9 Extraordinary Problem Solving Phrases You Can Use


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It’s important that you always try to resolve problems when they arise! Problems are made to be solved and we want to help you do that.

The great news is that there are so many words you can use to make things better.

We have a few useful phrases to help you resolve problems:

Let’s get started!

Let’s put it to bed

This phrase is a very good one to settle a problem once and for all.

When someone is apologising to you about something that has happened and you want to avoid the awkwardness of discussing the details, you can stop them and say Let’s put it to bed.

Look at the example:

Alan: John, could I talk to you for a second?

John: Yeah, Alan, what’s up?

Alan: Well, I just wanted to apologise. I really didn’t mean to shout at you yesterday in the meeting. I was very frustrated and I felt so angry with everyone.

John: Alan, don’t worry, let’s put it this one to bed. I was surprised that you shouted but now I understand you were under a lot of pressure.

Alan: Thanks John, I appreciate your understanding.

Problem solved!

If you think about what the phrase literally means, you can see that putting a problem to bed means to calm everything down and let it sleep. This is a predominantly British phrase that is used in professional environments as well as social environments.

Let’s put it behind us

A very similar one, to put something behind you is a little more decisive than to put something to bed but it is used in similar situations.

This is another phrase used to avoid discussion and getting into detail about problems or grievances.

To put something behind you is to say that you will not talk about the problem anymore, you will leave it in the past and move forward with life.


Joe: Tim, I can’t stop thinking about how angry you were with me earlier, I think we need to talk.

Tim: Yeah, I was angry, I just felt that you were being really unfair. We all wanted to play football and you were the only one who wanted to play rugby. You were being selfish.

Joe: Yes, I know, I see now that I was being unreasonable.

Tim: That’s all I wanted to hear.

Joe: Great. Now can we put this behind us and be friends again?

Tim: Of course, my friend, no problem.

As you can see in the example, this can be an offering of peace as well as a general expression. In the example, Joe used this expression in a questioning way which Tim was free to accept or reject. If Tim had said No, we can’t just put this behind us it would have been much more serious.

It’s lucky that Tim was ready to resolve the problem!  

More for you:
What is the difference between “issue” and “problem
Other Ways To Say NO PROBLEM

Let’s not cry over spilled milk

This is a very British phrase used to talk about a small problem that has been made into a big deal.

If you imagine spilling milk, it’s not that serious! It won’t kill you.  All you have to do is clear it up and the problem is solved.

Other ways to say this include:

  • Let’s not make a big deal out of it. (more American)
  • Let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill.

This is a very funny phrase to look at, but there are also serious undertones! If you use this in the wrong situation then people will get very, very offended.

Look at an example where somebody gets offended:

Frank: Ollie, I’m really disappointed in you.

Oliver: What?

Frank: You didn’t remember my birthday, you didn’t even get me a card! You’re supposed to be my best friend!

Oliver: Oh, Frank, let’s not cry over spilled milk. It’s not a big deal, I’m sorry.

Frank: You’re not taking this seriously at all! I’m very upset!

So, as you can see, The phrase can be used to belittle a problem (take away importance from a problem). If you say this phrase at the wrong time, then you will be regarded as very inconsiderate.

If however, you are on the other side of the problem and you want to make it so it’s not a big deal, you can use it to make the other person feel better.


Frank: Ollie, I’m really disappointed in you.

Oliver: What?

Frank: You didn’t remember my birthday, you didn’t even get me a card! You’re supposed to be my best friend!

Oliver: Oh, Frank, I’m really sorry, I’ve been so busy recently and I meant to get you a card but I forgot!

Frank: Okay, Ollie, I understand. Let’s not cry over spilled milk, eh? We can move on.

Oliver: Thanks Frank, You’re the best!

Do you see the difference? It’s important to realise the little details in English. A phrase used with a different tone and situation can mean a completely different thing!

Life is too short

This is my personal favourite of all the phrases mentioned in this article.

It’s a phrase that puts things into context and makes you think about whether things are actually that bad. Take a problem that you have regularly, perhaps when you’re driving or walking along the road and people go more slowly than you.

Is that really a problem worth worrying about? Is it ruining your life?  The answer is no!

Take a look at the dialogue:

Graham: Did you see that?!

Jane: What? What’s the matter?

Graham: I just held the door open for that man and he didn’t even say thank you!

Jane: Oh dear, well don’t worry. Just make sure that you say thank you when someone holds a door open for you.

Graham: Oh no, I’m furious! I’m going to go and talk to him!

Jane: Graham, don’t do that. Life is short, why waste time being angry? Maybe he is having a bad day.

Graham: Yeah, I suppose you’re right. I shouldn’t get so angry without knowing the whole story.

This is one you can remember every day when you get angry over something silly. Life is short!

