Never in the entire history of the world has anyone been told to chill out and had that “advice” actually chill them out. And we get it: Being told to calm down is bullsh*t. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you do, you will inevitably be told to chill out at some point, even when the reason why you’re worked up is completely valid.
And sometimes even we are guilty of saying it to people we love.
Of course, men so often tell women to calm down, which is the most infuriating thing ever. But you might have caught yourself at some point telling a friend, significant other, and especially your parents to “calm down.” Although we also agree that you totally should not have been grounded that one time, no matter who says it, being told to calm down is the worst.
Here are some reasons we really need to erase “calm down” from our vocab.
1It is often gendered.
When was the last time you heard someone tell a man to calm down in broad daylight? Two dudes could be starting a brawl in a club and even the bouncer will tell them to “take it outside” instead of encouraging a level of calm. It’s kind of sexist — especially since women are told to calm down for both small and big things. Like, when we’re anxious about work, someone will invariably tell us to calm down. And when we report sexual harassment, we’re also told to calm down.
2You have every right to speak up.
Being told to calm down is a way to shut someone up sometimes. Whether it’s about something gross your boss said to you or you’re peeved at your roommates for not ever doing their dishes, being told to calm down implies that you don’t have a point. In both big and small, your feelings (and feelings about your feelings) are valid.
3Sometimes people can’t help it.
People with anxiety are not always able to chill. It’s literally impossible sometimes. So when your friend is flipping her lid about being late for something or not getting a text back in 2.5 minutes, don’t tell her to “calm down.” There are ways to reassure them that all will be well without making their anxiety worse.
4It’s really condescending.
Uh, because if someone with anxiety or an actual issue they’re “freaking out” about, being told to calm down implies that it’s their fault they feel that way or that they’re totally out of line for speaking up or being upset. It’s like you’re being told that you can’t control your feelings, when you totally can. That’s exactly why you’re trying to process them and figure them out.
5It will almost guarentee the opposite of calming down.
Again, no one has ever actually calmed down when they were told to for all of these reasons. It’s awful to be told your feelings are wrong, or feel judged and not heard. So if you really want someone to take a deep breath and find their chill, find a work around instead of commanding them to act in a specific way. No one likes to be told what to do.
6You’re not being heard.
If someone’s first response is “calm down,” it’s like they’re telling you to shut up. When you tell your mom or your S.O. to calm down, you might not be thinking about where they’re coming from or what your deal is. When you’re told to calm down, that crappy feeling in your stomach is the realization that no one is listening or cares what you’re saying. Even if it’s not that extreme IRL, it sure feels that way. Being told to calm down is the worst thing you can hear when you’re actually upset. Let’s be the change we want to see in the world and end this madness.