Have you ever had a situation where you ended up saying something that you didn’t necessarily mean? If yes, then you are not alone. It happens to almost everyone. However, if this happens regularly, it can harm our relationships over time. But the good news is that we can overcome this habit. In this article, we’ll explore why people end up saying things that they don’t mean and also look at a few ways to overcome this issue

Human communication is complex and depends on various factors, such as our thoughts, feelings and experiences. Thus, there can be multiple reasons why we end up saying things that we don’t mean. Some of them are:

  • Emotional Reaction

One of the most common reasons why we might end up saying something that we don’t mean is due to intense emotions. When we experience intense emotions such as anger, frustration or extreme sadness, they can temporarily impair parts of our brain involved in rational thinking and decision-making, leading to impulsive reactions and words as opposed to a well-thought response. Similarly, the inability to regulate or manage difficult emotions can lead us to say something that we don’t mean.

  • Lack of Communication Skills

Communication depends on various factors, such as choice of words, body language, tone of voice, etc. Thus, communication skills are important for expressing ourselves effectively. However, when communication skills are limited, expressing thoughts accurately becomes challenging, resulting in misinterpretations or unclear messages. This can lead us to say things we genuinely don’t mean.

  • Fear

Fear, like anger, is an intense emotion that can cause impulsive reactions. Intense fear can impair parts of the brain involved in rational thinking and decision-making, leading us to say things that we don’t mean. Similar things can happen when we are under pressure or experiencing some form of stress. 

  • Childhood Influences

Much of our personality and the way we act come from our childhood influences. When a child grows up in an environment where they aren’t taught to maintain appropriate boundaries while speaking, they might struggle to regulate their words and end up saying things that they don’t mean as adults. 

  • Other Reasons

In addition to the reasons we talked about earlier, some people say things they don’t mean because they want to fit in and be part of a group or if they struggle with impulsivity or impulse control. It can sometimes also be a result of underlying unconscious processes.

How To Overcome the Habit of Saying What You Don’t Mean?

Overcoming the habit of saying what we don’t mean can be difficult;, however, we can overcome this challenge with practice. Some ways to deal with this habit are:

  • Reflect on what situations cause you to say things that you don’t mean. This will help you understand how this habit is impacting your life currently. When you understand what is causing your struggles, you will be in a better position to deal with it.

  • Take accountability, acknowledge that you have said something you didn’t want or meant to say, and apologize if required.

  • Make a plan about what you are going to say before going into any difficult conversations. This will reduce the likelihood of you saying something that you don’t mean. Also, decide what you will do if you start saying something that you don’t mean

  • Focus on developing emotional regulation skills. Emotional regulation skills will help you manage intense emotions in healthier ways, reducing the likelihood of you saying something you don’t mean due to an emotional reaction.

  • If you see this habit impacting your life and relationships significantly, consider consulting a trained therapist. A therapist will help you identify the root cause behind this habit while also helping you develop skills to overcome it


It is common for people to say things that they don’t mean, especially when they are intensely emotional. However, it can hurt our relationships if it becomes a habit. One can overcome this habit by using strategies such as increasing self-awareness, taking pauses before speaking, and developing emotional regulation skills.


  1. 7 Reasons You Say Things You Don’t Mean (+ How To Stop). (n.d.). Retrieved February 9, 2024, from https://www.aconsciousrethink.com/20793/saying-things-you-dont-mean/
  2. 10 Reasons You Say Things You Don’t Mean (And How To Stop). (n.d.). Retrieved February 9, 2024, from https://www.bolde.com/10-reasons-you-say-things-you-dont-mean-and-how-to-stop/
  3. The Psychology Behind Saying Hurtful Things We Don’t Mean. (n.d.). Retrieved February 9, 2024, from https://www.theswaddle.com/the-psychology-behind-saying-hurtful-things-we-dont-mean
Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin