Intelligent People Never Say These 16 Phrases
Words are powerfull and cannot be retrieved once spoken. They also have a way of defining our personalities, values, and principles. Sometimes, verbal slip-ups occur, because we say things without being aware of the subtle implications they carry.
Understanding these implications requires social awareness, which is the ability to pick up on the emotions and experiences of other people.
For this reason, intelligent people use words sparingly and also choose the words and phrases that best portray their message to give the desired response.
There are some words you shouldn’t say in public or around certain people because you don’t know how they’ll be interpreted.
These phrases have the ability to make you look bad – even when the words are true.
By avoiding them, you’ll improve your communication skills instantly!
1. It’s Not Fair
Well, life isn’t fair… But, saying “it’s not fair” suggests that you think life is supposed to be fair, which makes you look immature and naive.
Perhaps what happened is NOT fair; it may even be a terrible injustice.
The thing to remember is that people surrounding us are often unaware of the “incident,” and even if they are privy to the scenario, proclaiming “It’s not fair” does absolutely nothing to solve the problem.
As difficult as it may be, focus your attention and efforts on resolving the issue.
You’ll feel better about yourself, maintain your dignity, and you may just solve the problem!
2. I Told You So
This phrase is bursting with conceit and superiority. It’s childish and immature.
No intelligent, mature adult should utter such words from their lips.
You may have warned someone of the consequences of a certain action.
Maybe they had it coming, whatever it is. Maybe they’re even beyond the point of constructive criticism.
Find some way to interact with someone who’s made a bad decision that doesn’t involve contempt.
Maybe they need some help that you can’t provide. Consider your options, and act and speak intelligently.
3. You Always / You Never
No one always or never does anything. People don’t see themselves as one-dimensional, so you shouldn’t attempt to define them as such.
These phrases make people defensive and closed off to your message, which is really a bad thing because you likely use these phrases when you have something important to discuss.
Instead, simply point out what the other person did that’s a problem for you. Stick to the facts.
If the frequency of the behavior is an issue, you can always say, “It seems like you do this often.” Or “You do this often enough for me to notice.”
4. This Is The Way It Has Always Been Done
Who says that in this modern age of rapid change? Such a foolish thing to say.
Technology-fueled change is happening so fast that even a three-month-old process could be outdated.
Saying “this is the way it’s always been done” not only makes you sound lazy but archaic.
The fact that you are used to a particular process doesn’t mean that’s the only way in the world to get that thing done.
An alternative way could lead to a much better outcome.
5. No Problem
When someone asks you to do something or thanks you for doing something, and you respond with “No problem,” you’re implying that his or her request should have been a problem.
This makes people feel as though they’ve imposed their opinion or request on you.
You can replace that phrase with something better like “it was my pleasure,” or “I’ll be happy to take care of that.”
It’s a subtle difference in language structure, but the impact that it has on the recipient is beyond what you can imagine.
6. Whatever You Want
Phrases like: “It’s up to you” …. “I don’t care” … or “whatever you want” do not encourage conversation. Think about it!
When you ask for someone’s opinion, you really want to know what they want! If you really are indifferent, it’s okay to say that, but you might add “have you considered this option?” or give some input without taking sides.
7. This Will Only Take A Minute
In reality, most of the time it times takes more than 5 minutes, so why use unpredictable words to deceive people?
Saying that something only takes a minute undermines your skills and gives the impression that you rush through tasks.
Feel free to say that it won’t take long, but don’t make it sound as though the task can be completed any sooner than it actually can be.
Even if you are sure it will only take a minute – value your worth.
8. Good Luck
This phrase is subtle, often well-intended, and is certainly subjective to one’s own interpretation.
It certainly isn’t the end of the world if you wish someone good luck, but you can do better, because this phrase implies that they need the luck to succeed.
Remember, luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity – not something that happens by chance.
So instead, say “I know you have what it takes,” or “You’ve got this.” This is better than wishing someone luck, because suggesting that they have the skills to succeed, provides a huge boost of confidence.
9. He’s This / She’s That
Here’s the thing… If you do not have anything good to say about a person, then don’t say anything at all.
It’s not nice to badmouth someone, even when they are at fault. If your remark is accurate, everybody already knows it, so there’s no need to point it out.
This will just end up making you look like an ass.
10. Age & Gender Biased Statements
For example: “You look great for your age,” or “For a woman, you’ve accomplished so much.” As we all know, age and gender biases still exist.
Chances are that the person you’re speaking to is well aware of such biases, and is offended by the mention of them. No qualifiers needed. Just compliment the person.
11. This May Be A Silly Idea
Using passive phrases like “I think” or “this may be a silly idea,” instantly writes off your credibility.
Anything that comes after phrases like these, may not be given as much attention as they deserve.
Intelligent people speak with confidence and do not condemn their ideas in public.
If you’re not confident in what you’re saying, no one else will be either.
If you are asked a question, but you aren’t sure of the answer, just say “I don’t have that information right now, but I’ll find out and get back to you.”
12. I’ll Try
Just like the word ‘think’, ‘try’ sounds tentative and suggests that you lack confidence in your ability to execute the task.
Take full ownership of your capabilities. If you’re asked to do something, either commit to doing it or offer an alternative, but don’t say that you’ll try, because it will sound as if you are unsure of the outcome. Why not say instead: “I will do my best.”
13. It’s Not My Fault
Shifting blame on other people is never a good idea. If it’s not your fault, whose fault is it? Someone has to take responsibility and be accountable.
No matter how small the role you played was, own up and share in the blame.
The moment you start pointing fingers, people start seeing you as someone who lacks accountability for his or her actions.
14. With All Due Respect
Before you would say this phrase… stop for a second. Are the words that are about to come out of your mouth truly influenced by a measure of respect for the recipient?
If you can honestly answer “yes,” then carry on. Just know this: how you frame your words; your body language, and your voice intonation will quickly make it apparent whether or not due respect is given.
On the other hand, if this phrase is spoken on ‘auto-pilot mode, in an attempt to ease into a discussion that has nothing to do with respect, it’s best to avoid it.
15. I Can’t
If you find this phrase in your vocabulary, kindly replace it with the positive “I can.”
People don’t like to hear “I can’t” because they think it means “I won’t.” Saying “I can’t” suggests that you’re not willing to do what it takes to get the job done.
If you really can’t do something because you truly lack the necessary skills, you need to offer an alternative solution. Instead of saying what you can’t do, say what you can do.
For example, instead of saying “I can’t stay late tonight,” say “I can come in early tomorrow.” Instead of saying “I can’t run those numbers,” say “I don’t yet know how to run that type of analysis.
Is there someone who can show me so that I can do it on my own next time?”
16. As I Said Before
This phrase makes it sound as if you’re insulted by having to repeat yourself, which is hard on the recipient – who is genuinely interested in hearing your perspective.
Getting insulted over having to repeat yourself suggests that either you’re insecure, or you think you’re better than everyone else (or both!).
But few people who use this phrase, actually feel this way. When you say it again, see what you can do to convey the message in a clearer and more interesting manner.
This way they’ll remember what you said. The bottom line is, intelligent people are highly aware.
Active listening is a sign of high emotional intelligence, and social awareness helps you avoid those awkward moments when something comes out wrong and gets misunderstood.
Saying the most appropriate words and phrases will give you the opportunity to eliminate negativity from your vocabulary, and it will boost your confidence level as well.
Just take a few seconds before opening your mouth to be aware of what you’re saying and to whom.
It will help you build stronger relationships and get a more positive response when dealing with others. So think smart, talk intelligently.