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

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 Examples of Comparing A Loved One To Someone Else:

· Why can’t you be more like Joan’s husband? He’s always helping with the housework.

· Why can’t you be more like your sister/brother?

· Why can’t you be more like Fred? He’s always at work on time.

 Explanation Why Comparisions Are Harmful:

The underlying message of these comparative type phrases is “you aren’t as good as…”, and that can be devastating to family members, and children in particular. It doesn’t work well in the workplace either.

What happens? The other person becomes both offended and defensive, and the argument then turns to whether the comparison is “fair”, or reasonable, because people don’t like to be compared unfavourably. They fight back.

There’s a big difference between pointing out someone else is somehow “better”, and suggesting that the other person could learn from someone more skilled, or experienced. One message is destructive. The other is helpful.

 Make It Better:

Comparing two people, particularly children in the same family is not only going to spur argument, but it also has the potential to cause long term damage to the children. Every child has strengths and weaknesses. When you point out that one sibling is better than the other, the “less than child”, is often not going to have the maturity to understand you might be talking about just one aspect, and not comparing the two as PEOPLE.

This is a phrase you should eliminate completely within the family.

However, with adults, if your intent is to help, here are some examples:

 · George, I know you’ve said you don’t have the time to help with the housework. I’m wondering if it might be worth talking to Joan’s husband, to see if he has some time management hints?

· Andy, you’ve been late for work twice this week, so we need to talk about what’s causing that. Maybe I can help.

· George, I’m being run off my feet with working, the kids, and the housework. I’d really appreciate it if you could help out tomorrow by doing the vacuuming, before your parents come to visit. 

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