Have you ever put your foot in it and said something you regretted to someone you love? We all speak before we think sometimes, but it can be really hurtful to say the wrong thing to our partner, friends or family. Some things just shouldn't be said to people we care about though, so think twice before you say the following …
Frustrated parents can often say this to their children, but they're not the only ones who come out with this thoughtless phrase. What you really mean is that you're frustrated at something they've done, but it comes across as a criticism of them as a person. If you're cross at someone and need to tell them, be precise about what you're angry at, so that they know what needs to be put right.
People can easily be put off doing something they enjoy because of thoughtless criticism by a loved one. So what if your child isn't good at games or your partner hasn't painted the house very skilfully? The important thing is that they're trying, and anyway how can you get better at something without trying?
This is a horrible thing to say to someone, because you're basically telling them they're no right to feel the way they do. Maybe it's not them being too sensitive, but someone else being insensitive that's the problem. It's also putting the responsibility on them for being upset, rather than the person who caused the upset. And if they're upset over something that's not that big a deal, try helping them put it into perspective rather than ridiculing them.
This is just as bad as telling someone they're no good at something. Are they really doing it wrong, or just doing it differently? If they're going about it the wrong way, don't tell them they're messing it up. Instead, suggest 'here's another way of doing that you could try'.
This is a really negative thing to say to someone you care about. There are better ways of pointing out to someone that their behaviour left something to be desired. Or is it that they have their own values, and you're judging them by your own views?
Never, ever say this to someone. It's a really hurtful thing to hear, even if you know it's only been said in the heat of the moment. You don't hate them - quite the opposite - so don't say something you don't mean. You could really upset them and end up damaging the relationship.
If a loved one confides in you about something that's upsetting or worrying them, never tell them that they're exaggerating. You may not see it as a major problem, but it's an issue to them. Be caring and listen to their concerns, then offer helpful advice if they want - but don't deny their feelings.
So if you have a tendency to put your foot in your mouth, learn to think before you speak. Be sensitive to the feelings of your loved ones so that you don't say the wrong thing. What's the most hurtful thing that someone's ever said to you?
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