Whether it's your partner, best friend, neighbor down the street, or the barista at your favorite local coffee shop, you're probably not intending for them to take the off-handed and unassuming comments you make as a personal dig. However, there are plenty of things that you likely say all the time without thinking about how they might be interpreted by those hearing them. And it's not because you're being thoughtless, it's just because they don't seem like a big deal to you. That's why it's important for you to know about the off-handed comments your partner is likely taking personally, because probably one of the very last people you'd want to consistently offend without realizing it is the person that you love most.
As it turns out, however, it might not be all that easy to always avoid saying something that your partner might take personally because, as Rachel Wright, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Romper in an email exchange, there's the potential that they could take nearly anything personally without you knowing that they did.
"It’s normal in our society to think things are about us," Wright says. "When our partner says something — especially negative — it’s totally natural to wonder how that applies to you or even jump to it being about you."
Preventing yourself from falling into this trap on a regular basis is all about paying attention: to what you're saying, how you're saying it, and how your partner responds.
"We can prevent this by being mindful about how what our partners tell us makes us feel. This will prepare us for a better response," Catharine Swain, a marriage and family therapist, tells Romper by email. "We can also be mindful about what we are saying to our partner and how they usually react to it. It is also helpful to understand how best our partner communicates so that there isn't confusion."
Knowing with what sorts of subjects you might want to tread lightly, however, can give you a good jumping off point.