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How to Respond When Someone Says "I Hate You"

Alexis is a relationship expert. She wants to help you solve your minor social qualms!

I hate you.

I hate you.

There is nothing we can say to each other that can't be misconstrued as hurtful or unkind. Words, when used properly, can express our innermost desires, our feelings, or our intentions, which is why we must remember to understand what we are trying to say before we say it. We must realize that other people are really listening to our words while we may not be ourselves.

When you say, "I hate you," ask yourself why you are saying it. Do you want to say something that will hurt another person, or are you just angry at the circumstances that surround your hatred?

When someone else says those hurtful words to you, you must ask yourself the same questions. Put yourself in the other person's shoes. The best thing you can do in the instant that your boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, or family member says those words to you is to remain calm and level-headed. Perhaps on the inside, you are burning with anger or ready to cry, but you cannot allow yourself to be visibly affected by their words. If they see that you are unaffected, they are less likely to try it again.

A Toleration System for Hurtful Words

I have developed a system for tolerating mean words that, if followed correctly, will get you through this painful encounter with less damage to the relationship.

Don't Show Your Feelings

The more you consider yourself a victim of another person's words, the more likely you will be treated as the victim by those around you. As in all social situations, confidence is the central theme we should take into consideration. Pretending you are unaffected often leads to actually feeling unaffected in the long run if you do it consistently.

Treating another's words as the wind on your back will show that you aren't going to tolerate such childish behavior. You are better than the victim, and you respect yourself enough not to cry in front of this person. Don't give them that satisfaction. You are better than that. Be strong.


You are in a hallway at school, waiting for the day to begin. Your girlfriend sees you talking to a group of your friends, which includes a girl that your girlfriend doesn't like. She is part of your friendship circle, but your girlfriend doesn't want you hanging out with her. Though you've explained to her that you can't just ask her to leave or abandon your friends, but she continues to get mad about it.

She pulls you away from your friends and yells, "Why are you still hanging out with her? You don't respect me! I hate you!"

A few passersby look over in your direction as your girlfriend crosses her arms and viciously whispers, "I hate you," once again.

You blink a couple of times and take a deep breathe. Your face is unchanged, and because your girlfriend sees that you aren't going to respond, she storms off.

Now what? You like being with your girlfriend when she isn't like this, but when she is, you find her behavior to be inexcusable. You've followed the first rule, but now you must properly act on your behavior to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

Consider Why Someone Is Saying These Words

This is an excellent moment to see if you can put yourself in someone else's shoes. It's much easier to tell someone else to do this than to do it when it directly affects you, so you really must push yourself to understand the reasons behind the actions.

You think about why your girlfriend is mad at you. You ask yourself what kind of relationship your friend and your girlfriend have. Your girlfriend might harbor jealousy against your friend. She thinks you might start liking your friend better, and you won't want to hang out anymore. You think you have a good understanding of what is going on, but you can't fully understand until you go and ask your girlfriend what is on her mind.

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Talk About It Together

Now is one of the most difficult parts of the process. You have to find your partner or friend, ask them why they are angry, and share how you feel about the situation. At first, they may resist, but it is important to keep a level head about the situation.

You approach your girlfriend. She won't look at you, but she knows you are there.

"[Name], I don't understand what I did wrong. You know I can't just ask her to go away. I don't want to be rude," you say to your girlfriend.

She frowns, and responds, "Well, I just don't like her. Why don't you respect me enough to stop hanging out with her?"

"It is unfair of you to ask me to stop being friends with someone. I won't like you any less because I hang out with other girls. I want to be with you."

She doesn't answer.

Ask Yourself if You Still Want to Be With This Person

What happens when things don't go well, even if you have tried to reason with your partner? You want things to be okay, but they refuse to cooperate. This situation could still happen again. Do you want to forget about the fight, or can you walk away?

When someone wrongs you, there is still a chance to start over. You have to make a decision that may be painful, but remember that, if you decide to stay, you may end up doing more harm for yourself than good. Not all relationships are meant to be, even if you can't imagine yourself without this person.

Respect yourself enough to know when to say goodbye.

Don't let anyone think they can hurt or judge you.

Don't let anyone think they can hurt or judge you.

The Toleration System Recap

  • Don't Show Your Feelings
  • Consider Why Someone is Saying These Words
  • Talk About It Together
  • Ask Yourself if You Still Want to Be With This Person

Moving On From Hurt

Maybe you've chosen to stay with this person. Or maybe not. The important thing to know is not to let this get to you. Never apologize if you did nothing wrong. And if you did do something to provoke this, make sure you let the person know that you really understand why he/she said, "I hate you," and that you will work out the problem with him/her.

Make sure not to reciprocate the same anger that they showed to you. Follow the Golden Rule, the toleration system, and your heart/head, and never say, "I hate you," in response to something someone does to you.

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