9 Phrases That Train Others to Treat You Well, According to Psychologists

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Everyone deserves to be treated well, even if your self-esteem or inner critic tells you otherwise. Whether you’re in a relationship with a partner who, at times, doesn’t make you feel like the best version of yourself, dealing with a family member who consistently puts you down or have a friend who (perhaps unknowingly) criticizes you, you can make your worth known to them.

Maybe the relationship has some good traits that warrant a bit of work, or perhaps this person puts you down too much and it’s time to move on. Either way, there are some phrases that train others to treat you well recommended by psychologists that can improve a relationship or test the waters and make you realize that it’s not a connection worth continuing.

What Are Some Reasons for Wanting To Be Treated Well?

Dr. Heidi Cox, licensed clinical psychologist and founder & director of The Centered Space Psychology Group, says, “Sometimes, relationships can get into a rut or feel like there is more conflict than relationship repair, which is why we all need to have phrases we can use to get things back on track.”

She says that often, people want to know what the trick is to get others to be nice to them, and it all goes back to the “golden rule.”

“It’s easy,” Dr. Cox says. “Just treat them the way you want to be treated. Set the tone of how you wish to be treated and they will likely follow.”

Some relationships are worth the extra work and care to reach a point where you can truly be kind and supportive of one another. As Dr. Cox says, research shows that people who have good relationships have less stressful lives, live longer and live healthier, more purpose-driven lives.

But perhaps a relationship isn’t worth saving. In this case, this person may continually use “demeaning language” when speaking, as psychologist Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein points out.

“Your relationship may be unsalvageable if you are consistently dismissed or demeaned by your partner,” Dr. Cox says. “If you are clear with your needs and lead by example, and they consistently don’t listen or make an effort, then it may not be worth investing in. If you aren’t getting back at least some effort, or acknowledgment that the other person wants to change, that is not a good sign.”

This could be a signal to seek professional help (i.e. couple’s counseling) or to end the relationship altogether.

But if you feel that the relationship can get back on course, Dr. Cox recommends showing up for yourself by stating your needs and telling your partner what you want. 

“They won’t always be able to give it to you, but they should be able to listen, and hopefully move in the right direction,” Dr. Cox says.

Related: Want to Display Your Active Listening Skills? Try Using These 33 Powerful Phrases

9 Phrases That Train Others to Treat You Well, According to Psychologists

1. “I appreciate how you did _____.”

Dr. Cox says that the more we appreciate our relationships, the more we create an environment that is collaborative and gracious to one another. She notes that a simple “thank you” works as well—but be specific about what you are thanking them for.

2. “How are you, really?”

“Checking in on your partner is an important way of connecting meaningfully,” Dr. Cox says. “This isn’t just a checking where you answer, ‘Fine.’ This is a look-them-in-the-eye and signal that you have time and interest to hear about their day, and expect them to show you the same interest.”

Related: 11 Best Phrases to End a Phone Call, According to Psychotherapists—Plus, What *Not* To Do

3. “Please tell me three ways you were helpful to others this week.”

Dr. Becker Holstein says that this phrase makes it clear that you are searching for and expecting positive traits in the other person.

4. “Let me show you how I like to do ____.”

Dr. Cox says that this phrase is another instance of leading by example when something is important to you.

“This phrase accompanies the visual of you showing the person the way you like something done. We are visual people, so it will have a big impact,” she says.

5. “I’d like to share what I need.”

Be straightforward and specific with the other person when it comes to telling them what you need. Dr. Cox says that one phrase example of this is, “I need to prioritize rest/exercise/solo time.”

“Every person has needs, and when we are in touch with our needs, we can replenish ourselves, making us, in turn, better to be with in a relationship,” she says. “By treating yourself well, you are showing others how you like to be treated.”

Related: 35 Powerful Phrases When You Need Emotional and Spiritual Repair and Relief

6. “Please refer to me as ____.”

As Dr. Becker Holstein shares, don’t be shy when it comes to stating how you’d like someone to refer to you. This likely applies to acquaintances, new friends and work colleagues. For instance, you may want someone to refer to you as “Dr.,” or you can share your preferred pronouns with someone.

Dr. Becker Holstein says that this can help the other person know that you have status and a title.

7. “I’m sorry I did that/that happened.”

“Honestly and genuinely apologizing shows that you are willing to take accountability for your behaviors, and it is a critical part of repairing the relationship after a conflict,” Dr. Cox says.

8. “So glad to see you! I've missed you.”

As we’ve mentioned, to train someone to treat you well, you need to lead by example. This warm phrase shared by Dr. Becker Holstein says that it makes it clear that you’re someone who should be handled kindly and not be put down.

And of course, only use this phrase if you really did miss the other person. Being less than genuine isn’t the best foundation if you’re aiming for someone to treat you better.

9. “That doesn’t feel good.”

“Tell them when you aren’t happy,” Dr. Cox says. Examples of this can include, “That doesn’t feel good” or “I don’t like it when you do that.” 

“Healthy relationships have the honesty and clarity of communication to explain what they don’t like,” Dr. Cox observes. “You should be able to calmly acknowledge this without your partner taking offense. It’s a learning opportunity!”

Next up, discover 35 phrases to set boundaries firmly and fairly.