A few phrases I would be very happy to never hear again

What follows is a small catalog of annoyance.  I am sure I have uttered these words.  I am sure those I love have uttered and will utter these words.  Those of us who live on the planet are bound to irritate someone at some point.  But henceforth, anyone who hears these words uttered around me is going to know what’s going through my head, even if I am sporting a socially correct veneer of facial politeness.

“Doesn’t [person] have anything better to do?”

Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, knitting, reality TV, insert your guilty pleasure here.  We all have them, but some killjoy is just dying to make you feel like a fool for your choices.  This cute little number is intended to make the target feel like a frivolous, time-wasting moron.  On the other hand, I suppose one is to infer that the speaker is a virtuous ascetic who only expends effort to create great beauty or value.  Right.  Get back to me when you’ve won the Nobel Prize.

It also makes me wonder, “Why do you care so much?  What about this activity gets up your nose so much that you feel the irresistible need to sneer?”

I would also venture to guess that the subset of people who are superciliously passing judgment and who have also tried that thing approaches zero in nearly every circumstance (which would tend to account for the fact that speakers of this phrase seem to think that typing out 140 characters a couple of times a day takes So Much Time).  Therefore, I shall now respond to all such questions by saying, “No, actually — and don’t you have anything better to do than to make fatuous judgments about stuff you don’t understand?”

“I am the kind of person who…”

This one reminds me of the quote often attributed to Margaret Thatcher, “Power is like being a lady; if you have to tell someone you are, you aren’t.”  (I can’t find an authoritative source for this — at least not swiftly).  The point is, all too often the quality that follows this statement would rarely be attributed to the speaker by anyone who knows them.  It’s almost a guarantee of willful blindness to one’s own personality.

A close cousin to this statement is a manager’s boast that he has an “open door policy.”  Generally, this person only has the door open the better to swing it firmly shut on your ass and your ideas.

“I have to be honest with you.”

After hearing this, I always think to myself, “Okay… how many lies did you tell me prior to this statement?”

“Get a life.”

You first.

Got any choice hateful phrases you would like to see banned from polite conversation?


  1. Some of these are variations on yours, but still:

    “Trust me.” Not if you have to beg, no.

    “I shoot from the hip.” Because lacking empathy and any sense of constructive criticism is just *so* punk, and we’re all ever so intimidated by you.

    “Here’s the scoop.” There’s probably nothing intrinsically wrong with this, I just had an annoyingly perky (masking an all-too-obvious “don’t push me ‘cuz I’m close to the edge” desperation) roommate who said it all the time.

    “[Person, political persuasion, etc.] is not interested in having a dialogue.” Usually uttered by someone who spent the past 20 minutes splattering me with rabid foam and is still too “in the zone” to notice I left to shower and do laundry.

    “[Band/singer] peaked with [obvious album choice] and haven’t done anything meaningful since.” Oh, grow up.

    “I would NEVER do something like that.” Wait.

  2. Oooh… good ones. I may promote most to the main post….

  3. “You know what your problem is?”

    Didn’t speak to someone for a year-and-a-half after that one.

  4. I am in total TOTAL agreement with you on the ” I have to be honest with you”
    I find it is one of the most degrading phrases that our society has given birth to. And frankly, after an imbecile of a person actually vomits this line out of their peanut sized brain, I don’t want to hear any of the wordahrea following that.
    Cheers : )

  5. Me, nothing springs to mind (well, an awful lot of phrases beloved of a former boss, but they’re rather particular to him), but Armin splutters in fury every time he hears “if you know what I mean”.

  6. I had a roommate who couldn’t stand anyone using the word “hopefully” as anything other than an adverb.

    I think I get a rash every time I hear someone use “impact” to mean “affect.” “Impacted” for “affected” seems even worse to me.

    I have to fess up to using “honestly…” (a variant of “I have to be honest with you”). In my case, I certainly don’t intend to indicate that I was being dishonest before that. Rather, I use it when I expect what follows is likely to be discounted because either: (a) I think it will sound out of character for me, e.g., “I have to be honest, I actually did enjoy Disney World; or (b) I don’t think the person is primed to agree with what I’m going to say, e.g., in response to a request for feedback (important caveat!), “Honestly, while you were right to reprimand him, I think you were too harsh with Steve when you called him out during the meeting.”

  7. In the vein of Kimberly’s roommate’s problem with “hopefully,” it bothers me when people use “momentarially” for “soon.”

  8. “To make a long story short. . .” or as the Yankees around here say, “shawt.” Look out. It just never happens.

    Also, for me “honestly” is not the same at all as “to be perfectly honest” or “I have to be honest with you.” Maybe it’s because it takes more effort for the whole phrase, but the single word is more like a verbal eye roll.

    Yikes, now I’m afraid to say anything. Well, not so much. ;-)


  1. […] other Thing… I do want to do a follow-up to the hateful phrases post. In the meantime, I would like to say something about nonspecific hateful phrases.  Call it a PSA: […]