Humans have a tendency to hide rude remarks under a veneer of politeness. They also have a tendency not to realize that everyone does this, and therefore everyone is aware when she's being insulted, even when the insult is disguised as a question or compliment. Let’s take a look at some of the euphemistic phrases we could live without hearing ever again.
“You look tired”
Translation: "You look like hell." This statement is vague enough that it could apply to any aspect of your appearance. Eye bags, frizzy hair, slouchy posture—something about your look screams "I need an Advil and a nap." And usually when someone says "you look tired," you actually feel totally fine, leaving you to wonder what you did wrong when getting ready in the morning.
The worst part is, you have to play along when you answer this question. If you respond, “No, I feel great!” you're essentially saying, “I have no excuse for looking like crap, and in fact I wasn’t aware I look so awful.” So you're obligated to mutter something about a late night and flee to the nearest mirror.
“No offense, but…”
Can we all make a collective agreement never to say this again? If you ever find yourself beginning a sentence with, “No offense, but…” pause and remind yourself this phrase does not magically negate the insult that comes next. “You have the most hideous singing voice I’ve ever heard… but that’s just my opinion” is a similar faux pas.
Pulling out “all I'm saying is...” at the end of an argument
You probably know one or two people who must have the last word. Just when the argument is winding down and you're ready to drop the subject entirely, they say something like, “Well, it’s not that big of a deal, but all I’m saying is…” and then proceed to reiterate their argument in detail for another two minutes. By the time they finish, it’s clear they were listening to absolutely nothing you said, and it takes all your willpower not to retort with a similar summary of your viewpoint that starts the whole argument all over again.
“You look just like someone I know”
Typically, this means, “I want to talk to you but have absolutely no better opening line.” This one is problematic because it’s impossible to respond to. What are you supposed to say?
- “Wow! Let me get this straight. So you’re a stranger who knows another stranger who resembles me? That is so interesting. Tell me more!”
- “Yeah! You look just like my eighth grade piano teacher’s gardener. It’s uncanny.”
- *awkward nodding*
- ".......So, do you like stuff?”
“Is everything all right?”
Similar to “you look tired,” this unwelcome question forces you to wonder: “What was I doing to make him/her ask this? Am I making a weird face or something?” And you know what, maybe you were! Maybe you were thinking about your C- in Chemistry, or maybe you were remembering the time you asked your crush to the movies and s/he informed you, “I’m already dating someone.” You can’t be expected to look content and normal every moment of the day. Can’t a human being make a weird face every now and then without his friends turning into Dr. Phil?! Apparently, no.
“It was [pausepausepausepause] interesting….”
This is the line you hear after making your friends watch “Donnie Darko” or showing them the short story you’ve been working on. They clearly hated it but are too nice to say this directly. Or so they think. Because actually, everyone knows that calling something “interesting” is another way of saying “it's not for me” or “I didn’t get it” or “it was terrible; how could you do this to me?” People should either own up to their opinions and say "Donnie Darko" was a confusing mess, or psych themselves up to lie their heads off.
What phrase do you wish you'd never hear again? Are there circumstances when one of these phrases is absolutely necessary? And are you okay? Because you do look really tired today.