It’s time to make amends

Now we move onto a phrase that is generally reserved for more serious problems.

When you make amends for something, it means you do things to make the situation better. Usually this is after you have done something very bad that requires you to make a large effort.

Look at the example:

Wesley: Harriet, do you know that John is still really angry about you taking money from him?

Harriet: Yes, I know. It was a massive mistake, I didn’t mean to cause this much harm.

Wesley: Well, you’d better fix it quickly, it’s time to make amends!

Harriet: I will. I have a great plan that will help me make up for it. I’m going to repay him every single penny!

It’s really important that when you mention the phrase, make amends, that you actually do something to resolve the problem! This is serious stuff and it won’t just go away.

You can also make amends for small problems, if you go to someone’s house and accidentally eat their chocolate, then you can make amends by buying them a new chocolate bar and perhaps a card to apologise!

Make sure that you always make amends!

I’m over it

Now watch out for this one.

This is more of an American phrase and it means that the person saying the phrase is no longer thinking about a problem – or at least they say they aren’t thinking about it…

People can use this phrase untruthfully to say that they have forgotten about something when really they haven’t, so be careful to listen to the way they say it!


Dave: So, Bonnie, about last night, I’m really sorry that I came home drunk. I didn’t intend to drink that much.

Bonnie: Oh. I’m over it.

Dave: Are you really over it though? Do you promise?

Bonnie: Yes! I forgive you and I’m over it.

Dave: Okay, thank you so much for understanding.

In its truest sense, it can be a very good one to stop people talking about a problem as we’ve discussed above. It’s also a lot more informal than just saying don’t worry about it.

Let’s clear the air

This is a very useful phrase – so pay attention!

When you clear the air with someone it means that there has been a problem for a while that you haven’t discussed and certainly haven’t solved. You clear the air by talking about the problem and discussing solutions with someone.

This is a very important process, but it’s also not easy!

Take a look below:

Bryan: Wayne, I feel like we really need to clear the air.
Wayne: Okay Bryan, I agree. Would you like to talk now?

Bryan: Yeah, I think now would be a good time.
Wayne: Okay, go ahead.

Bryan: Well, I just want to say that I wasn’t trying to insult you when I talked about your hair at the party. I was just joking.
Wayne: Right, I was very offended actually and it made me very self-conscious. I take pride in my appearance (I try hard to look good).

Bryan: I see that, and there’s nothing wrong with your appearance. I would never have said it if I had known you would be upset by it!
Wayne: Well thank you for clearing the air, I forgive you.
Bryan: Thanks Wayne, it means a lot.

My advice – always clear the air with someone before it is too late!
Often it can be an easy solution and usually the problem was just a misunderstanding like in the example above.

Let’s straighten things out

This is similar to saying let’s clear the air but it is a little more direct. Often the person saying this has a much different view to the person to whom they are talking.

To straighten things out is literally as it sounds, it makes them straight, linear and much more logical.

This is used after a small misunderstanding or something that you are sure is wrong.

Anthony: Hi, Jay, how are you?
Jay: I don’t really want to talk to you Anthony. Tim told me that you were talking to my girlfriend at the party.

Anthony: Oh did he? Well, let me straighten things out! Tim was actually the guy who was talking to your girlfriend. I wasn’t even at the party, I was in bed!
Jay: Seriously?

Anthony: Yes! I had to work on Sunday so I went to bed early on Saturday night!
Jay: Well, thanks for straightening that out Anthony, I am sorry.
Anthony: No problem!

If you say this to somebody, They will be in no doubt as to whether you are telling the truth or not! It’s a very strong phrase when you use it correctly.

I forgive you

The number one way to solve a problem!

Sometimes forgiving somebody can be the hardest thing in the world to do. But it can also be the most important thing you will ever do.

So many religions say that everybody deserves forgiveness, even the most terrible people. This can be difficult to practice but if you can do it, then you will surely be free from anger and depression.

Below is an example of where you could use the phrase:

Gill: Lee, we need to talk.
Lee: Okay, what’s on your mind?

Gill: This is difficult for me to tell you.
Lee: Okay, you’re scaring me now! What’s happened?!

Gill: Well…
Lee: Well what?!

Gill: I washed your white shirts at the same time as my pink skirts and now everything is pink.
Lee: That’s it? You scared me!

Gill: Can you ever forgive me?
Lee: Of course I forgive you!

Now, clearly, the dialogue above was a bit of a funny situation and usually you forgive someone for more serious things but the point still stands!

People frequently ask others for forgiveness as it is seen as a privilege. You are very lucky to be forgiven if you have done something bad. If you have done something terrible, the best thing to do is to ask for forgiveness. You may also have to beg!

So! Have we resolved all you problems? Can we put them to bedLet us know in the comments if we have to straighten anything out!

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