Focus on the message, not the exact choice of words.

Many times, the message gets lost in the choice of words or body language or other non verbals. The message itself can be rather innocuous or innocent. But the words used are not quite sensitive. Or the timing is off.

Don’t throw out the message because it wasn’t packaged in the best way. Mostly, people are not maliciously trying to be mean. They just may not have an expansive or nuanced vocabulary. They may be more blunt than you are used to. It may be a gender thing, or cultural thing, or personality thing.

Listen in for the real message. Later, you can talk about how you would have preferred to hear the message.


If you find that your spouse is overreacting to your well meaning message, examine your words. It may be that your words are not sensitive enough. Even if you wouldn’t care if the message is said to you in that way, obviously, it does bother your spouse. Work to figure out a better way to say what you mean.

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