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Want to be better in conversations? Avoid these 10 phrases that are 'instantly unlikeable'

Please don't be a person that "tells it like it is."

conversation, conversation tips
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As long as there are people in the world, we will need to know how to communicate effectively.

Conversation etiquette varies between generations, cultures and platforms. Younger age groups might take words once thought to be insulting and use them in an opposite way as a form of reclamation. In some countries, talking about politics or religion is considered rude, while in others it’s completely acceptable. And certainly, there are quite a few things muttered online that (hopefully) someone would never actually say out loud. (Though it might be a good practice to not type it, either.)

And yet, despite all the nuance, there are a few key approaches that create a widely agreed upon golden standard, such as active listening, having a clear purpose in what’s being said and, ultimately, showing respect for who is being spoken to. These simple guidelines can help a person be more engaging and charismatic, which can obviously be useful traits whether you’re looking to change the world or just connect with new people.

Likewise, there are fairly universal things that can be said in a conversation that instantly come across as unlikeable. Redditor u/theevilempire asked folks to list certain words or phrases that elicited an overall negative reaction when heard, and commenters didn’t hold back.

Some, if not many, of these commonly spoken expressions aren’t even inherently repelling, but are made that way simply because the person saying it is being hypocritical or insensitive. Others are just plain ol’ overused.

Without further ado, here are 10 phrases that make a person instantly unlikeable in a conversation:


1.“I tell it like it is”

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This was the top answer, with the general agreement being that a person who uses this phrase is not only being unnecessarily cruel under the guise of honesty, but they're also usually a person who can't take criticism from anybody else.

“We all need to hear hard truths sometimes. That being said, usually people who are ‘blunt’ and ‘tell it like it is’ are exactly the same ones who can dish it out but can't take it,” midget_rancher79 wrote.

Objective_Stick_2114 added: “Exactly. I think a person can be direct, to the point, and still be likeable. You don't have to be hurtful or brutal to be considered direct. It's the unsolicited judgemental comments that are most likely unnecessary, over-indulgent, and just mean. I find the most direct people actually do use a lot of discretion when speaking to others, and listen more than they speak.”

2. Any "I'm not [insert something here], but…" statements

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People had a ton of examples for this. “I’m not racist, but…”; “No offense, but…”; “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…”;”Not to get political, but…” These statements are usually followed by things that would most likely be highly offensive/racist/politically leaning, etc, and therefore make the person saying it comes across like they wanted to insult someone without facing potential consequences.

3. Using mental disorders to describe a normal idiosyncrasy

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“I’m bipolar and I hate when people use it as a badge of quirkiness. Nobody brags about climbing the walls at 3 AM, nobody should aspire to burning their life down, nobody can throw away every relationship/career/education and think it’s something to be proud of.” – levieleven

“Any time a legitimate diagnostic term becomes slang for something it cheapens the effectiveness and value of the word. Not to mention the dismissive effect it has upon those who actually deal with the condition. I’m so sorry that you and others are disrespected this way so often. You deserve validation and respect for taking care of yourself, not to have your issues trivialized." – Drkphnx02

4. "I hate drama."

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“I have never heard someone say this, unsolicited, and not been exhausted with their shenanigans within a day.” – Spodson

5. "As an empath…”

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“I think self-proclaimed ‘empaths’ are either overestimating their own empathy or underestimating everyone else’s. And, only a person who lacks the ability to emotionally regulate or has narcissistic tendencies would try to make other people’s feelings all about them.” – HeyItsNotMeIPromise

6. Referring to exes as “narcissists”

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“I work in the behavioral health field and this one drives me crazy…Just because you both wanted different things in life doesn't make him selfish enough to be labeled with an actual personality disorder,oh my god. Just say you weren't compatible and move on with your life.No offense to those who actually did genuinely date a narcissist." – NightDreamer73

7. Using “corporate speak”

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Engagement, initiative, synergy, circling back…you get it. People hate it.

