March 20, 2022

Rachel Strella

5 Cringe-Worthy Phrases to Stop Saying Immediately!

Cringeworthy phrases

Some things may make you cringe — for example, misguided political Facebook posts or Miranda’s latest escapades on the Sex and the City Reboot. I find various commonly used words and phrases cringy. I would rather create new ones than to keep listening to them. 

As a lover of language, I find our everyday communication just plain lazy sometimes. While more than a dozen commonplace phrases (not including the prolific “LOL” and “OMG”) drive me nuts, I’ve narrowed my list to a select few. So, without further ado, I present my top five to you.

5 Commonplace Phrases That Drive Me Bonkers

#5. No worries 

Did we really goof up, or is this just a condescending way for someone to admonish our guilt? Frankly, it’s dismissive, and it lacks context. Let’s try “I understand, and take all the time you need” instead.

#4. Circle back 

If you’re the recipient of this phrase, you might feel like I do… passed off…or maybe even pissed off. It’s blatantly non-committal. Perhaps we could replace this evasive response with clear feedback and a finite timeline?

#3. Sure thing 

One thing I love about the people in Jamaica is their manners. In response to “Thank you,” they say, “You’re welcome.” Every time! 

Somewhere along the line, we decided an informal response such as “sure thing,” “you bet,” or “anytime” is more fitting. Maybe I am old school, but why not say, “You’re welcome?”

#2. Amazing 

“Amazing” is the laziest adjective on the planet. It doesn’t tell me anything other than someone or something is more than just “OK.” Why not give specific feedback? Instead of “That’s great” or “amazing,” how about ”Your report was succinct and gave us the data we needed”?

#1. Happy [insert day]!  

The only word that should follow “happy” is “birthday.” How can we know if a day of the week is happy for someone else? I see this often as the opening in emails and group messages, but I find it no less cringy on a phone or Zoom call. Let’s say something else…anything else. Please!

Use a Thesaurus Already!

I realize this post centers on a grievance, similar to the M.O. of our  Galli Gripes articles. But it was certainly cathartic to write! The irony is that I am guilty of using some of the phrases I just publicly criticized, particularly when I am busy or not thinking properly. I vow to do better and catch myself before I fall prey to them in the future. But if I do slip up… No worries, right? 😉 

What annoying words and phrases would you add to this list?

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