There are words we all use that seem innocuous. However, some of them are nefarious whether we realize it or not. Love is strong but very fragile at the same time, so handling feelings with care is always necessary. Here are five words you should ditch immediately to improve how you communicate with your partner.
1. Stop “Nagging” Me
This word is a serious trigger for a lot of people, but especially women. Ravishly points out that women and men communicate differently, with women being more likely to be verbal. Therapy can help a lot when it comes to bridging a gap in communication, especially with the help of an Allen-based therapist. This word infers that emotions are empty complaints and invalidates feelings, and is particularly repugnant when applied to women.
2. I “Should” Just Accept It
Tiny Buddha advises that the word “should” has more to do with grudging expectations rather than positive encouragement, and should be replaced. Instead of using this word which infers deficit or error, use affirming language that expresses pleasure and satisfaction. For example, instead of thinking that you should accept your partner’s weird quirks, rephrase it to highlight a so-called quirk that you enjoy. For example, get rid of, “I have to accept the fact my partner has weird tastes in food I don’t like,” and substitute, “My partner has unusual taste in food and I learn new things about cuisine every day.” Whether or not you’re a foodie, the core idea is to trade in negative, woeful acceptance of responsibilities for something positive.
3. Sure, “No Problem”
Yes, this is two words, but the phrase may as well be one because it’s so commonly used. It’s as reflexive as “good morning,” “take care,” or, “see you later,” but begs question of whether we really know its meaning. Psychology Today points out that one of the worst faux pas in a relationship is using turns of phrase such as “no problem” instead of you’re welcome that doesn’t actually express this sentiment at all. If your partner thanks you for helping them with something, you don’t want to be flippant about it. Using turns of phrase as a response can do just that. These two words which are effectively one word the way the phrase is expressed are ultimately dismissive. They infer that it’s not a problem to talk about feelings or do a favor, versus acknowledging that you were eagerly willing. So, how do you replace it? Make it affirmative. If someone thanks you for doing a favor, switch it up with an actual one word answer: “Anytime.” This convey you’re open, receptive, and nonjudgmental to their needs.
4. You Did This to “Me”
There are two fundamental differences between the words “I” and “me.” One is used to express personal sentiments and experiences, while the other is used to infer action done to your person. The problem with using “me” in relationships, whether in arguments or every day speech, is that it functions as an accusation. Allowing the other person in the relationship to speak and focusing on how you feel, rather than how you feel about the other person’s actions, can be a good step in improving communication.
5. This Is My “Fault”
Fault is a dangerous word for many reasons, as well as a strong, weighty one. This word shouldn’t be thrown around lightly because it not only reeks of accusation and blame, but also inspires guilt. Depending on what’s happening in your relationship, guilt and blame aren’t going to get you very far if you’re trying to compromise or have a meaningful conversation. Whether you’re personally claiming fault or you’re accusing your partner of being at fault, this is a word best left out of relationship conversations altogether.
Language is important when it comes to emotionally understanding your partner, especially in an everyday setting. The most damaging words are the ones we use without thinking since they’re subconscious. Evaluating the language you use to express emotions or respond to others’ emotions can uncover a lot of unexpected truths. Consulting an Allen family counselor can be especially helpful if you’re looking for guidance about how to eliminate certain words from your vocabulary when talking to your partner, or finding alternatives to express yourself. Every word you say can have a huge impact on your partner, but what’s most important is being aware of what you’re actually saying in the first place.