‘Tis the season to make empty promises to yourself. Lose weight, spend less, be more patient…blah blah blah.
I don’t hate the idea of New Year’s resolutions. In fact, I think it’s an admirable way to start the new year – wanting this one to be better than the last. And self-improvement is commendable. But, I’m a firm believer in making those resolutions specific and quantifiable.
– “Be nicer” doesn’t count. Committing to hand out 1 honest compliment a day – does.
– “Exercise more” isn’t nearly as attainable as “do 100 push-ups a week.”
Specific. Quantifiable. Accomplishable.
Mine is to give up ice cream. Sigh… it’s going to be a long, sad year… 😉
Forget all those ambiguous resolutions you’ve made …or even the list of unattainable goals you’ve typed into your phone ‘notes.’
I’d like to offer my services and take it one step further… Consider this a public service – my suggestions for how to not be a jerkface this year. Here’s what you really need to do:
STOP SAYING THESE FIVE PHRASES
If you can cut these out of your life, you will be a measurably better person in 2014.
You have my highly-opinionated word on it.
1. “No offense, but…”
Stop. You’ve already offended me. Anything that follows this phrase is something you probably shouldn’t say.
And couching it in that super crafty qualifier isn’t fooling anyone. It’s just a preamble to unsolicited criticism or jerkfaceness.
You might as well just say, “I’m about to be cruel, uncaring and arrogant.
But I don’t want you to think less of me. Even though you should…”
People say this and then expect that, because they prefaced their mean words with an untruthful statement, that somehow you can’t get mad at them …or hurt. Problem is… no qualifier can keep that from happening.
If what you’re about to say IS offensive – you probably shouldn’t say it.
If what you’re about to say ISN’T offensive – you don’t need a qualifier.
So, just stop saying it.
Don’t be a jerk.
2. “It is what it is”
Oh, IS it?
Why don’t we just go around saying other obvious things like, “I breathe air.”
It IS ….what it IS?
This is the verbal version of shrugging your shoulders and lamenting that a certain situation is unfortunate, but not likely to change.
You know what a more apt phrase would be? “I’m sorry. That sucks.” Or maybe just a hug.
A hug is almost ALWAYS in order.
When people say “it is what it is” to me… internally I say to myself, dripping with sarcasm, “wow…thanks for that… I feel worlds better.”
3. “Don’t take it personally”
Isn’t that exactly what everyone does…about everything?
We are people… persons. Most things that matter are ‘personal.’
We receive information and process it through the lens of our collection of beliefs, thoughts, feelings, mood, etc… we are designed to ‘take things’ personally.
Thing is – no one ever uses this phrase about something impersonal.
You’d never hear a math professor explaining the Pythagorean theorem, saying, “So…the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides…but don’t take it personally.” Eh???
No – people always use this when something PERSONAL has happened. But they don’t want to have to witness your disappointment. That would make them uncomfortable, so they tell you not to let it affect you.
This phrase gets used when people experience breakups, getting laid off, receiving disappointing or scary news, being on the wrong end of constructive criticism… often something that exposes them or makes them vulnerable… the very time that they will have an emotion…that feels…well…personal.
The very meaning of the word “personal” is ‘belonging or relating to a person.’ Isn’t that pretty much everything?
Related side-note… for added frustration, stupid people sprinkle this phrase with poor grammar by not even having the decency to use the full adverb, and instead giving it that uneducated flair: “Don’t take it personal.”
No offense, but – we are not animals, people.
4. “Love on”
It sounds like a cat rubbing up against your leg. Pass.
This one’s big in religious communities, but really everyone’s susceptible. The phrase is often used about someone who could use some extra love… and it’s said in an overly mothering tone, suggesting that person go somewhere that they can get “loved on.”
Hold on while I go dry heave for a minute…
“love ON?” How about just LOVING?
No on. Take that ‘on’ right out.
While we’re ON the subject, it’s also “by accident.” Not, “on accident.” I die a little every time I hear someone say that.
Hmmm…I’m noticing a trend. Perhaps I have a problem with phrases ending in “on.”
Then again, I don’t mind the word so much when it’s preceded by “turned.”
Anytime you show someone genuine affection, you are loving them.
Why must we bastardize the word by adding a cutesy preposition?
I think people use this phrase because they’re afraid if they just say “love,” that it implies they’re IN love. [Insert junior high whiney playground kid’s voice…”ewwwww…you LOVE her…”]
Oh NO!! Not LOVE! Not the thing we all crave and move mountains to get a drop of…not the stuff that really matters… not the most important thing in the world. We wouldn’t wanna get tangled up in all of THAT. Grody.
How about we just start being bold about loving.
Showing love (hugging, snuggling, caring for someone, doing nice things, making sacrifices, etc.) isn’t something we need to tiptoe around.
Loving is doing. Loving ‘on’ is talking about it…awkwardly.
I’d rather be a doer.
5. “Of COURSE this would happen to ME “
How self-involved can you get? Unfortunate things happen to everyone. It’s not worse when they happen to YOU. That makes you sound like you think you’re at a higher level of importance than anyone else.
The close second to this phrase is when people say, “I canNOT get sick right now,” or, “the LAST thing I need right now is a ______.” Guess what…NO one ‘needs’ those things. It’s bad timing for everyone. There’s never a good time to have your dog pee on the kitchen floor, get stood up, be assigned extra work, contract an illness, etc.
It’s not worse for YOU.
And saying it makes you sound pretty self-absorbed.
So, to sum up: