Look, even the best relationships get heated sometimes. Usually, the problem isn't the argument itself, but how we talk it out. One wrong word can turn a disagreement into a full-on battle, we've all been there!

Saying stuff like "You always..." or "You never..." (which can be said out of habit) just makes things worse. Sarcasm isn't helpful either, it hurts more than it helps. When we attack each other with words, it's tough to come back from that. We gotta be careful how we talk during arguments, 'cause some things just make it harder to fix. This is why in this blog, we'll provide you with some of the phrases that you need to AVOID when arguing with your partner and what to say instead.

1."You always..." or "You never..."

"You always never listen to me!"

"You always forget our anniversary!"

"You never make an effort in our relationship!"

"You never help me clean the house!"

Ugh, those "you always" and "you never" phrases? We've probably all used them, and let's be honest, they're not helpful. Instead of encouraging a talk, they make your partner feel attacked and defensive.

Here's why they're very unproductive:

  • They're usually not true: Saying "you never help" is rarely accurate.
  • They shut down conversation: They put your partner on the defensive instead of opening up a dialogue.
  • They lack specifics: They don't tell your partner what's actually bothering you.
  • They're exaggerated: Words like "always" and "never" make things seem worse than they are.
  • They're discouraging: They make your partner feel like they can't change.
  • They blame, not express: They focus on attacking your partner instead of expressing your own feelings.

Instead, try being specific and using "I feel" statements. For example, instead of "You never help clean," say "I feel frustrated when the house is messy, could we share the cleaning duties?" It might not be easy, but ditching the "you always" and "you never" will lead to more productive and respectful conversations with your partner.

More examples include:

Avoid saying:

"You always leave your dirty dishes around the house."

This phrasing unfairly generalizes and implies your partner never contributes.

Instead, you can try:

"I feel frustrated when the kitchen is left messy after dinner. I would appreciate it if we could take turns cleaning up after we eat, especially because it's been a long week."

This expresses your feelings without attacking your partner's character. It provides clear actions they can take to help address the issue. Avoiding "you always" accusations allows a conversation to be solution-focused rather than escalating blame. The key is using "I feel" statements to frame concerns objectively while inviting your partner to understand your perspective.

2. "This is all your fault."

Blaming your partner with statements like "This is all your fault" during arguments isn't helpful either.

Here's why:

  • It ignores the bigger picture: Often, relationship issues aren't one-sided. Placing all blame on your partner ignores the complexities that led to the situation.
  • It shuts down communication: Blame makes your partner defensive, hindering open communication and making them less likely to listen. Fights become fiery instead of productive.
  • It lacks specifics: It doesn't address t actual issue. Instead of focusing on broad blame, pinpoint the specific behaviors that bother you.
  • It creates shame: Feeling solely responsible can be disheartening and shut down open conversation. Acknowledge shared responsibility, even if it's minimal, to encourage open communication.
  • It focuses on blame, not solutions: Instead of dwelling on past mistakes, focus on finding solutions together to move forward and avoid repeating them.

Instead of blaming, try expressing your feelings and concerns constructively. This fosters a more positive and solution-oriented dialogue.

For example, avoid:

"This is all your fault. If you hadn't missed our dinner reservation, we could have had a nice anniversary."

This accusatory phrasing casts all the blame on your partner.

Instead, reframe it as:

"I was really disappointed we missed our reservation. Next time, could we build in a buffer in case anything makes us run late? I want us to be able to celebrate special occasions together."

Rather than blame, this focuses the conversation on preventing the issue in the future.

Another example is to avoid:

"The kitchen is a mess because of you. You never wash your dishes right away."

Instead, use an "I" statement:

"I feel overwhelmed when the dishes pile up. Going forward, do you think we could come up with a system where we each tidy as we cook?"

This expresses your feelings without finger-pointing or generalizations.

In summary, redirect the conversation to solutions rather than deciding who is at fault. Acknowledge your own role in the situation, even if small. The goal is mutual understanding, not proving blame. With some care and compromise, you can resolve conflicts in a healthy way.

3. "You're so [negative trait]."

During arguments, calling your partner names is a major no-go. It is like throwing a grenade into the conversation - it blows everything up and leaves no room for progress.

Here's why:

  • It derails the conversation: Instead of focusing on the actual issue, name-calling turns the fight personal and hinders any progress towards resolution.
  • It hurts more than helps: Harsh criticisms, even if aimed at behavior, can damage your partner's self-esteem and create insecurity in the relationship. Remember, change is more likely when they feel respected and optimistic.
  • It shows disrespect: Insults are disrespectful and undermine the trust needed for open communication. Especially during disagreements, compassion and understanding are crucial.

