Does “Shush” Mean The Same Thing As “Shut Up”?

Let’s be honest: every relationship has a moment—OK, a lot of moments—where one person just wants the other person to shut up. Whether it’s in the middle of a fight or just during a stressful moment, the sound of the other person’s voice is just bothering you.

But saying “shut up,” as we all learned in grade school, is just rude. Relationships thrive on kindness and telling your partner to “shut up” is about as disrespectful as you can get. So, how to you get your boo to cease and desist talking/nagging/complaining while still showing some respect?“Shush” means roughly the same thing as “shut up,” but just sounds less jarring. “Shush” sounds a little motherly to me, maybe because it has the word “hush” in it, and, unlike “shut up,” it hasn’t been co-opted by icky, icky Donald Trump. But I still can’t shake how “shush” is something parents or teachers say to little kids, people who are in a position of power. “Shush” may not sound as rude, but it is as rude.

Personally, when I want someone to shut up, I say something like, “Please stop talking,” or even say, “I need to take a walk,” and go outside for a bit. For me, it’s all about still communicating kindly by saying “please”; that’s why I purposely don’t use the very loaded words “shush” or “shut up.” I don’t want to feel like there are power imbalances in my relationships, ever. The few times in my life that a guy has told me to “shut up” or “shush” did not go down well—and it’s probably no surprise the ex-boyfriend who told me to “shut up” the most was the biggest egomaniac I’ve ever known.

What do you think? Are “shush” and “shut up” equally unkind things to say? Is “please be quiet” any better? What do you say when you just want peace and quiet?