“Honey, does this dress make me look fat?”

Think carefully before you answer this question. There are certain things we say in relationships that upset others. Maybe it is best to avoid these questions or not make comments known to upset the other person. Frankly, there are key phrases that simply make things worse!

Here are a few phrases that will probably bring more tension.  I was inspired by Gina Barreca’s blog to put a relationship twist on common phrases that we use – but shouldn’t.

My advice: I would try to avoid these or be think before you speak:

We need to talk.

Yes it is the title of my book, but usually when we utter these four words, it isn’t a good sign. This usually means something has been brewing beneath the surface and is building. Maybe it is better to say, “There is something on my mind.” No matter, “we need to talk” usually means there is conflict, so use those words only when necessary!

Admit it, your mother doesn’t like me.

Even if she doesn’t, don’t agree with this. Instead, work on the relationship. Ask why the person thinks this and what can be done to improve the relationship. Stay positive, “She doesn’t know you like I do. What’s not to like?”

I thought it was funny but I didn’t see you laughing.

This means you have to like what I like and you can’t be different. Let the person be him/herself. Don’t put this guilt trip on the other person.

So why are you friends with that guy/girl if you don’t have feelings for him/her?

Sounds desperate, like you are jealous and can’t handle his/her relationships.

I might have thrown it away. I don’t remember.

Sounds insensitive, like you don’t care about what he/she bought you. If you secretly throw something away without checking with the person, don’t lie about it. Admit it and be nice enough to ask before you discard something that isn’t yours.

Maybe I would be more understanding if you would tell me something about it.

Can you feel the tension just reading this? This is an indirect accusation.  Be direct. What do you want to know?

Which of my friends would you be interested in if I died?

Do not answer this. There is no good answer. Say, “No one could replace you!”

There are more of these common phrases. We heard from you and included them on the show. Thanks for listening.

What to say if you want to upset others

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