8. Describing oneself as an “alpha male”

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"Who in their right mind would describe himself as an alpha male and be serious about it? And how do you not die laughing at them?" – onesmilematters

9. Putting others down to make yourself look better

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“If a person humiliates others for the sake of boosting his own ego, I immediately stop communicating with that person” – AnastasiaFrid

10. "If you can't handle me at my worst you don't deserve me at my best"

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It's another way of saying "If you can't tolerate my downright abusive behavior, you don't deserve my complete indifference towards you." – quickshot125

Identity

Celebrate International Women's Day with these stunning photos of female leaders changing the world

The portraits, taken by acclaimed photographer Nigel Barker, are part of CARE's "She Leads the World" campaign.

Images provided by CARE

Kadiatu (left), Zainab (right)

True

Women are breaking down barriers every day. They are transforming the world into a more equitable place with every scientific discovery, athletic feat, social justice reform, artistic endeavor, leadership role, and community outreach project.

And while these breakthroughs are happening all the time, International Women’s Day (Mar 8) is when we can all take time to acknowledge the collective progress, and celebrate how “She Leads the World.

This year, CARE, a leading global humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering women and girls, is celebrating International Women’s Day through the power of portraiture. CARE partnered with high-profile photographer Nigel Barker, best known for his work on “America’s Next Top Model,” to capture breathtaking images of seven remarkable women who have prevailed over countless obstacles to become leaders within their communities.

“Mabinty, Isatu, Adama, and Kadiatu represent so many women around the world overcoming incredible obstacles to lead their communities,” said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA.

Barker’s bold portraits, as part of CARE’s “She Leads The World” campaign, not only elevate each woman’s story, but also shine a spotlight on how CARE programs helped them get to where they are today.

About the women:

Mabinty

international womens day, care.org

Mabinty is a businesswoman and a member of a CARE savings circle along with a group of other women. She buys and sells groundnuts, rice, and fuel. She and her husband have created such a successful enterprise that Mabinty volunteers her time as a teacher in the local school. She was the first woman to teach there, prompting a second woman to do so. Her fellow teachers and students look up to Mabinty as the leader and educator she is.

Kadiatu

international womens day, care.org

Kadiatu supports herself through a small business selling food. She also volunteers at a health clinic in the neighboring village where she is a nursing student. She tests for malaria, works with infants, and joins her fellow staff in dancing and singing with the women who visit the clinic. She aspires to become a full-time nurse so she can treat and cure people. Today, she leads by example and with ambition.

Isatu

international womens day, care.org

When Isatu was three months pregnant, her husband left her, seeking his fortune in the gold mines. Now Isatu makes her own way, buying and selling food to support her four children. It is a struggle, but Isatu is determined to be a part of her community and a provider for her kids. A single mother of four is nothing if not a leader.

Zainab

international womens day, care.org

Zainab is the Nurse in Charge at the Maternal Child Health Outpost in her community. She is the only nurse in the surrounding area, and so she is responsible for the pre-natal health of the community’s mothers-to-be and for the safe delivery of their babies. In a country with one of the world’s worst maternal death rates, Zainab has not lost a single mother. The community rallies around Zainab and the work she does. She describes the women who visit the clinic as sisters. That feeling is clearly mutual.

Adama

international womens day, care.org

Adama is something few women are - a kehkeh driver. A kehkeh is a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi, known elsewhere as a tuktuk. Working in the Kissy neighborhood of Freetown, Adama is the primary breadwinner for her family, including her son. She keeps her riders safe in other ways, too, by selling condoms. With HIV threatening to increase its spread, this is a vital service to the community.

Ya Yaebo

international womens day, care.org

“Ya” is a term of respect for older, accomplished women. Ya Yaebo has earned that title as head of her local farmers group. But there is much more than that. She started as a Village Savings and Loan Association member and began putting money into her business. There is the groundnut farm, her team buys and sells rice, and own their own oil processing machine. They even supply seeds to the Ministry of Agriculture. She has used her success to the benefit of people in need in her community and is a vocal advocate for educating girls, not having gone beyond grade seven herself.

On Monday, March 4, CARE will host an exhibition of photography in New York City featuring these portraits, kicking off the multi-day “She Leads the World Campaign.

Learn more, view the portraits, and join CARE’s International Women's Day "She Leads the World" celebration at CARE.org/sheleads.


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