Are people around you sincere in your interactions? What if I told you that some phrases often used are mere smoke screens concealing insincerity and hypocrisy?
Brace yourself for an eye-opening journey as we unravel the most cunning phrases people employ to masquerade their true intentions.
This will be a good one!
1) I’ll definitely keep that in mind
We’re coming strong out of the gates with this one. “I’ll definitely keep that in mind” is a seemingly harmless phrase and one that implies receptiveness and consideration.
However, don’t be too quick to celebrate their apparent open-mindedness. Someone might use this phrase as a convenient escape hatch without genuinely trying to follow through.
After all, words are easy, but following through takes significant effort.
I’ve heard the phrase from my former bosses and managers when I approached them with a well-researched proposal, some of my friends when I sought their advice and support, and even from my ex when sharing my aspirations and dreams. Ouch.
Let’s move on to another zinger.
2) I’m here for you anytime
“I’m here for you anytime.” These friendly and supportive little words can mean so much to us in times of hardship.
But what happens when you try and reach out for a heart-to-heart conversation or seek genuine help? Then they consistently make excuses, become unavailable, or show little interest in actively supporting you.
And I’m not talking out of my hat here, I’ve had this happen to me on several occasions. For that reason, whenever I hear this phrase, I know what’s up, unfortunately.
If you feel uncertain about relying on the person who made the offer, it’s better to seek out trusted friends, family members, or professionals who can provide the support you need.
There’s another loaded phrase that triggers me as soon as I hear it.
3) I’m sorry you feel that way
“I’m sorry you feel that way” is a phrase frequently used in an attempt to express empathy or remorse, but upon closer examination, it falls apart, and its true meaning is often disheartening.
If you’ve ever encountered this expression, I’m pretty sure you know its true meaning. This seemingly apologetic statement carries a subtle implication that shifts the blame onto you.
You’re the one to blame for what has happened or what you just said. Although friends and family can use this phrase, I mostly encountered it in a professional setting.
It’s basically lawyer talk for we’re guilty but won’t admit it. Instead of genuinely addressing your concerns or taking accountability for their actions, they brush off your emotions and imply that the issue lies solely with your perception, thereby invalidating the validity of your concerns.
My favorite counter to that is, “I believe it’s important for us to have an open conversation about this. Can we discuss our different viewpoints and work towards finding common ground?”
4) I don’t want to impose, but…
This next phrase is one you should look out for. When someone starts a conversation with “I don’t want to impose, but…” they are attempting to soften the impact of the upcoming statement.
Here are some hard-hitting examples:
- “I don’t want to impose, but I think it would be better if you stopped seeing your friends as often.”
- “I don’t want to impose, but could you lend me some money?”
- “I don’t want to impose, but do you think you could cover my shift this weekend?”
- “I don’t want to impose, but I heard you’re great at graphic design. Can you create a logo for my new business?”
- “I don’t want to impose, but I need to borrow your car for the weekend.”
You get the point. Brace yourself!
Whenever I can’t or won’t do the thing they’re skiing for, I like to respond in the style of:
“While I can’t help you at this time, did you try asking [name of another person or resource] who might be able to help you?”
5) I appreciate your input
This is another phrase that commonly appears in professional settings. It might come from your boss or, worse yet, from your coworker.
“I appreciate your input” is translated to “thanks, but no thanks.” It’s used to mask disagreement, dismiss alternative viewpoints, or maintain the status quo while avoiding genuine engagement or consideration.
However, the phrase isn’t exclusive to the office setting. If you hear your friend or family member use it, it means they’ll continue to make decisions that completely disregard your advice.
When faced with the phrase “I appreciate your input” in a context where you suspect it may be used to dismiss or downplay your contribution, it’s important to respond in a way that asserts your perspective and encourages genuine engagement.
Here’s how I would respond:
- “Thank you for appreciating my input. I’d love to hear more about how my ideas align or differ from your own thoughts on the matter.”
- “I’m glad my opinion is valued. Could we discuss how we can incorporate these ideas into the project moving forward?”
- “I appreciate that you acknowledge my ideas. Let me explain further why I believe this approach could be beneficial based on…”
- “I respect your appreciation, and I’m curious to hear what others think as well. How do you all feel about this idea?” (If you want to stir up the pot and put others on the spot).
6) Let’s agree to disagree
“Let’s agree to disagree” can be a healthy way to handle differences, but it can also be used to dismiss your viewpoint without genuine consideration.
I’m not particularly fond of this phrase, as I’ve seen it online or heard it in person a number of times.
I think it curbs open communication and is used as a means to sweep the issue under the rug and avoid discussing it further. Basically, the phrase is used to shut down the conversation and maintain a stalemate.
When someone says, “Let’s agree to disagree,” you should consider the context and intentions behind the phrase. Sometimes the person using it comes from a genuine place, and it isn’t worth pursuing your point indefinitely. There’ll be no winners in that.
However, if you want to counter it, avoid personal attacks or derogatory remarks. Focus on the issues at hand rather than resorting to divisive language.
We’re coming to two of my “favorite” remarks now. Buckle up!
7) You’re such a great person
If someone says to you:
“You’re such a great person,” and “I’ve always admired your…”
It usually means they really appreciate you and your qualities. However, it could also mean they want to manipulate you.
The person saying it could use it to gain favor, influence, or exploit your vulnerability.
Especially if it’s coming from the opposite sex.
Other times, someone may use it as a generic, surface-level compliment without any specific context or genuine respect.
Whatever the reason may be, I respond with, “Thank you for your kind words. I’m grateful for your support, and I’m always striving to be the best version of myself.”
We have two more phrases left.
8) I’m really happy for you
The phrase “I’m really happy for you” is a tricky one. Nevertheless, you can usually recognize right away what place it’s coming from depending on the person saying it.
They can use the phrase with a hidden layer of envy or jealousy. The person saying it might not feel truly happy for you but is simply saying it out of social convention or to mask their own negative emotions.
In such cases, the words may lack authenticity and are used to fake sincerity.
9) I didn’t mean it that way
We usually hear “I didn’t mean it that way” after something hurtful was said, and the person saying it is trying to backtrack their previous words.
On the other side, some people use the phrase as a defensive or dismissive tactic to avoid taking responsibility and downplaying the impact of their words.
If this phrase becomes a recurring issue, it may be necessary to set clear boundaries and expectations for respectful communication in the future.
How many of these phrases have you encountered? Did they surprise you, and did you see right through them?
If you want to learn more about this interesting topic, why not learn about the 21 subtle signs of fake people (and 10 effective ways to deal with them)?