Focus on specific behaviors that bother you, rather than attacking their character. For example, say "I feel frustrated when you're late" instead of "you're so inconsiderate." This allows for a more productive conversation and promotes positive change without damaging the relationship.

For example:

Avoid saying:

"You're so disorganized and scatterbrained. It's infuriating."

This attacks them personally rather than expressing your feelings on the situation.

Instead, you could say:

"I feel overwhelmed when the house is messy and paperwork piles up. I would appreciate it if we could come up with an organization system together that works for both of us."

Rather than labeling your partner as inherently flawed, communicate how specific behaviors make you feel using "I" statements. Focus the conversation on practical solutions you can both implement moving forward.

Demeaning each other's identity only leads to hurt feelings, not conflict resolution. Bring the discussion back to tangible behaviors that can change while upholding mutual respect. Avoid sweeping judgments, especially during heated arguments. With care and compromise, you can tackle issues without personal attacks.

Remember, even in disagreements, respect goes a long way.

4. "But what about when you..."

It's tempting to bring up past issues with phrases like "what about when you..." during arguments. This tactic is known as "whataboutism," and it rarely helps.

Here's why:

  1. It derails the conversation: Instead of focusing on the current issue, you're rehashing the past, leading to defensiveness and making it harder to find solutions.
  2. It invalidates feelings: By bringing up old hurts, you're essentially saying your partner's current concerns don't matter. This discourages open communication and empathy.
  3. It avoids responsibility: "Whataboutism" can be a way to deflect blame instead of taking ownership of your role in the situation.
  4. It hinders progress: Bringing up past grudges makes it difficult to move forward and find solutions for the present.

Instead of focusing on the past, focus on the present issue and communicate openly and honestly. By addressing each issue individually with care and understanding, you can build a stronger and healthier relationship.

So instead of saying:

"I'm upset that you didn't call me back. What about the time you ignored my texts all day?"

Try reframing:

"I felt hurt when I didn't hear back from you today. In the future, could we agree to acknowledge messages from each other within a few hours if possible?"

Rather than deflecting blame, focus the conversation on establishing expectations moving forward.

Or instead of:

"You're criticizing me for being late, but what about last week when you were late for dinner with friends?"

Rephrase as:

"I apologize for being late to our plans today. I know you value punctuality, and I want to improve at being on time. How can I do better?"

Take ownership of your role in the situation without the temptation to divert blame.

Overall, "whataboutism" derails productive communication by escalating defensiveness. Don't tally old scores or minimize your partner's feelings. Listen, apologize, and align on solutions. If needed, agree to discuss past issues separately, once emotions have cooled. Most importantly, stay present and keep the conversation constructive.

5. "If you don't do this, I'm leaving."

Ultimatums like "If you don't do this, I'm leaving" might seem like a quick way to get what you want, but they actually damage trust and communication in the long run. Here's why:

  • They create a "win-lose" situation: Ultimatums force your partner to comply or face losing the relationship, fostering resentment and resistance instead of collaboration.
  • They damage trust: Threatening to end the relationship undermines the sense of security and commitment that's vital for healthy relationships.
  • They shut down communication: Ultimatums don't address the underlying emotional needs driving the conflict. They force compliance instead of encouraging open and compassionate communication.
  • They hinder empathy: Instead of listening to your partner's perspective, ultimatums prioritize getting your way, hindering mutual understanding.

Instead of ultimatums, focus the discussion on collaborative problem-solving.

Here are some alternatives:

Avoid saying:

“If you don’t start helping with the kids more, I’m going to leave.”

Try rephrasing as:

“I’m feeling overwhelmed trying to balance work and childcare alone. Could we talk about ways we can share the responsibilities moving forward?”

Instead of:

"If you don't change, I can't do this anymore."

Rephrase as:

"I want to share some changes that would help strengthen our relationship. Could we set aside time to discuss this?"

Healthy relationships thrive on open communication, empathy, and cooperation. Instead of ultimatums, focus on expressing your needs clearly, listening to your partner's perspective, and working together to find solutions that work for both of you.

Remember, a healthy relationship is built on mutual understanding and respect, not threats and ultimatums.

6. "It's either me or [X]."

"Either/or" ultimatums like "It's me or X" may seem like a way to win an argument, but they can actually harm your relationship in the long run.

