It might be your mum, your husband or wife, or a good friend who you’ve known for years. It shouldn’t matter what you’re arguing about, some things can’t be unsaid. Here are five things to avoid saying if you want to keep the peace and preserve your relationship.
1. “You always do that!”
Overgeneralisations do nothing for your cause. If you want someone to see a problem from your perspective do not, under any circumstances, claim that they always do a particular thing. This is an unfair generalisation that puts blame solely on the other person. Perhaps your mother does tend to admonish you in front of other people. There’s a better way to broach this problem than by making an accusatory remark.
2. “It’s over!”
This statement falls in the realm of things you should never, ever say unless you really mean them. You might not realise it, but threatening to leave a relationship when you don’t mean it is a bit like emotional blackmail and can make the other person feel insecure about the relationship, long after the fight is over. Some people might use this phrase in the heat of the moment in order to make a person fulfil their wishes. Remember that some things you say can’t be taken back. If you want your partner or friend to know it’s over, you’d better mean it.
3. “You’re so…”
Making statements about what a person is or isn’t, is a big no-no. Often, we want to say this when we wish someone would change their behaviour. Perhaps your husband forgets to do his part of the housework. Calling him ‘lazy’ will definitely not entice him to hop-to and start helping more. Relationships are based on acceptance of who a person is, not how you’d like them to be. If change is what you want, then change should be the topic of discussion.
People don’t easily forget the names they’re called in the heat of the moment. Name-calling doesn’t just entail the creative, insulting slurs we all have a natural aptitude for making up when we get angry. It also includes anything that might be considered condescending or derogatory. Calling your wife ‘sweetheart’ when she knows you think she’s the precise opposite in that moment will be very hurtful to her.
5. “You’re right” and “I’m sorry”
This last one slightly deviates from the previous things to never say. Avoid saying “You’re right” and “I’m sorry” when you don’t mean them. Everyone needs to be able to apologise for their behaviour when they’ve slipped up. But if you become the kind of person who continually apologises and relents under the pressure of the argument, you’re doing yourself a disservice. It’s important to know when to stand up for yourself and when to back down. If you repeatedly back down – even when it’s clear that both parties have valid reasons to be upset – you run the risk of your behaviour becoming the accepted way for an argument to be resolved. While you might be able to stop this argument by saying ‘sorry’, you’re causing more trouble for yourself down the track.
What other things do you think people should never say in an argument?