Worst Ways to Start a Conversation * Updated With Paralegal Feedback *

Photo: Luis Miguel

Photo: Luis Miguel

People don’t always think, before we speak. Some of us don’t always listen, when we hear. Most of us stop both thinking and listening, once a certain turn of phrase reaches our ears.

These are a few expressions to avoid — unless you WANT to start an argument or take a civil conversation to a different level.


  1. Don’t take this the wrong way.
  2. Now, don’t get upset.
  3. I hate to be the one to tell you this.
  4. Not to take anything away from you, but…
  5. We can be honest with each other, right?
  6. I’m telling you this as a friend.
  7. We have to talk.
  8. If you asked me…
  9. Let me explain something to you.
  10. Not to be ignorant or anything, but…
  11. You know what your problem is?
  12. I know you worked hard on this…
  13. Don’t take this personally.
  14. To tell you the truth…
  15. Let me see if I’ve got this right.
  16. It goes without saying… “

One comment

  1. GW Crawford · ·

    My issue is not with the opener but someone who, after a long drawn out discussion, says “well, we will just have to agree to disagree.”
    No. I am winning the argument – I have facts, precedents, statistics to back me up – you have anecdotes, suppositions and mistakenly held beliefs. I know the difference between widely held perception and truth. And “well, everyone just knows that” doesn’t cut it.

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