What Not to Say to Someone with OCD

What Not to Say to Someone with OCD:15 Must Knows!

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a complex and often misunderstood mental health condition.

For those living with OCD, casual comments can sometimes come across as dismissive or hurtful, even when not intended that way.

In our article “What Not to Say to Someone with OCD”, we shed light on certain phrases that can be particularly sensitive, aiming to foster understanding and support for individuals with this condition.


15 Things You Should Never Say to Someone with OCD

“You’re just being picky.”

Why: This minimizes their experience, making it seem like a choice rather than a real, uncontrollable compulsion.

“I’m so OCD about that too!”

Why: Casual use of “OCD” trivializes the condition and turns it into a quirky personality trait rather than recognizing it as a serious disorder.

“Just stop thinking about it.”

Why: If they could, they would. Such statements show a lack of understanding about the nature of the disorder.

“Why can’t you just relax?”

Why: This can make the individual feel more isolated, suggesting their concerns are simply overreactions rather than manifestations of their disorder.

“It’s all in your head.”

Why: While meant as reassurance, it can come off as dismissive and invalidating their genuine struggles.

“Everyone has something they’re obsessive about.”

Why: This equates everyday quirks or habits with a clinical disorder, undermining the severity of OCD.

“You don’t look like you have OCD.”

Why: OCD doesn’t have a “look”. This statement perpetuates stereotypes and invalidates their experience.

“Just try to be normal for a day.”

Why: This implies that they can control their symptoms and that they’re choosing not to.

Related content:
50+ Theater Quotes for Good Luck!
Farewell Emails to Colleagues Examples & Templates

“How bad can it really be?”

Why: This downplays their daily challenges and might make them hesitant to share their experiences.

“But everything seems fine.”

Why: OCD is an internal battle, and assuming someone’s okay based on external appearances can be hurtful.

“You just need to be stronger.”

Why: This suggests that their OCD is a result of personal weakness rather than understanding it as a genuine mental health disorder.

“It’s just a phase.”

Why: This assumes the condition is temporary, which can be invalidating to someone who has struggled with it for years.

“There are people with real problems out there.”

Why: Comparing struggles dismisses the person’s pain and challenges, making them feel their problems are insignificant.

“Have you tried NOT doing the rituals?”

Why: This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the compulsions that come with OCD and can make the individual feel more isolated.

“It’ll get better if you just don’t think about it.”

Why: Oversimplifying the disorder this way can make the person with OCD feel misunderstood and alone in their struggles.

Why Someone with Ocd Might Be Sensitive to What You Say to Them

Individuals with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) often face a series of unique challenges that can make them particularly sensitive to comments, even when those remarks are not meant to be harmful or dismissive.

Here are reasons why someone with OCD may be sensitive to things said to them:

Misunderstanding of the Condition: OCD is frequently misunderstood by the general public. The media and casual conversations often misrepresent or oversimplify the disorder, leading to misconceptions. Comments based on these misconceptions can be hurtful because they show a lack of genuine understanding.

Internal Struggle: Many individuals with OCD are acutely aware of the irrationality of their obsessions and compulsions. Despite this awareness, they might still feel compelled to act on them. Comments that highlight or trivialize this internal struggle can be especially painful.

Stigma of Mental Health: Like many other mental health conditions, OCD carries a certain societal stigma. People with OCD may already feel judged or “different,” so insensitive comments can exacerbate these feelings of isolation or shame.

Efforts to Mask Symptoms: Many individuals with OCD make concerted efforts to hide their symptoms from others, fearing judgment or ridicule. Comments that directly or indirectly point out their behaviors can feel like a violation of their privacy or like their efforts to cope are being spotlighted.

Emotional Exhaustion: Continually managing and battling the intrusive thoughts and compulsions associated with OCD can be emotionally draining. This heightened state of emotional tension can make individuals more susceptible to feeling hurt by seemingly benign remarks.

Fear of Judgment: People with OCD might already have an internalized fear of being seen as “crazy” or “abnormal.” Any comments that even subtly hint at this can be deeply unsettling.

Desire for Normalcy: Like anyone else, individuals with OCD want to feel accepted and understood. Any remarks that set them apart or label them can be distressing.

The Personal Nature of Obsessions/Compulsions: The topics of one’s obsessions or the nature of one’s compulsions can be incredibly personal and sensitive. Commenting on them can be akin to pointing out someone’s most private fears or insecurities.

Recognizing the depth and complexity of OCD can help people approach the topic with more empathy and understanding. Respectful and supportive dialogue can make a significant difference to someone living with the disorder.


Being empathetic and informed is crucial when communicating with someone with OCD.

Just like any other medical condition, it requires understanding, patience, and sensitivity. Misunderstandings or casual remarks can exacerbate feelings of isolation and confusion.

By being aware of potentially hurtful phrases and striving for genuine support, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of those living with OCD.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content