Ditch These Annoyingly Common Phrases To Sound Smarter
Difficult to get your point across or be taken seriously? Try ditching these phrases that can make you sound unintentionally dumb or that could be accidentally offensive. This piece was inspired by another titled 10 Phrases to Drop From Your Vocabulary. I've borrowed many of the phrases from the original and added my own commentary plus a few more useless or offensive phrases that occured to me while reading.
Furthermore, I'm sure our language isn't limited to only these few annoying qualifiers and I may even unwittingly use several more while writing this, so feel free to share your own pet-peeve words and turns of phrase after reading. First, let's tackle some phrases that water down your message:
"Really?", "No way!", "I know right?", "You ain't kiddin!", "Totally" & "Dude!"
You might think that you're sounding like you're interested when saying any of these, but they do little to advance the conversation and in fact stall it. Many times these words are used when you don't know quite what to say back but feel that you HAVE to say something in order to feel like you're contributing.
"Know what I mean?"
This is like saying 'get it' after a joke, which is simply begging for a specific reaction from someone. If they wanna react, they will. If not, maybe your point isn't as profound as you think.
"I was like (blank), and then they were like (blank)"
Once only reserved for Valley girls, now nearly EVERYONE inserts this useless word between most of their phrases. Nobody took Valley girls seriously so when you talk like this, your influence drops.
"Um, uh, ya know" (or stuttering)
This one is related to 'like' in that it is unnecessary yet still highly common. You unconsciously use it while searching for your words, but instead just pause until you find your thought rather than spilling useless nonsense till you do.
"...And what not."
Another unnecessary phrase that adds absolutely nothing to the sentence beforehand. Simply put a period on it and move on.
"Kinda" and "Sort of"
When someone asks you a direct answer, using a wishy-washy term as an answer shows a lack of forethought and an inability to articulate your thoughts. Just pause and if an answer could go both ways, explain both perspectives.
****Now let's take a look at some phrases that can be offensive to others, but we don't realize it...
"I hate to say this, but..."
No you don't, because you're about to. If you truly hated it, you wouldn't say it. This is simply a deflection to make you feel like you're doing someone a favor while granting yourself the freedom to insult them (or someone else out of earshot.)
"I don't get it" or "I'm confused"
Saying this actually makes the other person feel like they did a subpar job of getting something across to you. Instead, slightly tweak your response by asking them to help you understand, so they feel encouraged to keep talking rather than becoming annoyed at the communication breakdown.
"I've been too busy..."
We're all busy but still we find the time to do the things that we see as important. Saying this makes the other party feel like you just don't care, so simply apologize for making them feel unimportant and renew your efforts to stay on top of things.
Blanket statements are never accurate and usually incensing to those that they're directed at. Instead insert the phrase: 'I feel like you do this frequently' or 'when you do this it makes me feel X' and they'll be less likely to be on the defensive during a difficult conversation.
"That's a no-brainer."
We use this when we're 'preaching to the choir' but not everyone present is always a full-fledged choir member. If someone missed your 'easy' point they'll feel quite stupid and will either shrink back from the conversation or resent you (or both.) Besides, why say something at all if you think the majority of those in attendance understand it anyway?
Effectively a cross between 'and what not' and 'I hate to say this but', this is meant to drive a point home a little more while also releasing yourself from the responsibility of your (usually harsh) comments that accompany it. Like it's sister phrases, just drop it.
I'm guilty of MANY on this list and maybe you are too... Can you think of more phrases that either drive you nuts that other people say or that you'd like to stop saying yourself?