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7 Phrases That Are Harmful To A Relationship

The words we choose can have a lasting effect on us, especially if it comes from someone we care about. Here’s some relationship advise on phrases that are harmful to your relationship:

1. “Why?”

“Why” is a very powerful word and is very useful in many situations, but you should avoid using it towards your partner. Asking your partner “Why this?” or “Why that?” can create a feeling of defensiveness in the one being asked.

Try a little experiment and ask yourself “Why am I doing this?” the next time you get the chance. You will feel that it provokes anxiety, and this is the feeling other’s will feel with most “why” questions.

Rephrase: Try to rephrase your question using the words “what” or “how” instead of why. For example “how can I make this better?” or “what am I getting out of this?” You will be surprised at the difference that one word can make.

2. “You Need To”

No one likes to be told what they need to. This is especially true when it comes to a perceived flaw personality trait, for example “you need to be more assertive” or “you need to be more organized.”

The aggressive nature of the phrase can at times be really harmful. Though it’s good to help someone improve themselves, it cannot be done at the expense of the person’s self-esteem.

Rephrase: Instead of pushing your partner to correct him or herself in a disassociated manner, try to be more involve in the pursuit of betterment. Use phrases like “ I would like us to make more decisions together” or “lets work out how to organize the closet”.

3. “I’m Sorry If…”

We hear it all the time, whether in reality or in the movies. Using the phrase “I’m sorry if…” may seem like a decent way to apologize.

However, the word “if” implies that something may or may not have happen, it becomes an apology that is a non admission of a wrongdoing. For example “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings” or “I’m sorry if you felt that way”. It does not come across as genuine.

Rephrase: Take responsibility and own up to a mistake. Instead of “I’m sorry if…” say something along the lines of “I’m sorry for…” or just say “I’m sorry”.

4. “Why Don’t You Just…”

Read this phrase carefully, then recall point number one – “Why?” It already spells trouble. But even other variation such as “you should just” or “you could just” – are just as bad.  This phrase shuts people down, especially when they need someone to listen to them.

Giving advice is great. However, suggesting that a problem can be so easily fixed and inserting the phrase, dismisses the validity of the struggle.

Rephrase: When your partner is going through a struggle, your job is to listen to them and be present. Only when he/she is ready move on, then suggest brainstorming together. Use phrases like “let’s see what we can do” or “what if we did…”

5. “Not Right Now”

This phrase is flat out rejection, especially if you fail to follow up on it.  Though our lives may be busy, we do not want to create distance between ourselves and those we love.

Rephrase: Replace the phrase with something that will let people know that you do want to listen to them. For example “Just give me a few minutes and I’ll be right with you” or “sorry, I need to get this done, but I’d love to listen to your after”.

6. “You Always”

Although this phrase is very negative in its nature, it is not uncommon for couples to say this to each other.  The phrase is very accusatory and will put your partner on the defensive, which will just result in an “I’m right you’re wrong” argument.

Rephrase:  Instead of saying “You’re always busy” or “You always say that”, you can describe your feeling in more detail. “I feel that we don’t spend enough time together” or “I need some reassurance”.

7. “If You Really Love Me, You Would…”

We all know the phrase, but pressuring the person you love into doing something shouldn’t be the case. Using guilt and an ultimatum will never work positively in a relationship; in fact it can ruin it.

There is also the chance that your partner may start to feel resentment towards you for making them do something they didn’t want to.

Rephrase: Never force a person into a corner. Say phrases such as “would you do this for me please?” or “it would mean a lot to me if you could…” However, if they are uncomfortable with it, just accept it and move on.

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