Practical Communication

25 Things You Should Never Say to Someone You Love

When I teach workshops on communication, I always mention that it seems most people use their best communication skills with strangers and and their worst communication skills with those they love. There are many reasons, but it mostly happens because we feel it’s “safe” to do so. My boss might fire me for telling him he’s an idiot, but will my spouse leave me? Probably not… at least not right away.

And that’s the problem. Whereas the repercussions of inappropriate communication are probably swift at work, the impact at home is more long term- each insult and slight chipping slowly away at the relationship and the self esteem of the person on the receiving end.

Sarcastic comments are a great example. Those little “humorous” comments that are really hidden insults, take a bite out of the victim every time they’re uttered. Take enough bites out of someone and they bleed out- not physically, but psychologically.

There are many hurtful things you can say to another person, but here are 25 things, in addition to sarcasm, that you should try to avoid ever saying to anyone, but especially to someone you claim to love.


1. I hate you (or I hate you too)

2. I don’t care (about you, about your problem, how you feel)

3. You’re stupid

4. You’re crazy

5. You’re lazy

6. You’re a failure (loser)

7. Shut up

8. What’s wrong with you

9. You always…

10. You never…

11. I’m ashamed of you

12. I wish I never (had you, adopted you, married you, met you)

13. You disappoint me (You’re a disappointment)

14. You’ll never make it (or amount to anything)

15. You got what you deserved

16. Can’t you ever do anything right?

17. You’re more trouble than you’re worth

18. Because I said so

19. Too bad

20. I’ve had it with you

21. Why can’t you be more like (your brother, sister, cousin, friend)?

22. You’re terrible at ________

23. You’re nothing but ______ (trouble, a pain in the butt, a waste of time)

24. I told you so

25.______________________                                                                                         Your turn. What would you list here?


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