When it comes to relationships, there are certain things one should never say. Even though in theory we should be able to say anything in front of the people we love, there’s a line that can be crossed.

Although we should tell our partners how we feel, some words do a lot more harm than good. And the men of the internet have opened up about what kinds of things they really don’t like to hear from their partners.

And of course, there are those things that men love to hear from the people they’re seeing. While society portrays men as having no feelings, the truth is that they’re humans with insecurities too, and there are lines we can say that make them feel good. These phrases also tend to have a positive effect on the rest of the relationship as they can strengthen our bond with our partners.

Not everyone is a whiz when it comes to knowing the right thing to say, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the end of the relationship! We’ve rounded up the most common things women say that scare men away, and the things that we should be saying instead.

Keep reading to find out when to hold our tongues, and when to speak up!

20Don’t Say: Shut Up

Telling a guy to shut up is a really quick way to scare him off, especially if you’re not close enough to joke with him. Although saying it once in jest when you’ve known him for a while is pretty harmless, it becomes a red flag when it becomes part of your regular conversation.

This is especially the case if you tell him to shut up in public! It’s a rude thing to say, not just to a guy but to anyone—friends, family, and colleagues included. It shows a lack of respect for his opinion and his right to say what he feels, and it’s just rude.

19Do Say: I’m Listening

The antithesis to “shut up” is “I’m listening” and this is one of the best things you can say to the guy you’re seeing. Listening is a huge part of being in a healthy relationship, and almost everyone is pleased with a partner who actually pays attention to what they have to say.

Although many people do listen to their partners, they probably don’t let them know that they are listening very often, so saying this is also a good way to pleasantly surprise him. It’s just one way to let him know that you’re playing your part in the relationship by hearing him out.

18Don’t Say: What About The Check?

Love To Know reported that one survey showed over three-quarters of people in relationships believe that men should always pay on the first date. So the chances are, if you’re on a date with a man, he will offer to pick up the check.

But asking him to pay could land you in hot water, even though most guys expect to pay anyway. It gives off the impression that you are entitled. Instead, offer to pay or split the check. And if he does offer to pay, it will win you points if you show him how grateful you are for that. Because, really, he isn’t actually obligated to pay for you.

17Do Say: Have Fun With The Boys

A common problem that men in relationships often report is being made to feel guilty when they hang out with their friends. Friendships are healthy for both men and women, and as long as both people are putting enough time into the relationship and their friends aren’t doing them any damage, they should see their friends when they want to.

Rather than making him feel guilty about catching up with his buddies, let him know that you’re totally fine with it and you’re not going to hold him back from living his life. “Have fun with the boys” will do the trick!

16Don’t Say: Man Up

There are so many problems with telling someone to “man up” that we don’t even know where to start. Firstly, it implies that men are strong and women are weak (otherwise we’d hear “woman up” in reference to growing a backbone). Secondly, it will probably make your boyfriend feel like he’s not enough of a man because you’re not happy with the way he’s doing something, which isn’t true.

Not only does it encourage unhealthy and untrue stereotypes, but it also lets him know that you’re expecting him to do better than he is when really, you should be supporting him and encouraging him.

15Do Say: I Was Wrong

Nobody loves admitting that they were wrong, but we all appreciate it when someone else can. Being able to tell your partner that you made a mistake is important because it will come up at some point over the course of the relationship. Sooner or later, you’ll mess up, and the best way to deal with that will be to tell him that you were wrong and you’re sorry.

Denying responsibility always makes things worse, while taking the blame, even if you’re not completely responsible, makes you look like a mature and emotionally intelligent person. Don’t be a doormat, but when you’re in the wrong, be honest about it.

14Don’t Say: Be More Like Her Boyfriend

It’s not fun to be compared to someone else. When you’re in a relationship with someone, try to focus on the unique bond that you have rather than what your friends have with their partners. Telling him that he should be more like your friend’s boyfriend or your sister’s boyfriend will probably make him feel inadequate rather than urge him to change his ways.

Remember that although other people’s boyfriends seem perfect to an outsider, you never know what goes on behind closed doors! Who knows, maybe you should be thanking your lucky stars that your boyfriend isn’t more like your friends’ boyfriends!

13Do Say: This Is What I Want

It’s important to always be respectful when you’re talking to your partner, but you don’t have to allow them to walk all over you. You have a right to say what you want and need from the relationship, and a partner who’s worth your time won’t make you feel guilty for speaking up.

On a smaller scale, you also shouldn’t be afraid to state your preferences when it comes to things like where you eat together and what you do on date night and what Netflix series you start watching together next. Most guys find it irritating to constantly hear, “I don’t care,” and, “You choose.” Ask and ye shall receive!

12Don’t Say: I’m Fine

Communication is one of the key factors to making any relationship work. If you don’t have a steady flow of communication between you, things aren’t likely to end well. So with that in mind, it’s obviously not a good idea to say you’re fine when you aren’t. If he’s done something to bother you, bring it up.

If you don’t think it’s worth bringing up, try to act like it’s not worth bringing up rather than acting like it’s something that’s eating you up inside. We’re all passive-aggressive sometimes, but it’s much easier for everyone if we just plainly say what’s on our minds.

