Excel At Life--Dedicated to the Pursuit of Excellence in Life, Relationships, Sports and Career
CBT Jealousy Depression Relationships Conflict Self-efficacy Happiness Goal-setting Motivation Wellness Sport Psych

Popular Articles

Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Happiness is An Attitude

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?

Popular Audios

Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

Mindfulness Training

Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles

PsychNotes Index

More PsychNotes: Communication

June 27, 2016       

Assertion 101: You Have the Right to Say “I Don't Care”
by Monica A. Frank, PhD

Sometimes saying “I don't care” is harder for people than saying “No.” Yet, have you ever thought “I don't care” but acted in ways to show you do care? In other words, have you ignored what you wanted to prevent conflict or to not hurt someone's feelings?

“I don't care” is usually about shoulds or demands. Someone expects you to care about something:

“You should lose weight.”

“You shouldn't spend so much time on social media.”

“You should care about what happens in national politics.”

“You should have children.”

“You should listen when others talk.”

“You should go to church.”

I'm not saying whether these “shoulds” are right or wrong, good or bad, polite or not. It is just that people have different things they care about. You have the right to choose when and how you care. And if you don't care about something, you have the right to say so.

However, an important premise of assertive communication is to state your feelings or needs without unnecessarily causing harm to the other person. The word “unnecessarily” is important here because some people feel harmed just because you deny them what they want or you disagree them. No matter how you say it, they feel harmed or violated. That is not your responsibility.

Depending upon your relationship with the other person and whether you care about the future of the relationship, there are different ways to say “I don't care.”

For instance, if someone says “You should visit your grandmother” and you say “I don't care” it may affect your relationship with your grandmother. If you truly don't care because she has seriously mistreated you, then it may not matter.

However, if you care about the person but are not interested in changing your behavior to suit them, you may choose to say “I don't care” in less offensive ways:

“That doesn't interest me.”

“I understand that's important to you but it's not important to me.”

“I'm not really into that.”

“That's not my choice.”

The bottom line, though, is you don't have to live your life according to others' dictates. You can let them know that you don't care about the same things they do. And you don't have to explain yourself if you don't care to.

Kindle Books by
Dr. Monica Frank

Recent Articles

Analyzing Your Moods, Symptoms, and Events with Excel At Life's Mood Log

Why You Get Anxious When You Don't Want To

Why People Feel Grief at the Loss of an Abusive Spouse or Parent

“Are You Depressed?”: Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment

15 Coping Statements for Panic and Anxiety

Beyond Tolerating Emotions: Becoming Comfortable with Discomfort

Emotion Training: What is it and How Does it Work?

How You Can Be More Resistant to Workplace Bullying

Are You Passive Aggressive and Want to Change?

When Your Loved One Refuses Help

Newest Audios

Building Blocks Emotion Training

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

Panic Assistance While Driving

Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

Mindfulness Training