We’ve all said things that people interpreted much differently than we thought they would. These seemingly benign comments lead to the awful feeling that only comes when you’ve planted your foot firmly into your mouth.

Verbal slip-ups often occur because we say things without knowledge of the subtle implications they carry. Understanding these implications requires social awareness—the ability to pick up on the emotions and experiences of other people.

TalentSmart has tested the emotional intelligence (EQ) of more than a million people and discovered that social awareness is a skill in which many of us are lacking.

We lack social awareness because we’re so focused on what we’re going to say next—and how what other people are saying affects us—that we completely lose sight of other people.

This is a problem because people are complicated. You can’t hope to understand someone until you focus all of your attention in his or her direction.

The beauty of social awareness is that a few simple adjustments to what you say can vastly improve your relationships with other people.

To that end, there are some phrases that emotionally intelligent people are careful to avoid in casual conversation. The following phrases are nine of the worst offenders. You should avoid them at all costs.

1. “You look tired.”

Tired people are incredibly unappealing—they have droopy eyes and messy hair, they have trouble concentrating, and they’re as grouchy as they come. Telling someone he looks tired implies all of the above and then some.

Instead say: “Is everything okay?” Most people ask if someone is tired because they’re intending to be helpful (they want to know if the other person is okay). Instead of assuming someone’s disposition, just ask. This way, he can open up and share. More importantly, he will see you as concerned instead of rude.

2. “Wow, you’ve lost a ton of weight!”

Once again, a well-meaning comment—in this case a compliment—creates