Have you ever thought to yourself, “I am so sick of hearing that phrase!”? Sometimes it’s an acronym at work. Other times it’s a pop culture phenomenon. And often it’s a word or phrase that someone from another generation (younger) seems to say all the time that makes no sense to you.
Lake Superior State University, is located in Michigan’s upper peninsula, which should really be part of Wisconsin. Each year they publish a list of the top ten words that people would like to see banished. That’s exactly the kind of hard hitting research you’ll find at a “state school.” I should know, because I went to one. Harvard is busy curing cancer, but Lake Superior State University is spending public money making lists of silly phrases. They are definitely my kind of people.
I’ll give you the list with my comments and I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments.
10. Supply chain: 90% of us didn’t know what a supply chain was before 2021. Now it’s my favorite phrase to get out of work. “I’m sorry boss, I can’t make it to work today. Supply chain issues.” Supply chain gets me out of more things than Covid. “I apologize your honor, but I can’t be on this jury all week. Supply chain issues.” or “Not tonight honey. I’ve got supply chain issues.” (Ladies, feel free to use that last one)
9. You’re on mute: I hear this one a lot when I’m pretending to have technical difficulties to get out of being on a two hour Zoom meeting. Also my wife is fond of saying, “Sorry honey. I can’t hear you. You’re on mute.” She says that when she’s sitting right next to me. A lot.
8. New Normal: Anybody that’s using this phrase is just giving up on life. Saying that something is the new normal is like saying, “I give up. This sucks but I can’t change anything.” I don’t think we should avoid the phrase. I think that anyone who says it should immediately be prescribed an anti-depressant and sentenced to ten weeks of therapy.
7. Deep Dive: Admittedly, I’ve used this one in work situations more than once. Yes, I know it’s overused, but what else can we say that means the same and is just as cool? In-depth look? Nah. That phrase bores me. I fell asleep typing it. Thorough investigation? That only sounds good with a British accent and I can never pull that off. (Now you’re imagining that phrase in a British accent aren’t you? See what I mean?”)
6. Circle back: Of course this one came from a state school. When I was in college and we we’re at a bar near campus that was basically circular, we’d check out the talent by walking a lap around the bar. If you couldn’t find someone to your liking, you say to your friends, “Nope. Nothing yet. I’m going to circle back in a half hour or so.” Now my generation uses it in Zoom meetings to say, “Yeah, no. That’s not gonna happen.”
5. Asking for a friend: Never in the history of the world has anyone ever believed this lie. People on Twitter wore this phrase out six years ago.
4. That being said… This is a way to pretend you agree but you’re really disagreeing. It sounds a little pretentious to me. Enough so that if you’re on a Zoom call, pretend you don’t hear the person and repeatedly say, “You’re on mute. I can’t hear you.” Give it about minute or two before you acknowledge them again.
3. At the end of the day… This is a way to act smart and pretend that you’re saying something obvious. It’s also a great way to get people thinking of 5:00 and having a drink as soon as “this blowhard on my work conference call shuts the hell up.” People who say ‘At the end of the day’ are the people that overtalk in every conference call be cause they want to impress the higher ups.
2. No worries! People that say this are obviously worriers trying to overcompensate by using this linguistic pacifier. If someone says this to you, immediate worrying is called for. They’re like the character in a suspense film who says, “Don’t worry. We got this,” right before all hell breaks loose.
1. Wait, what? In other words, “Are you effing kidding me?” It’s a cute way to express disbelief, as in “Are you serious? Did you just say that?” This is always the prelude to a good conflict and if you’re lucky, fisticuffs.
Now there’s a word we should pump up in 2022. Fisticuffs! In the comments, what are the words and phrases you found most tiresome in 2021?
Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil