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28 Phrases That Make People Instantly Stop Listening

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Some words wield significant power, swiftly eroding the speaker’s credibility—a phenomenon particularly pronounced in the realm of online forums. A recent discourse in one such forum sparked reflection when a member posed a thought-provoking question: “Are there particular words that, upon utterance, lead you to dismiss everything else a person communicates?”

Not surprisingly, many of these words are common phrases that we just can’t seem to escape from, no matter how hard we try. With some awareness, maybe we can soon. See what people thought were the worst phrases and words below that make people stop listening.

1. I’m a Life Coach

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There’s a lot of drama around life coaches on social media. Some people find them helpful and life-changing, while others point out how many are total scams or a waste of time and money. Of course, it ultimately depends on the actual person (the coach and coachee).

One user writes, “Life Coaches are usually people that want to be a therapist but didn’t want to put in the work to get licensed. When I was in grad school for clinical mental health counseling, I had a professor who sh** on life coaches pretty much every week.”

2. I’m an Alpha

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If someone is bringing attention to themselves to be designated as an “alpha,” this bothers a lot of people.

One woman writes, “My ex calls himself an alpha male. The only way he’s alpha is that he’s unstable, unreliable, and not fit for public release.”

3. Sheep

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Many of us are guilty of following the status quo on occasion. But no one likes to be called a sheep.

“The word “sheep” in reference to everyone but them,” says one user. This makes the person talking seem ignorant and conceited, with an “I’m better than everyone” air, which no one likes.

4. Social Media Jargon

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An entire sub-thread of this online thread turned into a discussion of words that people can’t stand on social media posts. These included “… and GO!” at the end of a post, “THIS!”, “Say it louder for the people in the back” and excessive use of emojis. Many users say this is an instant recipe for a block.

5. Eye-Roll Worthy Social Media Posts

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There are a few more examples of social media jargon people hate. One user writes, “That “…and GO” causes me to go into an unhealthy and over-the-top rage that even I can’t explain. I so f*****g hate that.”

6. Are You Listening?

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One user is over the phrase, “Pay careful attention, I’m only going to say this once.” If people want to listen, they will. When using this phrase, they’re actually more likely to tune out, some admit.

7. A Detox or Cleanse is What You Need

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People with chronic illness (or who have close family or friends with chronic illness) are tired of hearing people’s recommendations for a detox or cleanse.

One user writes, “Sorry to hear about your husband’s condition, maybe he should try a master cleanse?” Ug.

In all seriousness, while they might work for some people- throwing out a random suggestion to someone suffering isn’t usually a great idea. Plus, the liver and kidneys do a great job of detoxing the boy- who knew?

8. Mispronunciations Galore

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Some people can’t help but start spell-checking people’s words when they completely mispronounce a word. Examples include: supposably and pacifically (instead of specifically).

9. That’s Underrated

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A few users annoyingly point out how often the word “underrated” is used. It’s used so often that one user points out, “It’s overrated, even.” Touche.

10. Female

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“I’m personally not offended by men calling women “females”, but usually when they do refer to them as that, they’re almost always d***ebags.” Says one user.

11. Using Identity Over Description

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Any term used as a noun instead of an adjective can come off as offensive (a jew vs a Jewish baker, a female vs female singer, etc.)

12. No Offense

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If you have to say these words “no offense” before saying something, it’s probably best not to say them. It almost guarantees a rude comment is coming next.

13. Another Pre Qualifying Phrase

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Similar to no offense, another statement that is guaranteed to lead to a negative outcome is: “not to be rude.” Why even say it then?

14. But Wait There’s More

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Yet another phrase that should never be used when speaking with another person is: “don’t be mad, but…” Another guarantee for others to stop listening.

15. Too Much Honesty

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There were even more qualifying phrases brought up, such as “I’m not gonna lie…” and “Can I be honest…”

16. I’m an Empath

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“Empath. Anyone calling themselves an empath and my ears go off,” shares a writer. Others joke that if they were truly empaths, they’d know to be quiet when someone doesn’t want to hear it.

17. Trust Me, I’m a Nice Guy

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“When someone tells me they’re a nice guy. That’s generally an excuse for future unwarranted behavior.” Never trust the ones that flaunt their “niceness.” Seriously- actions speak louder than words, man.

18. We’re Really Important

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“When a company talks about themselves and uses the word ‘really’. As in, at company x, we’re really trying to innovate the biotech space etc,” Shares a user. Unfortunately, adding the word really makes it feel ingenuine.

19. Manifesting is Life

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Some people hate the word manifest and what it entails. “Just tell me you’re a wealthy person who posts too much on LinkedIn about “the hustle/grind/mindset”,” shares a user. While intentions can be good, the word has become too trendy and used by too many flakes.

20. My Truth

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A user shares that a person talking about their “truth” is usually talking about their own delusions that others don’t understand. It can elicit eye rolls from most people in a conversation.

21. Completely Wrong

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Rather than a mispronunciation, some phrases get completely botched. For example, “intensive purposes” instead of intents and purposes.

22. Blanket Statements

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“Anytime someone blanket statements way too broadly – all men, all women etc etc hate when women blame every man, hate when men blame all women.” Shares a writer. These types of statements tend to be very over-generalized.

23. Kids These Days

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Many parents cringe at: “”Teenagers/ children THESE DAYS”. As if people haven’t complained about teenagers/ children since the dawn of time,” shares a user. Yep, kids can be annoying, no matter what era.

24. Annoyingly Optimistic

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“Everything happens for a reason. Yah tell that to a parent who’s child has cancer,” shares a writer. For someone suffering, these words are not typically encouraging and rather very off-putting.

25. I Promise I’m Good

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Similar to “I’m a nice guy,” the phrase “I’m a good person” has negative vibes written all over it. Someone writes, “If you have to remark and convince others that you’re a good person, you’re not a good person. Good people don’t have to tell you they’re good. They show you.”

26. You Look Tired

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We all know this is code for “you look like sh**.” Instead of pointing out their looks, ask them how they are and offer some help.)

27. It’s Not My Fault

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Making all problem someone else’s problem is never a good way to make friends and have conversations. Admitting when you’re wrong or being more sensitive to other’s mistakes will go a long way.

28. That’s Not My Problem

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When someone is venting to you or asking for help, saying it’s not your problem comes off as hasty and rude. Offering a listening ear or saying I’m not sure is okay, but do it mindfully.


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