7 Things You're Saying That People May Take The Wrong Way

by Margaux MacColl
Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

No one’s perfect. Occasionally we’re all going to say something that rubs someone the wrong way, even if we don’t realize it. While you should always be yourself, there may be some things you’re saying that can be perceived as annoying.

“A lot of times people can say things that are irritating or slightly offensive with no ill intent,” Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle.

We all strive to have more positive interactions, and sometimes it just takes a little self-reflection. “You have to be both focused on what you’re saying, and then you have to be brave enough and open enough and vulnerable enough to truly pay attention to what the reaction is,” Dr. Klapow says. “And to be willing to consider that the reaction that you're getting could be a function of what you're saying.”

If it seems like something you have said was taken the wrong way, it’s worth thinking about why and considering how to phrase it better. Although what someone considers annoying can be subjective, there are some common expressions that tend to be universally irritating. Here are some annoying phrases that should probably be avoided, according to experts.


"I'm Going To Be Brutally Honest"

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This may have good intentions, but it can come across as just mean. “If you believe it’s something that could be hurtful [...] it’s always appropriate to ask permission because they may not be ready for it,” Dr. Klapow says.

He recommends rephrasing it into a question, and saying something like “can I be completely honest with you?” By giving them the option to say no, you’ll avoid straining your relationship.


"I'm Sorry, But..."

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By immediately qualifying your apology, you diminish the sincerity behind it and set yourself up for an argument.

“You put yourself in a defensive mode,” Dr. Klapow says. “Which for a lot of people is just irritating.”


"There’s No Reason For To Be Upset"


Although you may be trying to calm someone down, you end up telling them how they should be feeling, which can irritate them. “Anytime we profess to know what another person is thinking or feeling, we are stating a falsehood," Dr. Klapow says.

He says that while you can infer thoughts from someone’s actions, you should always avoid stating their feelings for them, and ask them about their feeling instead.


"You Need To Calm Down"


Dr. Klapow describes these as “fighting words.” Instead of diffusing a situation, you can end up irritating the person that you’re speaking to.

This falls into the same category of telling someone how they feel and should be avoided.


"I Feel So Sorry For You"


Instead of communicating empathy, this can end up being somewhat insulting. “It calls into question their strength, their honor, their dignity,” Dr. Klapow says.

Someone may not want to feel pitied, so it’s a good idea to avoid this phrase when comforting a friend.


"When One Door Closes, Another One Opens"

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This is another phrase often used to comfort a friend. However, it can come across as unhelpful and a bit annoying.

Life coach Elisa Robyn, PhD tells Bustle that, while this is not a bad thing to say to someone after they’re in a better place, it can irritating in the moment.


"I Am Who I Am"


People often say this when they’re trying to communicate their core values. However, Dr. Klapow says this phrasing often skews the meaning.

Instead of telling someone about your principles, Klapow says it makes you seem uncooperative and “not open to change.”

Most of the time when we irritate people, we don't realize what we're saying wrong. By thinking deeper about what we say and avoiding certain phrases, we can have more positive and considerate interactions.