11Do Say: I Had Fun Last Night

If you had fun on a date with a guy, tell him! All people—not just men—love to hear that they were a hit on a date. Even if you’ve been together for a while and you’re getting past that honeymoon stage where you compliment each other every five minutes, he’ll still really appreciate hearing that you enjoy spending time with him.

Especially as your relationship gets more comfortable, it’s important to remind him that you’re not just with him out of habit and you spend time with him because you enjoy it, not because you’re obligated to.

10Don’t Say: It’s Just A Game

Guys all over the world have revealed that this is one of the most annoying things their partner could say to them. Whether the game in question is football, baseball, basketball or something else is irrelevant—don’t tell him that it’s just a game.

For many men (and women!), sports are a passion. It might remind him of high school when he had the time of his life scoring touchdowns before he took on his 9-5 job. Whatever the reason, if it’s a passion of his, treat it like a passion. You wouldn’t want him to take something you feel strongly about so lightly, so the same applies to his interests.

9Do Say: I’m Proud To Be In This Relationship

Saying, “I’m proud to be in this relationship,” or, “I’m proud to be yours,” is certainly delivering a strong message, but it’s one your man will love to hear. It doesn’t feel good to think that your partner is embarrassed by you and is hiding you away from their family and friends for that reason, so don’t let him think it!

Instead of letting his mind wonder how you really feel, just tell him. Being proud to be with him or by his side also implies that you’re proud of him as a person, which will make him feel good. Good vibes all around!

8Don’t Say: Choose Between Family And Me

Ultimatums rarely work in a relationship. And the bond between a man and his family—particularly his mother—can be very sacred. Asking him to choose between you and his family puts him in a really difficult position, and will probably scare him off.

If you really can’t stand his family to the point where you can’t fathom communicating with them even a few times a year, that’s something you need to talk about. Perhaps the answer is that this relationship isn’t right for you. But jumping straight to the conclusion that he has to choose between them and you is unfair.

7Do Say: There’s Nothing I Would Change

We can all get a little insecure sometimes, so extra reassurance in a relationship never goes astray. Rather than pointing out all the things about him that you do want to change, let him know that there’s nothing you would change.

This isn’t about telling him that he’s perfect and he has no flaws—because without even meeting him, we can confirm that’s not true. It’s actually about accepting him for who he is and telling him that you’re okay with the things that might make him feel insecure. A line like this will help him to let his guard down and trust that you love him for who he is.

6Don’t Say: Introduce Me To That Guy

This should be obvious! Some jealousy is okay in a relationship, and can even make things exciting. But straight up asking him to introduce you to another guy that he knows is crossing the line. Unless the guy is a huge deal in your professional field or a celebrity, or there are some other circumstances that would make this a once-in-a-lifetime situation that has nothing to do with a power struggle, avoid asking this of him.

Nobody should ever feel like their partner is shopping around for something else, and that’s how you might make him feel if you ask to be introduced to another guy.

5Do Say: I’m Not Going Anywhere

Instead of making him feel like he’s about to lose you, tell him things that make him feel confident in the relationship. Something like, “I’m not going anywhere,” will let him know that your heart is in this and you see a future here. If a guy feels like a relationship is unstable and you’re about to walk out on him, he may take drastic measures that are unnecessary.

This might include breaking up with you first to save him the pain, or acting out because he’s angry at the way things are going. It never hurts to gently remind him that you will do whatever you can to make the relationship work.

4Don’t Say: I’ve Dated Better Guys

This line really takes a swing below the belt! It’s pretty easy to understand why you shouldn’t compare him to your exes. Just reverse the situation. How would you feel if he told you that he’s dated better girls before? It doesn’t feel good and has no place in a relationship that’s moving forward!

It’s also not a good idea to say similar things, like, “My ex could do this better than you,” or, “That looked really good when my ex wore it, but not so much on you.” This is especially true if you’re talking about your time together in private… never, ever say it!

3Do Say: Well Done

Contrary to what you may have been told, men aren’t made of stone. They do have feelings and they like to be complimented just like everybody else. Rather than focusing on what he’s not good at, instead make sure to point out the things that he does do well.

This could be anything from the achievements he’s accomplished at work or the way he handled a social situation. Don’t be afraid to tell him that he looks good or that you love the dinner he made you, either. Complimenting him will encourage him to keep up the behavior that you do appreciate.

2Don’t Say: Is She Pretty?

Many men have a problem with their partners asking them whether they find another person attractive. It basically puts him in an awkward position. If he says she is pretty, that’s obviously not going to make you feel great, and it will probably make him feel guilty for saying it.

But at the same time, if he says she’s not pretty, you might just assume he’s lying to you in order to spare your feelings. Either way, there’s no good that can come of this question. This is a good way to start a meaningless fight and to scare him off.

1Do Say: I Appreciate This

Don’t forget to let him know that you appreciate the little things he does for you. That includes remembering what you like to order at a certain restaurant, or walking you to your door, or bringing you flowers, or making you a cup of tea when you don’t feel well.

If you want him to feel good about himself and keep doing things like this, tell him that you appreciate him. It might also encourage him to appreciate you more. People who feel unappreciated in a relationship can end up growing resentful of their partners, and it’s so easily avoidable. Keep the gratitude flowing!

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