Here's why:

  • They create a "fight or flight" response: Ultimatums force your partner into a corner, making them feel defensive and less likely to cooperate.
  • They hurt trust: Threatening to end the relationship undermines the sense of security and commitment that's essential for a healthy relationship.
  • They don't address the root issue: Ultimatums focus on getting your way, not understanding your partner's perspective or the underlying reasons for the conflict.
  • They breed resentment: Feeling forced to comply fosters resentment and resistance, making it harder to resolve the issue in the future.

Instead of framing a concern as an ultimatum with your partner, try reframing the issue in a constructive way:

Avoid saying:

"It's either me or your friends. You can't have both."

Rather than demand they choose, rephrase as:

"I've been feeling disconnected from you lately and want to spend more quality time together. Could we brainstorm ways to balance our social lives with couple time?"

Rather than:

"It's either me or your job. You're working too much."

Rephrase as:

"I know your job is demanding right now. But I miss you and want to make our relationship a priority too. Can we come up with a schedule that works for both of us?"

Ultimatums force your partner into a defensive corner. Share your feelings openly and suggest compromises that validate both perspectives. Avoid framing it as a zero-sum choice. The goal is balance and understanding. With creativity and transparency, you can find solutions.

Instead of ultimatums, focus on open communication. Express your needs clearly, listen to your partner's perspective, and work together to find solutions that work for both of you.

Remember, a healthy relationship is built on collaboration and understanding, not ultimatums and threats.

7. "Stop being so emotional / You're being so sensitive"

Shutting down your partner's emotions with phrases like "stop being so emotional" or "you're too sensitive" is a recipe for disaster in an argument. Here's why:

  • They make your partner feel unheard: When you dismiss their emotions, you invalidate their perspective and make them feel like their feelings don't matter. This damages trust and connection.
  • They discourage open communication: Feeling belittled shuts down vulnerability and honest communication, making it harder to resolve the actual issue.
  • They offer no solutions: Phrases like "you're too sensitive" offer no constructive way forward, only adding fuel to the fire.
  • They create a power imbalance: Telling someone to "stop" feeling a certain way implies your emotions are superior and theirs are invalid. This creates an unhealthy power dynamic.

Instead, focus on validating their feelings. Acknowledge their emotions, even if you don't fully understand them. Phrases like "I see you're feeling upset" or "I can understand why you might feel that way" show respect and pave the way for a productive conversation. Remember, healthy relationships are built on empathy and understanding, not on shutting down emotions.

So, instead of:

"Ugh, stop being so sensitive and emotional about this."


"I can see you feel strongly about this. Help me understand where these emotions are coming from."


"I'm having a hard time relating to why you feel so upset. What would help me to better understand your perspective?"

Rather than:

"You're being way too emotional right now. Just relax."

Rephrase as:

"Let's take a break and revisit this once we've both had some time to cool down. I want to understand how you feel but we seem very worked up right now."

Validating your partner's emotions, even if you don't share them, fosters openness and intimacy. Seek to comprehend their experience, not minimize it. With mutual understanding and calm discussion, you can work through arguments constructively.

8. "If you love me, you would/wouldn't..."

Saying "If you love me, you would/wouldn't..." is a harmful tactic that puts your whole relationship on the line during an argument. Here's why it's so damaging:

  • It's manipulative: This phrase tries to force your partner into doing something by guilt-tripping them and questioning their commitment to you.
  • It derails the conversation: Instead of focusing on the actual issue, this turns it into a test of your partner's love, making resolution even harder.
  • It breeds resentment: Even if your partner gives in, they'll likely feel resentful and manipulated, which damages the relationship long-term.
  • It undermines trust: Using ultimatums like this implies you don't believe your partner loves you enough, which erodes the foundation of your relationship.

Remember, healthy relationships are built on mutual respect, honest communication, and compromise, not ultimatums and manipulation.

Avoid saying:

"If you really loved me, you would quit your job and spend more time together."

Instead, reframe as:

"I've been feeling like I don't get enough quality time with you. Could we brainstorm ways to connect more without fully compromising your career?"

Rather than:

"If you loved me, you wouldn't go on that trip without me."

Rephrase as:

"I want us to experience things together. Could we plan a special trip in the near future just for the two of us?"

Ultimatums like "if you love me..." pressure your partner unfairly versus inviting understanding. Share your feelings vulnerably and suggest compromises. Avoid cornering your partner or making them prove their love. With open communication, you can find solutions. The goal is to reconcile honestly, not force concessions.

