Reading Facebook comments I started to notice there are several phrases that almost always manage to get on my nervous and make me feel like that person is either a moron or not very nice. I started to think about other expressions I also really dislike and why I do not like them so much. This is what I came up with.
Cheer up love, it might never happen
What if ‘it’ already did happen? What if that is my normal expression? This phrase is often said to women by men, the kind of men who expect women to be smiley and bubbly all the time, which is almost impossible to be constantly. My thinking face often gets this comment by total strangers passing me in the street, which I think is actually quite rude. They do not know me or what I am going through at that moment.
To show emotions or feelings as a man is often seen as week or unmanly, but that is just a stereotype and it in no way makes you less of a man. As a woman I find it more attractive when a man is able to show some emotions, it makes them not seems just cold, but whole and human. Stereotyping men as always strong and tough means a lot of men do not admit when they need help and they can end up in serious situations with their mental health.
Just get over it
You cannot tell someone to just stop their own feelings. To say it to someone can make them feel unheard and trivialised, as if you are dismissing how they feel. It can make someone sound selfish and uncaring. This is especially true in regards to mental health, a clinically depressed person cannot just get over it and I cannot just get over my OCD rituals that easily.
I’m a bit OCD
OCD is not just being neat and arranging your music collection in alphabetical order, it is a serious mental health condition that can cause someone a great deal of stress and affect their ability to live their everyday life as they would wish. You cannot be just a little bit OCD, you either meet the criteria to be diagnosed with it by a mental health professional or you do not. The use of this phrase trivialises OCD and can prevent those really suffering from seeking help.
But you don’t look disabled
Some people seem to assume disabled people all use wheelchairs or at least some kind of walking aid and when they do not, act surprised when someone tells them they are disabled. If someone considers their condition disables them, they are disabled, even if that condition does not require a walking aid. Some people use this phrase when someone uses a disabled parking badge or disabled toilet but does not conform to their stereotype of disabled. It is no one’s business why someone uses these facilities and people should not judge on appearances alone.
What do you do?
In other words, how do you earn a living? This can be an awkward question when you live on benefits and have not had paying work in some years. When I tell people I sometimes get the rude eye role of ‘oh, you are one those lazy people who sponge off society’ or sometimes they just assume it must be because I am special needs, which, while that might sort of be partly true, they then often get rather patronising. When some people ask I do not mind so much, but when someone I have only just met asks me or someone who really does not need to know, I can find it rather annoying. It can help to say I volunteer, although some people do not respect volunteering and think it is an excuse to stay on benefits and not do ‘proper’ work.
Young people today show no respect
This is a stupid expression since all age groups have some disrespectful people among them. I have seen elderly people disrespect the young just as much as I have seen the young disrespect them. In fact even this expression is disrespectful as it makes out all the young are the same. Respect is a two way street, are the elderly respecting the young in the first place?
Young people often get called snowflakes now whenever they challenge an older person’s point of view or bring them up on their offensive behaviour such as racist jokes or use of derogatory expressions. A special snowflake is used to describe a millennial that is seen as over sensitive, thinking the world revolves around them and that just moan about everything, but do not really care. The current issue they are moaning about will not last; it will melt away and be replaced by a new one like a snowflake. This is used to dismiss any younger person’s point of view by some and does not help a generation of young people already struggling to find their place in the world. As Shelly Haslam-Ormerod says in online magazine The Conversation, ‘flippant stereotyping of a generation as weak based on their mental well-being contradicts efforts to reduce mental health stigma’. As a millennial myself I find the term not only offensive, but used as a lazy argument or when an older person has clearly got no other defense for what they have said or done.
That’s so gay
Younger people often seem to use this expression now to mean something is bad, rubbish or stupid. I am not sure how this came about, but it makes me uncomfortable. It gives the word gay negative associations and I am sure the gay community does not need more negativity.
Charity begins at home
Look after your own family and direct circle first, or in other words unless I have to come into direct contact with you regularly, I will not be offering you any help. It is used as an excuse to not give any money or time to others by mostly quite selfish people. I cannot see why I cannot care about both my family and friends and other wider causes at the same time, but this expression seems to be saying this is impossible to do, which is simply not true.
I’m not racist, but…
Excuse me whilst I am actually racist. If you feel you need to justify what you are about to say with this expression then do not say it or you simply are racist. A truly non racist person would never need to make that statement in the first place.