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20 Sentences You Should Never Tell Your Good Friends

20 Sentences You Should Never Tell Your Good Friends

How would you define a good friend? If you are like me, you would expect a good friend to be great company, loyal, reliable, sincere, and trustworthy. This is someone you can phone at any time for advice or to chat. These friendships take time to build and effort to maintain, and they are reciprocal. So, what are some things you should never tell your good friends? Here are twenty sentences you should definitely avoid.

1. “Flossing my teeth” (AKA the Facebook status update)

The problem with taking your friendship online is that the whole world sees it! Use social media for trivial chitchat, but have a real conversation with your best friend. If he is far away, write him a decent email.

 “Posting information is like pornography, a slick, impersonal exhibition.” – William Deresiewicz

2. “Let’s phone each other sometime”

This is a vague and rather wishy-washy commitment. We use it all the time for acquaintances we have just met. It works fine for people we don’t intend to see again, but using a sentence like this with a good friend gives the impression that you can’t be bothered. Why not make a firmer commitment by saying, “We must phone each other every Wednesday evening?”

3. “Let me just check my cell phone”

Cell phones ruin many relationships and friendships. Text addiction is now part of our consumer mentality but it can erode a friendship or relationship in no time at all. If you are always checking your phone, your friend may get the signal that he or she is not worth your time. You’re letting them watch you manipulate an electronic device. Isn’t your friendship worth more than that? Give your friend your full attention while you are together — switch off your phone! Tell him or her, “I can take this call later, what have you been up to since we last met?”

4. “Can we talk about this at another time?”

Your friend may need your help and advice, and she has rung at an inconvenient time. Perhaps you’re watching your favorite comedian or preparing dinner. Asking her when she is in tears to phone later on is not what she expects from you as a good friend. Being available when the other party needs you is an important element in friendship and it is what you yourself would expect if you were going through hell. Instead, you should say, “I’m here for you, tell me all about it.”

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5. “You never get it right”

Who wants criticism all the time? Are we not together to bolster each other’s self esteem and confidence? There may be moments when we have to face or give criticism and a real friendship will survive these moments. But constant criticism will erode your friendship. Friends are there to celebrate, rejuvenate, and to rely on. Try something encouraging, like, “It will go better next time.”

6. “I can’t tell you – it’s private”

Telling your good friend this means that you do not trust them enough with confidential information. True friendship is about sharing our real selves and that will include private stuff. Start something confidential with “I know I can trust you with this.”

7. “I never have enough time”

In ancient times, friendship was such a high calling and a privilege that it was often more valued than marriage. Achilles and Patroclus spring to mind, as do David and Jonathan. Time is an essential ingredient in nurturing friendships. Telling a good friend you have not enough time is a real turn off. Try saying, “I’ll always have enough time for you.”

8. “I know I talk too much but I have so much to tell you”

Being a sympathetic and empathic listener should be two-way traffic! Exchanging news and updates can be a fun way of nurturing the friendship. You should never try to dominate the conversation. You should say, “I know I’m talkative but I want to hear about what you have been doing too, so please forgive me if I go on a bit too much.”

“Exchanging stories is like making love: probing, questing, questioning, caressing. It is mutual. It is intimate. It takes patience, devotion, sensitivity, subtlety, skill – and it teaches them all, too.” – William Deresiewicz

9. “I am going to be late”

This shouldn’t sound like a chronic condition. A lack of punctuality can mean missed restaurant bookings or walking into a film that has already started. If you are unpunctual, it might be time to start getting more organized. You should say, “I really am going to get my unpunctuality under control.”

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10. “I didn’t tell you the whole truth about X”

“O what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” – Sir Walter Scott

We could write a book about how lying betrays trust and leads to all sorts of problems. Withholding a truth puts a friendship is at risk. There are those people who argue that a white lie is sometimes necessary to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, but think carefully about the justification for the lie and its consequences later on. “I am going to tell you everything, no holding back on anything,” is a good start.

11. “You can decide where we are going”

Letting your friend decide everything can be damaging. The other end of the spectrum is where you make all the decisions and you are a control freak. Obviously, a happy medium needs to be found where you both take part in the decision making. “Let’s decide together what we want to do,” will offer more democracy.

12. “But we have always done it like this”

Real friends push each other out of their comfort zones. Doing the same old thing offers a comforting routine but it can also lead to fossilization! Why not suggest new venues, different activities, alternative restaurants and so on? This is important because we tend to become locked into our own little worlds. Instead try, “We should be trying out some new things, don’t you think?”

13. “You could have asked me for advice or help”

The truth is that good friends know when to be there and when to lend a shoulder to cry on. You should not need to be asked or told. You should say, “You know that I am always around, if you need help with anything.”

14. “I told Y all about your problems”

Gossip and betrayal will damage a friendship irrevocably. A true test of friendship is communicating fully with each other. You can rely on each other not to gossip and this adds a great sense of security and serenity to your friendship. With a good friend, “You can trust me, I won’t tell anyone else.”

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15. “I told you there was no point in applying for that job”

“A true friend is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.”- Aristotle

Saying this will not help your friend see the positive side of things. It is not very encouraging. You should say, “It is always worth trying, because whatever way it goes, it will give you a new insight on how things work.”

16. “You know I never criticize you”

A test of a real friendship is when you are able to gently point out some faults in your friend’s character. Good friends are not afraid of indicating where they have screwed up, without being overcritical or harsh. Be constructive: “Maybe that was not the best way to respond when the boss reprimanded you.”

17. “I forgot that you were getting your medical results”

Being there also means not forgetting the important moments when your friend may have to face a stressful situation as regards health, work, or family issues. Genuine friends make a note and send a text to wish their friend well. Put a reminder on your phone and tell them, “I will give you a call when you get your results.”

18. “I am never going to nag you about your laziness”

Good friends are going to be on the lookout to help each other get over a lack of drive or initiative. Saying that you cannot be bothered to even gently nag means that you do not value the freindship very highly. You should say, “I know it’s a pain, but you should really try to get some more exercise. We should go to the gym together, maybe.”

19. “I cannot really offer any advice about your being bullied”

Whether at school or work, people often find they are in a stressful situation and they may be bullied. Don’t leave your friend to fend for himself — at least offer some advice or help. Extend a hand by saying, “Tell me about it because my brother was bullied at work and he was able to resolve the issue.” Genuine friendships can also help to reduce the stress in these situations, one study has found.

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20. “I do not think friendships can last for ever”

This is sending the wrong message. Not every friendship can last a lifetime but those that do are pure gold. You should say that you value the friendship, for example, “Honestly, the fact that you are always on the other end of the phone is a great source of comfort to me.”

Did you know that people who have more friendships in their old age are much more likely to live longer? This was the result of several studies which have highlighted how friendships and social interaction are the greatest health resource you could have as you approach your old age.

Let us know in the comments what really makes a good friend for you.

Featured photo credit: Friendship/Mathias Klang via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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