How to Stop Saying Phrases Men Hate Hearing From Women

Relationship Rules
08 Oct 2023
10 min read
11 Common Phrases Men Hate Hearing from Women

Communication between partners can hit a lot of snags. Sometimes, it feels like trying to get two toddlers to be rational. At other times, good adulting is going on, and couples reach compromises and solutions. But one thing is for certain: both genders have “pet” phrases they have developed over the years to make the hair on the backs of each other’s necks stand up. We’re here to reveal the exact phrases men hate hearing from women.

11 Phrases Men Hate Hearing from Women

“There are seven phrases men hate to hear…and seven better ways to get the reaction you’re looking for.”

Dr. Ian Kerner, sexual relationship expert and founder of Goodinbed.com

So, what are those “pet” comments from a woman that make men most annoyed and that they hate hearing? Here’s a list of the most common phrases men dislike hearing from women, based on some casual surveys and some relationship experts.

As the saying goes, “If the shoe fits, wear it.” So women, look and see if you are using any of these phrases.

1. “Fine, Go Ahead, Do Whatever You Want”

This is a phrase men hate hearing from women because it doesn’t always mean what it is intended to. It’s one of those relationship tropes – in reality, she is angry or upset about something her man is thinking about doing and disapproves. Her emotions are showing much more than words in this case.

This phrase raises major red flags for the guy because men hate hearing they are wrong. It’s painful for them to hear you are unhappy with a decision or a choice he has or is about to make. And if it turns out to be a poor one, he’ll not hear the end of it soon.

If you say this phrase to your man, think twice and find a nicer way to express your doubt. Maybe something like, “Can we talk about this first?” would be a better approach. And if it turns out to be a poor decision, it’s over. He’s already feeling bad, so don’t dwell on it.

2. “I’m Too Tired”

Many guys complain that they hear this more often than they would like. Usually, it relates to sex, but it can relate to going out together or any other person’s attitude. This is not the answer they want, and it is one that is widely joked about (that and “I have a headache”).

If the answer relates to sex, it is true that women get tired – after all, life happens every day – work, getting dinner ready, getting children to bed, household chores, etc.

Before you simply say, “I’m too tired,” how about talking with your guy about why you are tired? Maybe ask him to pitch in more so you will be less tired less often. And who knows? A bit of cuddling may just put you in the mood – after all, sex is a lot more pleasant than your daily grind.

How about you suggest something else? “I’m really tired but maybe we can just get in bed and cuddle.”

If your answer relates to going out, instead of “I’m too tired,” how about a compromise? Tell you man you’re really tired, but if you could get in a short nap, you’ll feel more like it. If there are kids, ask him to take them out for a bit; if not, ask that he keep the house quiet so you can get that nap.

3. “I’m Fine!”

Clearly, you are not, but you’re not talking right now. Your man knows you are upset, annoyed, or angry, but he probably cannot guess exactly why – he’s not a mind-reader.

It’s time to be honest. Instead of this statement, when you are asked what’s wrong or are you OK, simply say, “No, I’m not, but I’m not ready to talk about it right now. When I’m ready and you have time to listen, I’ll tell you what’s the matter.”

Related reading: Vulnerability in Relationships: How To Be More Open

4. “How Can You Be Friends with Him?”

You both have friends, some from long before you two got together. You may not really like all of the buddies your man has chosen, but that’s really not up to you. Likewise, he may not think all of your friends are great either – remember that.

So when you make negative comments and criticize his guy pals with comments like the one above, you are not doing anything to strengthen your partnership. He may see you as critical and judgmental, and such comments can turn him off a bit.

Are there any alternative comments you can make that would “soften” your criticism? Maybe, but probably not. Your best alternative is to say nothing.

5. “I Don’t Want You Talking to Your Ex”

Why is this a phrase men hate hearing? There are several reasons:

  1. Your partner may not want to be reminded of his ex and may not want to hear about them from you.
  2. He and his ex may have parted on good terms and remain in a friendship. So, when you say this to your man, he sees it as a sign of your attempt to control his friendship world.
  3. It feels as if his ex is still contacting him. According to Kerner, “I know that you’re not into her, but I think she’s still into you, and she’s being a little aggressive.” What you’ve done here is made your point, but you have also flattered your man at the same time.

Related reading: Ex Still Renting Space in Your Head? 11 Tools to Break Free

Comments and phrases men hate hearing from women

6. “I Think It’s Funny How…”

While this is not really a relationship trope, it is rather sarcastic. Women who use this phrase are expressing their displeasure with something their man is doing.

“I find it funny that you can run to meet your buddies to watch a game at the bar, but you can’t find the time to help out around here,” or, “I think it’s interesting that you can always figure a way to re-arrange your schedule for you mom but not when I need your help or time.”

