The world’s most overused phrases

After a particularly rough medical year for my extended family, we have been inundated with well-wishing cards, calls and social media posts.  While I have no doubt that each one is sincere in heart and purpose, there are two words repeated over and over that have come to make me shudder rather than savor the sympathy.

“You are in our thoughts and prayers.”

Perhaps I’m jaded because of the many health tragedies my family and I have experienced over the years.  But to me, these words seem so hollow, so overused by even the unfaithful, that they make me laugh.  Literally. (Which is #2 on my list).

I heard my husband, who hasn’t stepped foot in church other than for a baptism or burial in the 25 years I’ve known him, say this to someone recently. In fairness, he is a devoted friend, the kind that would drop everything to help even a mere acquaintance.  So while I know he was being sincere, and certainly is concerned, I’m sure lightning would strike twice before he prayed for anyone.

Another one that gets me is “We’re thrilled to…”

This one appears in press releases daily, as in “We’re thrilled to have John join our management team.”  By definition, thrilled is to “cause (someone) to have a sudden feeling of excitement and pleasure; to cause to quiver, tremble, or vibrate. I’m quite sure that no executive I know has done the jig or had seizure-like symptoms due to a new hire.

Some of my other “favorite” now empty, meaningless words that are overused daily, particularly by business people, are:

3. “Think outside the box.”
4. The word “amazing” to describe anything that isn’t truly amazing (to overwhelm with surprise or sudden wonder; astonish greatly).
5. “These difficult economic times.”

Many people (myself  included) write or say these phrases all the time by mere habit.  If everbody stopped using them, it’s not like the world would be a better place in any measurable way.  Yet hearing them simply makes my skin crawl. It’s time to retire them.  What words would you like to nominate for the list?

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