look bad today." It'll not only make them feel awful, but it will make you look like a huge jerk.
6. Anything That Might Make Someone's Day Worse
Be careful what you say to people you don't know well, because you might just be adding to their misery. And that ain't cool. "We never know what someone else is going through, and that we could be adding to their hurt and pain with thoughtless words," Martinez says. "Think about what you say before you say it."
7. Rude Things Meant As A Joke
We all have that one friend who likes to toss around mean jokes. If that friend is you, then proceed with your jokes cautiously. Keep your audience in mind, and don't start slinging insults just for the sake of a laugh. "We are all human, and no matter how strong, it hurts when people are intentionally cruel or negative," Martinez says. There's really nothing funny about that.
8. Anything That Implies You "Don't Care"
I think it was Oprah who said we all just want to be seen. It's such a wise statement, and one that makes a lot of sense. Being seen (and heard) is a basic human desire, so nothing sucks more than having someone say they don't care. That's why, in my opinion (and Oprah's) you should avoid this phrase at all costs.
9. Straight Up Saying "You're Wrong"
There are better ways to tell someone they are wrong then by flat out saying it, according to Vinh Ly on Lifehack.org. Harshly saying "you're wrong" will only hurt their feelings, and it'll make you seem like someone with a giant superiority complex.
10. Questions That Imply Someone Should Have A Baby
In the same vein as asking someone's relationship status, the baby question is pretty much none of your business, according to Parks-Ramage. Consider this topic off limits, or risk looking judgmental.
11. Anything That Suggests Someone Might Fail
Noting that someone might fail is incredibly rude, according to Ly. But so are any hints towards someone's potential failure. Saying things like "Good luck, you'll need it," is uncalled for. Even if you're joking or trying to be helpful, it's almost always better left unsaid.
As are all of the above questions and comments. Apart from hurting the person you're talking to, they all make you look like the most uncaring person in the world. And I doubt any of us (unintentionally or otherwise) want to come off that way.
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