9. "Whatever/ Nevermind/ I don't care"

When arguing with your partner, avoid dismissive statements like "whatever" or "I don't care." These phrases shut down communication, making it impossible to reach a solution.

Here's why:

  • They shut down communication: Dismissive statements make your partner feel unheard and undervalued, hindering productive dialogue.
  • They dismiss your partner's perspective: Phrases like "I don't care" or "whatever" suggest their feelings and concerns don't matter, creating a one-sided dynamic.
  • They avoid the real issue: Brushing off issues with "nevermind" or avoiding the topic allows problems to fester, preventing true resolution.
  • They create emotional distance: Withdrawing with statements like "whatever" or disengaging with "I don't care" creates emotional distance and can damage trust.

In rephrasing them you could:

Avoid: "I don't think we should see your parents this weekend." "Whatever, do what you want."

Alternative: "I disagree and would prefer if we visited them another time. Can we talk about why you don't want to go?"

Avoid: "I'm not comfortable with you going out late without letting me know." "So? I don't care what you think, I'm doing it anyway."

Alternative: "I know you're upset. But this is coming from a place of concern, not control. Can we compromise on a way for me to feel more at ease with late nights out?"

By avoiding dismissive statements and actively listening to each other, you can navigate disagreements constructively and build a stronger bond with your partner.

10. "I told you so"

Resist the urge to say "I told you so" after an argument with your partner. Here's why focusing on solutions is better:

  • It focuses on blame, not solutions: Saying "I told you so" assigns blame, making your partner feel defensive and hindering productive conversation.
  • It undermines teamwork: This phrase emphasizes who was "right" and who was "wrong," damaging the sense of partnership in your relationship.
  • It doesn't change the past: Dwelling on the past doesn't fix anything. Instead, focus on how to move forward together.

Remember, the goal is to move forward together as a team, not to rehash past mistakes. By focusing on solutions and avoiding unproductive phrases like "I told you so," you can strengthen your relationship and build trust with your partner.

Example: "I can't believe I got a flat tire, I knew I should have gotten new tires last month like you said." "I told you so! But you never listen to me."

The urge to say "I told you so" may come from feeling like your advice or warnings weren't taken seriously. But it usually just makes the other person feel worse. Instead, recognize the situation calmly and focus on problem solving. You can always revisit the disagreement over not heeding the advice later, when tensions are lower. Leading with empathy rather than blaming paves the way for better communication.

11. "You're just like [negative comparison]"

Bringing up past relationships or comparing your partner to someone you dislike is a big no-no during arguments. Here's why:

  • It's hurtful and unfair: Comparing your partner to someone else, especially someone you dislike, is hurtful and diminishes their individuality.
  • It doesn't address the issue: Comparisons don't address the specific behavior that's bothering you. Instead, they shift the focus to negativity and blame.
  • It escalates tensions: Comparisons often make your partner feel defensive and attacked, making it harder to have a productive conversation.

Again, the goal is to resolve the issue at hand, not to attack your partner's character. By focusing on specific behaviors and using "I" statements, you can have a more productive and respectful conversation.

Example: "I can't believe you forgot about my work event tonight after I told you three times! You're just as selfish and unreliable as my ex."

Alternative: "I feel really hurt and disappointed that you forgot about my event tonight after we planned for it. I end up feeling unsupported when things like this happen. Can we talk about how we can manage our schedules better as a team?"

Making inflammatory comparisons like "you're just like..." often escalates conflict instead of resolving it. Rather than dredge up past hurts or attack your partner's character, focus just on the current situation at hand. Use "I feel..." statements to express how the specific action made you feel. Then have a solutions-oriented discussion about how to prevent misunderstandings going forward. Avoiding mean-spirited comparisons and working together constructively leads to greater mutual understanding.

When upset, it's tempting to use these kinds of hurtful generalizations, absolutes, and manipulations. But they usually damage trust and connection. Arguing with empathy, honesty, and solutions in mind will strengthen your bond, even during disagreements. Stay present, acknowledge each other's feelings, and compromise. With care and communication, even hot topics cool over time.

About the Author

Sheravi Mae Galang

Sheravi Mae Galang is a Content Coordinator for the Couply app. Couply was created to help couples improve their relationships. Couply has over 300,000 words of relationship quizzes, questions, couples games, and date ideas and helps over 400,000 people.

Sheravi enjoys writing and is currently studying at the Cebu Institute of Technology - University for her current pursuit of a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology. You can connect with her through email here.