To Tell You the Truth, I’m Like Whatever

A recent poll out of the States listed the 5 most annoying words and phrases that people use.  Here’s my take on each of them along with another 5 that annoy me for different reasons.

Whatever.  This word likely tops the list because it’s over-used.  While many people use it to express indifference or to be accommodating, it quickly becomes annoying when no one makes a decision because they are trying to defer to others.  At the OYYAM, this word reared its ugly head in New Orleans when we were trying to figure out a place to eat for dinner.  We ended up going to a little place that we had passed 30 minutes earlier.  Before we knew it, 90 minutes had passed, and Analyn and I had to leave before receiving our food because we had another commitment!

Like.  This like doesn’t refer to the “like” feature on Facebook, rather the like tendency of people, like young and old, to like interject this word into like every single sentence sometimes like multiple times.  I don’t see this one going away anytime soon…a fact I dislike.

You know what I mean.  I admit it:  this is the one word/phrase from this list that I use way too often.  One of my best friends also uses it a lot, and we often bug each other about it.  While it might sound polite, as if checking for understanding from the listener, at least in my case it’s a lazy speech habit.

To tell you the truth.  I can’t stand it when someone starts a sentence with this.  It shouldn’t have to be stated that you’re about to give a truthful statement or opinion.  Same goes with the word “honestly.”  Am I supposed to conclude then that every sentence that doesn’t start with “to tell you truth” is a lie?

Actually.  I don’t really have a problem with this one, especially if it’s used properly as if correcting someone or stating a fact.  Actually, it’s a heck of a lot better than “to tell you the truth!”

Here are 5 more words and phrases that I find quite annoying:

360 degree turnaround.  People often talk about someone making a complete change in his life, and usually it’s a positive change.  Unfortunately, they use the term “360 degrees” in trying to show a turnaround.  This is obviously very wrong, as it’s 180 degrees that gets you moving in the opposite direction.  In fact, a 360 degree turn signifies no change at all, as you wind up going in the exact same direction you were moving initially.

At the end of the day.  This one is used a lot in sports, often when talking about an end goal or desired outcome:  “At the end of the day, it’s about improving every game” or “At the end of the day, we got the 2 points.”  This last example makes literal sense, as it gives a finite time-frame and objective way to measure success.  But it doesn’t necessarily work for everything.  Try this:  the next time you hear someone start of a sentence with “at the end of the day,” see if it truly matters if you look at it at day’s end, or if the start or middle of the day will suffice.

No offense/Don’t take this the wrong way.  I don’t care what the speaker is about to say to you…the mere fact that he’s started off his sentence this way:  you better brace yourself.  Somebody gonna get hurt…real bad.

Basically.  I can’t believe how much I used this word in everyday conversation.  I even catch myself saying it, but I can’t stop.  I think my intent is noble in trying to explain things in a clear and concise manner.  I just need to see if I can do so without saying “basically” every second sentence.

Um/uh.  As I continue to develop my public speaking skills, I need to remove some word whiskers (thanks Dave for the technical term!).  My most evident one is “uh” or “um.”  In contrast to “basically,” I’m not as aware when using these.  It’s when I watch video of myself (that sounded a tad ego-centric…haha) or listening to audio (still ego-centric) that it sticks out to me.

And lastly, here’s a bonus one:

We need to talk.  When I hear these words come from my lovely wife Gail, I know what she’s really saying:  “YOU NEED TO LISTEN!”  And as my friend Mark Hart would say:  this isn’t an invitation for a dialogue.

You know what I mean?


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