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10 Sentences An Upset Person Doesn’t Want To Hear

10 Sentences An Upset Person Doesn’t Want To Hear

In a world divided by so many differences, the truth is that we’re all very much the same. We all want to be happy and to live meaningful lives. We all struggle with similar challenges and insecurities. We all need someone to be there at one time or another.

When a person is feeling upset, angry, sad, disappointed, anxious, or any other negative emotion, this is the opportunity for you to be there for them. To help them feel less alone. It’s a time where you can reflect back on when you’ve felt a similar way and what you wished someone had said to you.

It’s not always easy to say the right thing, but it’s important that we think twice about our words. To someone going through an upsetting time, inappropriate comments can make a lot of difference – but not in a way that benefits them.

Here are 10 sentences an upset person doesn’t want to hear.

1. “You’re overreacting.”

We all have our own temperaments, personalities and life experiences. We all respond differently to different events. What may upset one person, may not upset another. There is no ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ way to feel.

Telling someone that they’re overreacting isn’t empathizing with how they feel. It’s telling them, “You’re not allowed to feel that way.” It’s making them feel that what they’re actually feeling doesn’t matter.

What you want is to acknowledge how they’re feeling – without insulting or criticising them. If they are struggling to think rationally, it’s best to be kind and compassionate in your approach.

Listen to what the person has to say and try putting yourself in the person’s shoes. Try saying, “I can see how you’d feel upset…” and nod along to show you’re actually listening.

2. “Get over it.”

Everyone responds differently to stressful and upsetting events. Everyone grieves at their own pace. Everyone has their own way with dealing with things.

It’s not kind nor helpful to tell someone to “just get on with things” or to “harden up”. It’s not showing them that their sadness matters to you. It’s a very hurtful thing to say to someone already in pain.

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We need to let them express how they’re feeling – it’s vital for maintaining their emotional and mental health. If we continue to push them away, they might withdraw and stop talking about their feelings completely.

My grandfather passed away when I was 11 years old. I didn’t know him all that well, but I saw his life fade away slowly with multiple strokes and Alzheimer’s disease. I recall my mother taking on the role of his full-time carer. She showered him, dressed him and fed him for the last five years of his life.

I recall walking by his room every morning before school and thinking, “This could be the last time I see my grandpa.”

I am now 26 years old, yet when I think of him, I still feel incredibly sad. I’ve been told in the past to “get over it”. But grief and pain doesn’t have a time limit. You’re allowed to be sad.

Instead of saying, “get over it”, try saying, “I know things are really hard for you at the moment. Let me know when you want to talk about it.”

3. “You’re such a cry baby.”

Crying is a very effective way of letting your feelings out. A way of releasing all the emotions you’ve been keeping locked inside. People who cry are often labelled as ‘weak’. But they’re not. In fact, they’re strong for having the courage to be honest about how they’re feeling.

I’m a very sensitive person and up until I was in my early 20’s, I thought it was something to be ashamed about. I hated that part of myself. I was repeatedly told that I was a “cry baby” and that crying in front of people was embarrassing.

But I know now that it’s not. Crying is normal. And I’ve realised that my sensitivity means I am more empathetic. I’m more aware of how other people might be feeling. I can relate better with others and have more honest and fulfilling relationships.

Instead of rushing to put a stop on someone’s tears, let them cry it out. Put a hand on their shoulder and let them take their time. Get them a tissue. Remind yourself that what you’re doing – just being there – is enough.

4. “Your life isn’t that bad.”

Just because a person generally has a ‘happy’ life, doesn’t mean they don’t have a right to feel unhappy. Telling someone, “Your life isn’t that bad” can make someone feel that they’re ‘complaining about nothing’ and their problems are trivial.

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When you tell someone all the things they should be grateful for, it can shine a light on the positive but it doesn’t necessarily solve the problem at hand.

Try a kinder and gentler approach. For example, if someone has lost their job but they’re quite wealthy, you could say, “I know it sucks that you’ve lost your job, you’re probably worried you won’t find one soon. Do you want to look at job vacancies together?”

5. “You don’t look good.”

When someone is going through a difficult time, the last thing on their mind is how they look. They may be struggling to get a good night’s sleep, not eating as well as they should be, and already feeling low and insecure about themselves.

Three years ago, I was going through possibly one of the hardest times in my life. I wasn’t sleeping well and it was quite evident on my face. And a friend of mine saw me and immediately said, “You look really tired.”

There was no “Hello”. No, “Are you okay? You look really tired.” Although I’m sure the person didn’t mean to be hurtful, the comment left me feeling worse than I already was feeling.

If you’re concerned that your loved one is behaving or acting differently, simply say, “I’m worried about you. Try to eat well and get enough sleep. If you need anything at all, just let me know.”

6. “Just tell me what’s wrong!”

For some people, it’s not easy to open up and express their emotions and feelings. It’s not easy to put into words how they feel. Don’t rush them into opening up. Instead, make it clear that you’re there for them, but you will give them the time and privacy that they need.

Try saying, “When you’re ready to talk about it, I’ll be here for you.”

7. “You’re always angry.”

Sometimes it’s so easy to label someone ‘angry’, than it is to look beneath the surface. Why do you think they are ‘always angry’? Is there something going on in their life that they’re too afraid to talk about?

Is their ‘angry’ attitude a result of negative experiences in the past? Is it possible that depression, or some other illness, might be the cause?

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Rather than criticizing your loved one, seek to understand their behaviors. Think about what may have happened to them recently or what may be happening to them now. Show them kindness and compassion.

Try saying instead, “I’ve noticed that you’ve been really upset lately. Do you want to talk about it?”

8. “You’ll be fine.”

Reassuring a loved one that they will be okay is great – unless it’s done in a patronizing and condescending way. Don’t dismiss how they’re feeling and brush off what they’re trying to say.

People don’t always want solutions. They want someone to listen, to remind them that their pain is valid.

Instead, try, “I know everything is hard at the moment, but try to hang in there. Let me know if you need anything.”

9. “You’re bringing me down.”

Nobody likes to feel that they’re a burden, that they’re bothering someone with their problems. But when you say, “you’re bringing me down”, it can have a much deeper impact than you realize.

The person going through a difficult time might feel even more lonely, more helpless. They might wonder whether things will ever get better. They might even want to give up.

Try not to say this at all. Instead, just remind yourself that life is filled with ups and downs. And your loved one just needs a hand in being lifted back up.

10. “I’m too busy to talk.”

When I was 18 years old, I saved someone from ending their life simply through talking. I’d only known the person for two weeks, yet I sat with him in his car for two hours. He was a friend of my now-husband’s and the second I looked at him, I knew he needed to talk.

He told me why he was living off of chocolate bars for dinners. He told me why he had a broken relationship with his mother. He cried and I listened.

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The defining moment came when he looked me in the eyes and said, “I was going to end my life tonight. I had it planned and everything. But you stopped me. I didn’t do it, all because of you.”

I will never ever forget those words. Because I had reached out to someone, because I had taken time out of my day to help someone, I had saved their life.

Sometimes we forget how much of a difference we can make to someone else’s life. How much our kindness, our compassion, our smile, our hug – can completely change someone else’s life.

We’re all busy. We all have responsibilities.

But we all have similar problems too.

And sometimes we just need to be reminded that we are important. That our feelings matter.

Rather than saying to someone, “I’m too busy to talk,” think to yourself, “HOW can I make time for this person?”

Sometimes just 15 minutes is enough to remind them that they’re really not alone.

Sometimes just 15 minutes can save a life.

Featured photo credit: goodinteractive via pixabay.com

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

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Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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