Imperfect Phrases For Relationships

101 COMMON Things You Should Never Say TO Someone Important To You...And What To Say Instead

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Robert's books have sold over 300 thousand copies worldwide, and have been translated into Chinese, French, German and Japanese.

He holds a Masters Degree in Applied Psychology, and has taught clinical and counselling psychology at the college level.

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This one is often used by men with their wives or girlfriends, because men and women have different comfort levels with emotions.

Stop Being So Emotional


· Stop being so emotional.

· Stop being so emotional. It seems like you cry at the drop of a hat.


This one is a relationship killer, which is why we include it on our ten worst phrases. Why?

First, it says a lot about YOU, and nothing about what the other person is doing. It says: “I’m uncomfortable with your expression of emotion, so STOP IT”. Even if that’s not what you intend to say, that’s how it’s going to come across. It’s a selfish command, so it’s a double whammy. And, of course, it doesn’t work. Do you respond well when someone tells you your emotions are “wrong” and orders you to feel something different? Of course not. If it was that easy, life would be much less complex.

Second, by saying something like this, you remove the emotional safe harbor for the person you care about. Relationships need to feel safe to both people, and when you start “forbidding” people to feel what they feel, they don’t feel safe. The behavioral outcome is that they stop confiding in you, and that’s hugely damaging for any relationship.

 Make It Better:

If you use this kind of phrase, your first step should be to think back and ask yourself the question:

For who’s benefit do I ask the other person to be less emotional? Is it that I’m truly trying to help, or am I so uncomfortable with the outpouring of emotion that I’m demanding it stop?

 Be honest with yourself. It’s not uncommon for this kind of emotional discomfort to be almost unconscious, so you may not be aware of your own motives, at least at first.

If your motivation is “selfish” welcome to the human race. However, keep in mind that you can damage your relationship by using this kind of phrase for selfish purposes.

 If you are uncomfortable with the emotion, talk about YOUR discomfort. Wait until the other person is less emotional, and more able to discuss YOUR issue. Timing is very important in all communication about emotions. Here are two examples:

· Sarah, when you were crying last night, I felt so uncomfortable, and I’d like your help so I can be more supportive. What do you need from me in those situations?

· Terry, I’m a little more uncomfortable with expressing some emotions and I have a tendency to freak out when you cry. I’m doing my best to not over-react.

 If you really want to HELP the person experiencing intense negative emotions, ACCEPT their right to express them. Here are some ways to do that:

 · Fred, if you want to talk about how you are feeling, please let me know. I can provide a sympathetic ear.

· Marie, I know you are upset right now, and I’ll help if I can.

· Mary, I know there’s nothing I can say right now to help you feel better, so here’s a hug.

 A hug is usually a good thing!

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