15 Phrases Only Insincere People Use In Conversation

15 Phrases Only Insincere People Use In Conversation

We’ve all encountered insincere people who say one thing but mean another. These people often use phrases that sound friendly or empathetic on the surface, but are actually hollow and disingenuous. If you want to spot an insincere person, pay attention to their language and look out for these 15 phrases. By recognizing these verbal red flags, you can better navigate your conversations and relationships with other people.

1. “I’m not mad.”

provided by Shutterstock

When someone says they’re not mad, they usually are. Insincere people often use this phrase to avoid confrontation or to passive-aggressively express their displeasure. Instead of openly communicating their feelings, they bottle them up and pretend everything is fine. If you hear this phrase, it’s a sign that there’s an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

2. “I’m just saying…”

couple serious restaurant conversation

provided by iStock

Insincere people love to use this phrase as a disclaimer before or after saying something offensive or hurtful. It’s their way of deflecting responsibility for their words and making it seem like they’re just stating facts. In reality, they’re often expressing a negative opinion or criticism under the guise of honesty. Don’t fall for this manipulative tactic.

3. “No offense, but…”

couple having coffee at outdoor cafe

provided by iStock

Similar to “I’m just saying,” this phrase is often followed by something offensive or insensitive, The Washington Post notes. Insincere people use it as a way to preemptively soften the blow of their words, but it doesn’t change the fact that what they’re saying is hurtful. If someone truly means no offense, they wouldn’t need to say it.

4. “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

Difficult family conversation, crisis relations, distrust, establishment trusting relationships, after quarrel, tries understanding, offer go family psychologist. Husband and wife support each other

provided by iStock

This is a classic non-apology used by insincere people. Instead of taking responsibility for their actions or words, they shift the blame onto the other person’s feelings. It’s a way of dismissing the other person’s perspective and avoiding accountability. A sincere apology acknowledges the hurt caused and takes steps to make amends.

5. “I didn’t mean it like that.”

provided by Shutterstock

When called out on their behavior, insincere people often backpedal and claim they didn’t mean what they said in the way it was interpreted. This is a way of gaslighting the other person and making them question their own perceptions. If someone consistently says hurtful things and then claims they didn’t mean it, it’s a red flag.

6. “I’m just too honest.”

Conversation, argument and interracial couple in conflict in a park for communication about divorce. Angry, fight and black man and woman speaking about a relationship problem on a date in nature

provided by iStock

Insincere people sometimes use their supposed honesty as a shield for their rude or insensitive behavior. They claim that they’re just being truthful, even if their words are hurtful or inappropriate. In reality, honesty without tact or empathy is just cruelty. True honesty is delivered with kindness and respect for the other person’s feelings.

7. “I’m not trying to be rude, but…”

Young couple having conversation on couch

provided by iStock

This phrase is often followed by a rude or critical comment. Insincere people use it as a way to soften the blow of their words, but it doesn’t change the fact that what they’re saying is unkind. If someone truly doesn’t want to be rude, they would find a more tactful way to express their thoughts.

8. “I’m just playing devil’s advocate.”

provided by Shutterstock

Insincere people sometimes use this phrase to justify arguing for a controversial or unpopular opinion. They claim they’re just exploring all sides of an issue, but in reality, they may be using it as a way to express their own problematic views without taking responsibility for them. Be wary of people who consistently play devil’s advocate, especially on sensitive topics.

9. “I’m not racist/sexist/homophobic, but…”

provided by Shutterstock

When someone feels the need to preface their statement with a denial of bigotry, it’s often a sign that what they’re about to say is, in fact, bigoted. Insincere people use this phrase as a way to shield themselves from criticism and make their views seem more acceptable. Don’t fall for this tactic – judge people by their actions and words, not their disclaimers.

10. “I’m just telling it like it is.”

provided by Shutterstock

Insincere people often use this phrase to justify their blunt or tactless behavior. They claim they’re just being honest and straightforward, even if their words are hurtful or insensitive. In reality, they may be using honesty as an excuse to be cruel or to push their own agenda. True honesty is important, but it should be balanced with kindness and respect.

11. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”

provided by Shutterstock

When confronted about their behavior, insincere people often refuse to take responsibility for their actions. They may deny any wrongdoing or shift the blame onto other people. Charming! This phrase is a red flag that the person is not willing to be accountable or make changes. A sincere person is willing to acknowledge their mistakes and work to do better.

12. “I’m not trying to make excuses, but…”

provided by Shutterstock

This phrase is often followed by an excuse. Insincere people use it as a way to avoid taking responsibility for their actions while still trying to justify their behavior. If someone truly isn’t trying to make excuses, they would simply own up to their mistakes without qualification.

13. “I’m just trying to help.”

provided by Shutterstock

Insincere people sometimes use this phrase to justify giving unsolicited advice or criticism. They may claim they’re just looking out for the other person, but in reality, they’re overstepping boundaries and imposing their own views. True help is offered with respect for the other person’s autonomy and feelings.

14. “I’m not judging, but…”

provided by iStock

When someone prefaces a statement with this phrase, they’re often about to pass judgment. Insincere people use it as a way to express their disapproval while still trying to maintain a facade of open-mindedness. If someone truly isn’t judging, they wouldn’t feel the need to say so.

15. “I’m just being honest with you.”

provided by iStock

While honesty is important in relationships, insincere people sometimes use this phrase to justify hurtful or insensitive comments. They may claim they’re just telling the truth, even if their words are unnecessarily harsh or critical. True honesty is important, but it should be delivered with tact and empathy for the other person’s feelings.

Sinitta Weston grew up in Edinburgh but moved to Sydney, Australia to for college and never came back. She works as a chemical engineer during the day and at night, she writes articles about love and relationships. She's her friends' go-to for dating advice (though she struggles to take the same advice herself). Her INFJ personality makes her extra sensitive to others' feelings and this allows her to help people through tough times with ease. Hopefully, her articles can do that for you.
close-link
close-link
close-link
close-link