What Not to Say: Signs of Low Emotional Intelligence

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Mastering social interactions requires empathy, awareness, and a knack for reading situations. People with low emotional intelligence often utter insensitive remarks and miss social cues. This list explores 15 phrases, explains their impact, and suggests kinder alternatives for better relationships.

“I don’t care how you feel.”

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Expressing indifference to someone’s emotions disregards the human aspect of communication. It comes across as cold and uncaring. This approach can damage deep connections and close off insightful dialogue.

Consider saying: “Let’s focus on understanding each other’s perspectives.”

“Just get over it.”

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This dialogue oversimplifies complex sentiments and undermines the person’s experience, suggesting their feelings are not significant or worthy of attention.

Consider saying: “I see this is tough for you. How can I support you as you work through it?”

“Calm Down.”

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Telling people to “calm down” does more harm than good, as it can feel dismissive and belittle their concerns. It suggests their emotions are not valid or essential.

Consider saying: “Let’s take a moment to breathe and discuss this calmly.”

“You’re too sensitive.”

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Are we? Blaming someone for their reaction instead of addressing the content of what was said can lead to a sense of isolation and misunderstanding.

Consider saying: “I didn’t realize my words would affect you this way. Let’s talk about it.”

“That’s a stupid idea.”

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There’s no such thing as a dumb idea! Criticizing an idea without a constructive alternative can halt creativity and discourage open communication and innovation.

Consider saying: “That’s an interesting perspective. Can we explore how it might work in practice?”

“It’s just a joke!”

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Dismissing a person’s hurt feelings under the guise of humor can damage trust and respect, especially if the “joke” was at their expense.

Consider saying: “I didn’t mean to upset you with my joke. I’ll be more mindful in the future.”

“I always…” or “You never…”

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Using absolutes fails to acknowledge the complexities of human behavior and can portray situations incorrectly. Such statements often lead to unfair judgments.

Consider saying: “I’ve noticed a pattern we might need to address. Can we talk about it?”

“This is how I am. Deal with it.”

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This statement shows a lack of willingness to grow or adapt, which can stifle personal and professional associations.

Consider saying: “I recognize I have areas to improve. Let’s work together on finding a middle ground.”


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Using “whatever” in a discussion can signal disengagement and a lack of willingness to understand the other person’s point of view. It puts an end to a meaningful conversation.

Consider saying: “I see we have different views. Let’s find common ground.”

“Because I said so.”

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This response can come across as authoritarian and dismissive. It lacks empathy and fails to provide any substantial explanation or rationale.

Consider saying: “Let me explain the reasoning behind my decision.”

“I don’t see why this is such a big deal.”

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Diminishing someone’s concerns invalidates their feelings and can stop you from understanding their perspective.

Consider saying: “Help me understand why this is so important to you.”

“I did nothing wrong.”

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Refusing to acknowledge one’s part in a conflict prevents resolution and growth. Such statements hinder the development of empathy and self-awareness.

Consider saying: “I’m willing to see where I might have gone wrong here. Let’s talk it over.”

“It’s not my problem.”

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Ignoring issues that affect the group shows a need for more consideration for collective challenges and can erode a sense of community and support.

Consider saying: “Let’s see how we can deal with this issue together.”

“I am not trying to be rude, but…”

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Starting a sentence this way signals that the speaker is aware they’re about to be potentially offensive yet chooses to proceed, which can put the listener on the defensive.

Consider saying: “Let me share some feedback constructively.”

“You’re overthinking it.”

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This statement can belittle the person’s thought process and suggest their concerns or analysis are invalid.

Consider saying: “I can see you’re putting a lot of thought into this. How can I help clarify?”


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