Even though this can be a pretty detailed complaint, it’s a phrase men hate hearing. Maybe it “hits too close to home,” or they resent their woman trying to set their priorities for them.

As an alternative, try to make these types of comments less combative. Something like, “I appreciate that you want to have good times with your buddies, but the truth is I would like you to choose me over them sometimes.” These words are not combative but make your statement clear.

7. “Why Can’t You Be More Like (Someone Else’s Husband)?”

Women have at least one or two married friends – and of course, they compare notes. And what one guy does for his wife, another may not. This sets guys up for the inevitable criticism that they know is coming.

But here’s the thing. There are probably things your man does for you that other husbands do not do for their wives. Think about those before you start commenting on your man’s failings. It’s a big deal when you compare your man to that of a friend. Comments that negatively compare are the worst.

Think about this: How would you like to be negatively compared to another man’s partner or wife? Now, don’t you see why this is one of those phrases men hate hearing from their women?

Instead of comparison comments, if there is something your man is not doing that you want him to, speak up and ask.

8. “We Need to Talk”

This may be top of the list of phrases men hate hearing from women. First of all, they know she is upset about something (what that is, they can only guess), and they expect to be confronted with comments that are negative. One guy may resign himself to hearing her out and stay calm. Another guy may lose his temper and turn the conversation into an argument and even a shouting match. Either way, no man wants to hear this.

So, how can you rephrase this so that your man will listen to your comments without them starting an argument?

  • Think about what it is that has upset you. Has he done something, like accessing dating apps, that makes you think he’s gonna cheat on you? Has he been spending too much time out with his buddies and ignoring you? Is he not pitching in on chores? Is this something that happened a few weeks ago that you can’t forget? Maybe a friend saw him talking to another girl pretty intimately?
  • Make a plan for how you are going to address this without using these hated words
  • Stay calm if you expect that he’s gonna stay to hear you out. Relationships always suffer some damage when couples have shouting matches. And if you overreact by being preemptively mad without hearing him out, you create a mess.
  • Stick to the topic. If you try to bring up old wounds, your comments about the subject at hand will be watered down. If you have negative comments to make about the past, find a friend who will listen, not him.
  • Find an alternative to these opening words. “Can we please talk about something that has been bothering me,” or “I need to talk with you about something – do you have time now?”

9. “Since You’re Not Busy, I Have Our Day All Planned”

Have you consulted him about these plans you have? Life in a partnership is about communication, and this is just controlling behavior. He may be mulling over some things he may want to do today. And that might include relaxing or getting together with a friend.

Instead of assuming he is not busy or is not thinking about some things he would like to do, try another way to phrase this. “Do you have anything planned for today? Here’s what I’d like to do if you are willing.”

Remember this: Single women dating don’t do this to their men. They don’t assume that his life is theirs to direct. Just because you are in a partnership doesn’t give you those rights, either. So back off some and give him time off to do what he’ll find most enjoyable.

Most comments men hate hearing are passive aggressive

10. “Let’s Go Out to Eat…You Choose, But…”

This is one of those relationship tropes that is widely joked about and is actually pretty funny and common.

Here’s how it goes: “So, why don’t you choose where to go out to eat? As long as it’s not (name of place), (name of place), or (name of place). I’m fine with anywhere else.” Comments like these indicate you still want to control things.

And this doesn’t just happen with places to eat. It can be bars or clubs where you might be meeting up with one or two married friends. It’s funny how you think you are letting others have their way when they really don’t.

If you say he can choose, then say it and no more. He chooses, and you go along.

11. “Do I Look Good in This Dress?”

No man wants to hear this:

  • If you don’t look great in it and he is honest, he will definitely lose
  • If he lies and tells you that you look amazing, he gives you the false impression that you look fine

Just don’t do it. Be your own judge of how you look in something – and leave it at that. You don’t need his comments about any of it. If he volunteers comments, be fine with them, even if he suggests that you wear something else. Relationships are really about so much more than this.

Do All Men Agree That These Phrases Are Hated?

Not by a long shot. To one man, there may be a specific phrase that speaks horribly to the other person’s attitude and raises major red flags. To another, it’s funny and no big deal.

One user of certain phrases may invoke anger with the tone of voice used; one user of those same phrases may invoke a totally different response because of a playful tone of voice.

The important thing to remember if you are a female with a man you love. The comments you make can be biting, sarcastic, and even somewhat mean when you are angry, disappointed, annoyed, or even jealous. Find a less harsh way to express displeasure, and you will avoid battles.

Relationships Author
Geoffrey Williams
After taking a required Intro to Psychology course as an undergrad, I have never looked back. Since my doctoral program, I have specialized in adult relationship therapy. Through my studies and clinicals, I wrote several articles for professional journals and currently in the midst of writing a book.
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