15 Phrases That Make You Sound Like A Pushover (And What To Say Instead)

15 Phrases That Make You Sound Like A Pushover (And What To Say Instead)

We all want to be liked and avoid conflict, but sometimes our eagerness to please can make us sound like pushovers.

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You know, the kind of person who always says “yes,” never speaks their mind, and constantly apologizes even when they’ve done nothing wrong. These tendencies can undermine our confidence and make it difficult to stand up for ourselves. But fear not, there are ways to communicate assertively while still maintaining good relationships.

1. “I’m sorry, but…”

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Starting every sentence with “I’m sorry” can diminish your confidence and make you appear less assertive. While apologizing when you’re genuinely at fault is important, overusing this phrase can weaken your message, Psych Central points out. Instead, try owning your statement with confidence. For example, instead of saying, “I’m sorry, but I can’t make it tonight,” try saying, “I won’t be able to make it tonight, but I appreciate the invite.”

2. “It’s fine.”

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This phrase often masks our true feelings and can make us seem like we’re okay with things that actually bother us. If something isn’t fine, it’s okay to say so. You can express your concerns constructively and assertively. For instance, instead of saying, “It’s fine if you borrowed my car without asking,” try saying, “I’d appreciate it if you asked next time before borrowing my car.”

3. “I’ll do it.”

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Always saying “yes” to every request can overload you and make you appear like a doormat. It’s okay to decline politely but firmly when you have too much on your plate or simply don’t want to do something. Instead of automatically agreeing, say, “I’d love to help, but I’m already committed to another project.”

4. “I just want to make sure everyone is happy.”

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Prioritizing everyone else’s happiness over your own can lead to resentment and burn out. It’s important to find a balance between being considerate and taking care of your own needs. Instead of always putting others first, try saying, “While I want everyone to be happy, I also need to consider what’s best for me.”

5. “I don’t want to bother anyone.”

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Thinking you’re a burden for asking for help or expressing your needs can prevent you from getting the support you deserve. Remember, everyone needs assistance from time to time. Instead of keeping quiet, try saying, “I could really use your help with this.”

6. “I’m not sure if I’m good enough.”

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Self-doubt can erode your confidence and make you sound unsure of yourself. While humility is a virtue, constantly questioning your abilities can undermine your credibility. Instead of doubting yourself, try saying, “I’m confident in my skills and experience to tackle this challenge.”

7. “I’ll try my best.”

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While this phrase seems harmless, it can come across as noncommittal. If you’re capable of completing a task, say so confidently. If not, be honest about your limitations and offer alternative solutions. Instead of saying, “I’ll try my best,” try saying, “I’ll get this done by Friday,” or “I’m not familiar with this, but I can research and get back to you by tomorrow.”

8. “Maybe, I guess…”

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Hedging your responses with “maybe” or “I guess” can make you seem indecisive and unsure. While it’s okay to not have all the answers, avoid giving vague or hesitant responses. Instead, try saying, “I need more information before I can make a decision,” or “I’d like to think about it for a moment.”

9. “Whatever you want is fine with me.”

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Always deferring to others’ preferences can make you seem like you lack opinions or desires of your own. It’s okay to have preferences and express them confidently. Instead of always agreeing, try saying, “I’m open to suggestions, but I’d personally prefer…” or “I have a different idea that I’d like to share.”

10. “I don’t mind doing it.”

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While being helpful is a positive trait, constantly offering to do things you don’t want to can lead to resentment. It’s okay to decline politely and explain why you’re unable to help. Instead of saying, “I don’t mind doing it,” try saying, “I’m not available to help with that right now,” or “I’d be happy to help another time.”

11. “I’m not sure if I deserve this.”

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Downplaying your accomplishments or doubting your worth can make you seem unsure of yourself. While it’s important to be humble, it’s also important to acknowledge your achievements and value your contributions. Instead of doubting yourself, try saying, “I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished,” or “I believe I deserve this opportunity.”

12. “I hope I’m not being too much trouble.”

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Constantly apologizing for your presence or requests can make you seem like an inconvenience. Remember, you have a right to ask for help or express your needs. Instead of apologizing, try saying, “I appreciate your help,” or “I’d like to request…”

13. “I’m scared of what people will think.”

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Allowing the fear of judgment to control your actions can prevent you from speaking your mind and asserting yourself. While it’s natural to care about others’ opinions, don’t let it hold you back from expressing your thoughts and feelings. Instead of being afraid, try saying, “I understand your concerns, but I believe…” or “I respect your opinion, but I disagree.”

14. “I just don’t want to make things awkward.”

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As Healthline notes, avoiding conflict at all costs can lead to unresolved issues and resentment. It’s okay to have difficult conversations and disagree with others in a respectful manner. Instead of avoiding conflict, try saying, “I’d like to talk about something that’s been bothering me,” or “I understand we have different perspectives, but I’d like to find a solution that works for both of us.”

15. “I’m not sure what to do, so I’ll just go with whatever you want.”

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Indecisiveness can make you seem like you lack confidence and initiative. While it’s okay to seek input from others, ultimately you need to make your own decisions. Instead of always deferring to others, try saying, “I need some time to think about it,” or “I’ve considered all options, and I’ve decided to…”

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.