Most people try to avoid conflict at work—especially while broaching a touchy subject with colleagues. According to Harvard Business Review, a recent survey of nearly 1100 individuals found that around 66 percent of workers want to make the other person feel comfortable during tough chats. However, these diplomatic intentions can be soured by poorly phrased or negative comments, uttered in moments of stress, anger, or sheer carelessness.

To keep awkward office discussions honest yet positive, steer clear of the 12 phrases below. They may seem innocuous at surface level, but the subtext indicates that you’re not a team player.

For example, expressions like "I’m sorry, but," "I just assumed that," and "There's nothing I can do" sound defensive, making it seem like you’re unwilling to accept constructive criticism or acknowledge any need for improvement. "You should have," "That makes no sense," and "You’re wrong" are accusatory and dismissive, and can alienate others from sharing their opinions or seeking feedback. And phrases like "That’s not my problem" or "But we’ve always done it that way" suggest that you’re willing to only do the bare minimum, and don't want to take extra initiative. None of these attitudes are suitable for an office environment, especially one that prizes collaboration, accountability, and hard work.

Still struggling to find the right words to express yourself? Opt for one of the tactful alternatives supplied by loan provider Headway Capital: