Grumpy? Tired? Looking to let off some steam?
Most of us know just what to say or do to get things off to a bang.
I know that more than one complaint in a row is a sure-fire way to get my husband to flare. And he knows that if he rolls his eyes when I’m talking, it will take great effort on my part to not go on the attack.
You’d think we’d have the good sense to never, ever speak the “magic” words that make things go from bad to worse. But… unfortunately we don’t.
When tension runs high—when we’re irritated or disappointed or not getting our way—using our secret weapon can be hard to resist.
No, don’t try to claim innocence, as in I had no idea this would upset him. And, no, tone of voice makes no difference at all when you’re calling someone an ass.
There’s no way that adding the word “sweetie” will take the edge off a jab, and when you think, I really shouldn’t say this, you’re probably right.
While this is by no means a definitive list, here are some tried and true openers that will get your partner on the defensive lickety-split:
1. You want to do WHAT?
2. Oh, brother.
3. First of all…
4. I thought we already talked about this.
6. Are you serious?
7. I don’t mean to piss you off, but…
8. Oh, YOU’RE one to talk.
10. What kind of an idiot would…?
11. What’s to talk about???
12. Oh give it a rest.
13. You never… You always…
14. Here we go again.
15. Now you sound just like your mother.
16. Just sayin’.
17. Do I really have to ask you a second time?
18. I can’t believe this.
19. I’m not the one trying to start a fight.
20. Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you’d be so sensitive.
Any of these sound familiar? Want to add some to the list? The point, of course, is to strike these nasty moves from your repertoire, to be friends and not foes.
Please use the buttons below to share this post with others!
Sign up to get your FREE Speaking of Marriage Gift Pack: 75 Ways To Improve Your Relationship Starting Today— plus weekly blog posts delivered straight to your inbox.
Check out my Facebook page for this week’s cartoon!
I have done #6 & #10. Out of desperation #17 & 18 and my go to without any real threat offense is #13. Those last three also help inhabit a victim stance, a combination I imagine being a real displeasure on the receiving end. My poor husband – but honestly I’m most miserable when I take those paths, which I get to feel best when I don’t succeed in ticking him off : |
Ha! A real displeasure indeed!
Since we’re fessing up, I’ll admit to 6 and 12. Some of the others I’ve considered and thought better of it.
Great comment. 🙂
Great list, Winifred. while some of these sound familiar, I have to say I seem to always go to #13 – but only because he never listens!
Maybe I’ll write a post about how to deal with the experience of not being listened to. It’s a two sided issue, as they all are: there’s the one who tunes out and the one who is tuned out.
All the same. Only in French!
Maybe I should try a few of these in French!
Then again, maybe not. 🙂
Someone I know quite well likes this one: “Don’t take this the wrong way….”
And I sometimes have to choke myself to keep from saying “I told you this would happen.”
“Don’t take this the wrong way” implies we should be magnanimous or some such instead of offended. One would never need that preface line if we were communicating lovingly and responsibly.
My favorite—What’s your problem? Or–a little grumpy today?
Seems the list gets longer as we go.
What’s your problem is excellent!
Okay, confession time. I am guilty of adding “sweetheart” at the end of a sentence when I am trying not to get upset at something.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.