Stupid Things People Say

Talking is something most of us do on a daily basis. If you manage to make it through an entire day without talking, you need to send me your secret for getting people to leave you alone. And I know you don't have children. 

It can be difficult to make your words count. Sometimes our brains don't send the right message to our mouth and ridiculous statements result. I think these are great times to laugh and remember you're not that big of a deal--relax. I'm not writing this post to make anybody feel bad. If you make a habit of saying stupid things, you probably know that and are trying to fix it.

However, I've noticed a disturbing trend in my days on Earth. Sometimes people say things without giving any real thought to what they mean. They don't think. This is what I want to discourage. Below is a short list of things you should think about before you say them.

#1 "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

For instance, breaking your neck while cliff diving makes you stronger by allowing you to live in a hospital bed as a quadriplegic. And perhaps doing meth makes you superman by allowing you to lose your teeth and scratch your skin right off your face (see "Meth Mouth"). I'm not poking fun at terrible things that happen to people; but I am making fun of people who use this phrase. These people might mean well, but find a new phrase please.

#2 "I could care less."

Could you? If you could care less, that means you care. People say this all the time when they are trying to communicate that they DO NOT care, but what they are really saying is that they DO care. It's very similar to what they're trying to say, just the exact opposite. They meant to say, "I could not care less." This communicates that you care so little you could not possibly make how much you care smaller--it asymptotically approaches zero.

#3 "I should go left. Right?"

This is a tricky one. My advice to you is this: when you are giving someone directions, use the word "correct" instead of the word "right" when you want to say something is accurate or true. Otherwise stupid things come out of your mouth--like this. Try, "I should go left, correct?" I know it sounds really stupid, but getting lost is more stupid.

#4 "There are no stupid questions."

Yes, there are. Don't say this. 

I get it. People (teachers especially) want to encourage question-asking and fear that participants might be self-conscious or embarrassed. However, lying to people to get them to participate is bad form. You can say, "If your question is stupid, I won't make fun of you publicly."

#5 "I don't mean to interrupt."

Then stop talking.

#6 "Judge not."

Ouch. It's powerful when people extract two words from the middle of the Bible, extrapolate them to mean whatever they feel like and then hit you over the head with it. 

Let's take a moment to consider:

The verb "judge" means to "form an opinion about someone or something after giving careful thought." You judge things dozens of times per day. You judge things to be high or low quality, trustworthy or not, beautiful or not, and the list goes on. In terms of people, you judge them based on their appearance, their abilities, their speech, their actions, and other defining criteria. 

How could a company successfully hire employees without judging? Does anyone truly believe that Jesus was instructing us to stop forming opinions about things after giving them careful thought? You try that for a day and see how it goes.

#7 "Well, that's just the way it goes."

The profundity is overwhelming, as is the ambiguity. What does this mean? Typically, someone gets angry at some unpleasant circumstances and announces that, "This is just the way it goes." Are you saying that the universe and/or God has given you only unpleasant circumstances? Really? Because if you're reading this you can read--that's good. You can see--also good. You can breathe. You probably ate today. Listen, I'm not better than you. I say stupid things when I'm mad too; but let's all try to minimize stupidity in the world.

#8 "This has too much cheese on it."

This is fundamentally impossible, so don't say it.

#9 "You shouldn't have."

Why? Because I'm not a nice person? Because gift-giving has gone out of style? What is the reason I shouldn't have? It confuses me why people think this is polite. When someone gives you something or does something nice for you, consider saying, "Thank you". As a fair warning, if I do something nice for you and you say this, I might respond with, "Okay. I take it back." Is that polite?

#10 "I have something to say to you." OR "Can I ask you a question?"

Both of these are pointless to say. If you have something to say to me, start your sentence with what you want to say. If you want to ask me a question, start with the question. If you are truly asking for my permission to ask me a question, be prepared for the answer to be "no".

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