5 Expressions We Shouldn't Use

Times change and analyzes of language and its implications have helped us understand that there are concepts that are better to avoid, out of respect for others and for oneself.
5 Expressions We Shouldn't Use
Sergio De Dios González

Written and verified by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Last update: 29 November, 2023

Some expressions are designed for hate. They’re words or statements people almost always use in moments of anger, or with an intention to destroy. 
The worst part is that a lot of time they do. They hurt, scar, and wreck people. And the person saying them is almost always a person with a false sense of authority.

No matter how big a disagreement you’re having with someone, there are expressions we should never use. Why? They’re violent messages.

We’re not talking about aggressiveness born out of healthy contradictions or differences. No, what we’re talking about are violent acts that just breed more violence and destruction.

It is possible to achieve something with three hours of fighting. But it is certain it could have been gotten with three words full of affection.


It’s advisable for anyone using these expressions to reflect on whatever it is that motivates them to use them. There’s more than just anger behind them.

One thing we know for sure is that we’ll win when we get rid of these words. Coming up we’ll show you five expressions we shouldn’t use. Let’s throw them away altogether.

Idiot… and Its Synonyms

We’d do well to stop calling people “idiots,” or “stupid,” or “slow,” or any of their 10 million synonyms. 

They’re insulting words when we say them outside of a relaxed, joking context. And especially when we say them angrily or with a derogatory tone.

a man carrying two big sacks smoking a pipe

It’s an offense we direct at a person’s very essence. It qualifies, or actually disqualifies, their mental capacity. In that sense, these labels go way beyond the limits of criticism

We should never use these expressions on anyone, because no one deserves them.


It’s one of the most widely used expressions. Especially since movies started using the word “loser” as their favorite insult. In highly competitive, consumerist societies, success has very specific boundaries and a very narrow meaning.

A less close-minded perspective will help us realize that this label rarely, if ever, makes sense. Times of gain alternate with times of loss. We all evolve, and we also all fall sometimes. No one is absolutely a loser, just like nobody is universally successful. 

But putting these kinds of labels on other people has one very specific purpose. Its goal is to mark them with a label that will strip them of their personal and societal value.

You’re Useless

This kind of expression becomes genuinely violent when someone expresses it from a position of power. It’s true whether they’re a father, a teacher, a politician, etc.

These are the conditions where they reveal their greatest destructive power. However, it’s deplorable for a human being to refer to another in these terms in any circumstance.

expressions that attack a person

Qualifying someone as “useless” means putting all their actions in doubt. It’s an absolutist qualification. It’s trying to say something universal about that person. 

And it’s meant to destroy them, make them disappear into a category of human values. There is no constructive way of using this word with another person.

You Can’t or You Won’t Be Able To

This is another one of those definitive expressions. One that’s not just deeply offensive, but also totally untrue. Who has the “crystal ball” to determine that someone can’t, or won’t be able to do something?

History is full of people who were told “you can’t,” and then proved them wrong.

What we don’t know is how many attempts were thwarted by words like these. Human beings are ever-changing and our lives are dynamic.

What I couldn’t do today, maybe it’ll be really easy to do tomorrow. On the other hand, no one has the right to say to someone else that this won’t be true.

Weird or Strange

It’s one of the meanest expressions because it’s not even a direct insult. Someone is “weird,” or “strange,” compared to what?

What’s the framework we’re using to define someone as different from it? In the end, what’s so bad about being “weird?” What’s the problem with being that way?

a fantasy piece of art

These kinds of expressions try to eat away at the person’s dignity. Weirdness is, in fact, a virtue. Isn’t the rare more valuable than the everyday? So, the problem isn’t with being different.

People use these words to mark and exclude.  To make the other person feel “outside” the norm, or of what’s acceptable. 

If you’re someone who has uncontrollable bursts of anger, you need figure out what’s happening. Remember that words, once spoken, can’t be taken back. And, repairing the damage they left in their wake might end up being a mission impossible. 

Destructive expressions might lead to more serious conflicts that are even harder to resolve.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.