So, what are the most OFFENSIVE phrases in the English language? Meryl Runion is the CEO of SpeakStrong, a company that surveyed thousands of people to find out. And she says from the boardroom to the family room, there are words that drive people crazy and can put a real strain on relationships. For example: 

  • “I don’t care.” People often say this when asked for an opinion. But when someone really wants your opinion or wants to work together toward a solution, that phrase is really frustrating. It also makes the person on the receiving end feel as if the situation isn’t important enough for you to care about. 

  • Another offensive phrase: “If you say so.” This phrase is sarcasm in the form of insincere agreement. “If you say so” doesn’t mean that what’s being said is true, only that it’s being said. What the person is really saying is, “I’ll go along with what you’re saying, but my heart’s not in it and I don’t totally believe you.”

  • Poison phrase #3: “Whatever.” It’s a modern version of “If you say so”. And it’s a popular term when people want to blow someone off.

  • Then there’s: “What’s your problem?” This phrase insinuates that someone must have a problem that causes them to think, feel or act the way they do. It’s totally passive-aggressive. 

  • And the top offensive phrase: “Shut up.” Simply put - it’s a harsh way to silence someone, and it conveys extreme disrespect.

So to recap: The top 5 most offensive phrases are: I don’t care, if you say so, whatever, what’s your problem and shut up. Ditch these from your vocabulary and everything from your business dealings to your personal relationships will be much better.