4 Things We Need to Stop Saying to the People We Care About (And What to Say Instead)

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Photo Credit: http://casheefoo.deviantart.com/art/So-Cold-148776652
4 Things We Need to Stop Saying to the People We Care About
And What to Say Instead


  1. “I’m sorry.” as a response to bad news.
Perhaps this is just my personal opinion, but there is nothing more frustrating than receiving an apology after confiding in someone. What do you have to apologize for? Did you give my dying relative cancer? Were you responsible for the divorce? No? Then, why are you saying sorry? If it’s not your fault, then you don’t need to apologize. I know pity is society’s stock response, but if you care about me, I deserve something more than a stock response. Nobody wants or needs your pity.

What to Say Instead: “That sucks.”
That’s the response that immediately comes into your mind anyway, right? So say it! Also acceptable: “I hate that you’re going through this.” and “I’m here for you.” Hugs and other reassuring forms of affections are appreciated as well.

2. “I don’t care.” when you do.
I know it’s popular now to be the one who cares the least, and it’s never been very cool to be passionate about something and/or have a genuine, knowledgable opinion (ahem, nerds), but why undervalue yourself like that? If you care about something, say so!

What to Say Instead: The truth.
If you’d rather have burgers than pad thai, say so. Pick the movie and the place to eat if you have the plan in mind (and obviously, you do). Stop relying on the opinions of others to be your truth. It’s not. Own your truth.

3. Gender-based generalizations (boys suck/girls are crazy etc…)
There are exceptions to every rule so grouping an entire gender into an opinionated statement is ridiculous and unfair. Plus, have you ever noticed that we tend to make these generalizations only in the company of the gender we’re generalizing? This puts the person we care about in an awkward position. Either he/she will have to defend their gender or disown it, and neither is fair. I understand experiences have a tendency to reinforce popular stereotypes, but our experiences reflect our individual selves more than anything else, especially gender. Stop generalizing.

What to Say Instead: “I haven’t had the best experience with *insert gender here* lately.” then tell whatever experience reinforced the stereotype in your head.
We generalize to protect ourselves from the blame of our actions and experiences. It’s much easier to dismiss all girls as crazy than to admit our own flakiness or fascination with drama. Likewise, it’s much easier to say all boys suck than to admit we don’t have the self-esteem to treat ourselves with the respect we’re upset about not receiving from the boys we talk to. Be honest with yourself. Own your experiences. I believe in the healing power of talking through your experiences with others (especially people you care about), but know the blame is equal. There are two sides to every story, and generalizations will never be right.

4. “I told you so.”
Okay, so you might be right. You know you were right. They know you were right. Why state the obvious? People learn from experience more often than from advice. Do you think pointing out how right you were will make the person listen to you in the future? Because that’s not how things work. It’s extremely unnecessary to point this out.

What to Say Instead: Nothing.
Your silent support is all that is needed.


The people we care about need and deserve our love and support. Let’s improve our expressions to show how much we care.

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