Remember that saying “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”? Well when it comes to a certain type of woman, the strong and confident woman especially, that saying does not apply. In that case, it IS what you say that counts. Below are 10 phrases that will most likely escalate things pretty quickly when speaking to a strong and confident woman.

1. “You can’t.”

There’s nothing strong women love more than proving people wrong. If a woman wants something, she’ll go after it, despite the opinions of others. Telling her “you can’t” will only show her that you don’t believe in her.

2. “Calm down.”

If a woman is fired up about something, there’s a good reason. It’s not because she can’t control her emotions. It’s because she’s passionate. Telling her to “calm down” will only ignite the fire under her and show her that you don’t understand her at all.

3. “You don’t need that.”

Although want is different than need, who are you to tell a woman the difference? A woman has the right to buy something that she wants, just because she wants it. Let her enjoy things that make her happy, instead of using this phrase to bring her down.

4. “Why can’t you be more like…”

Using this phrase is shaming a woman for who she is. You’re letting her know you aren’t happy with a part of her, whether its her appearance, her personality or her opinions. If you say this to a strong woman, don’t expect her to stick around.

5. “That’s pretty impressive for a woman.”

This one starts out as a compliment, then quickly takes a downhill turn. Contrary to old opinion, women are not a “weaker sex.” If you’re impressed by something a woman says or does, use this phrase, but stop at “impressive.”

6. “Of course you got the job, the boss is a man.”

Women serve in the military. There are women who are astronauts, pilots, mechanics, and bodybuilders. They work in every profession you can think of. When a woman lands a good job, it’s because she’s hardworking, intelligent, persistent and fully capable.

7. “Lighten up.”

If a woman is serious about something, do not, under any circumstances, tell her to “lighten up.” A strong woman knows her morals, boundaries and beliefs, and if you test them, she’ll make you wish you didn’t.

8. “Are you on your period?”

Just because a woman is showing emotion, it doesn’t automatically mean Aunt Flo is in town. Suggesting that a woman is on her period because she has feelings is an old and tired stereotype that women won’t tolerate.

9. “Women have it easier”

There are plenty of pros and cons to being female, but chances are, if you’re a male, you don’t recognize all of the hardships women often face. Everyone has their own struggles in life, regardless of gender, so assuming someone else has it easier says more about you than the other person.

10. “You’re being bossy”

Why is it that women often get called “bossy” for confidently doing their job or running a household? If a woman is being “bossy” around you, it’s because she’s on a mission to get things done. The word “bossy” has a negative connotation. If you use it, you’re only trying to bring someone else down.