10 commonly used phrases that make people look a little bit fake

Have you ever been in a conversation and something just doesn’t feel right? Like the person you’re talking to isn’t being 100% real with you?

Well, you’re not alone.

Sometimes, people use certain phrases so often they end up sounding a bit fake, even if they don’t mean to be.

Let’s explore 10 common phrases that can make someone seem less genuine.

You might just recognize a few!

1. “To be honest…”

First up on our list is “To be honest…” This phrase is used so often that it’s lost its true meaning.

If someone constantly needs to assure you they’re being honest, it makes you wonder, aren’t they always being honest?

Or do they usually fib a bit and only tell the truth when they say this phrase?

It’s one of those expressions that, when overused, can make a person seem less genuine than they might actually be. 

2. “Trust me…”

Speaking of trust, here’s the next phrase on our list: “Trust me…”

Now, this one’s a bit tricky. We say it when we want someone to believe what we’re saying.

But think about it – if you’re being genuine, wouldn’t your words speak for themselves?

If you’re always asking people to trust you, they might start to think that you’re not usually trustworthy.

It’s better to let your actions show that you’re a person who can be trusted, rather than always using this phrase.

3. “No offense, but…”

Next on our list is a phrase I’ve personally stumbled upon quite a few times: “No offense, but…

A few years back, I had a friend who loved to use this phrase before launching into a mini-rant about something.

It always felt like she was trying to soften the blow of her words, but it often had the opposite effect. Instead of making her criticisms seem less harsh, it made them feel insincere.

Like she was hiding behind the phrase instead of genuinely expressing her opinion.

So here’s my advice – if you have something to say, just say it. Skip the “no offense” part.

It’ll make your words feel more honest and less fake. Plus, it shows respect for the other person’s ability to handle your thoughts and opinions.

4. “I’m fine…”

Here’s one you’ve probably heard (or said) a lot: “I’m fine…”

Interesting fact: according to several studies, this is one of the most common lies people tell.

When asked how we are, many of us automatically respond with “I’m fine,” even if we’re not. While it’s often used to avoid burdening others with our problems, overusing this phrase can make us seem insincere.

If you’re always saying you’re fine when you’re not, people might start to question the authenticity of your other statements too. 

5. “It’s not about the money…”

This phrase can be heartfelt, especially when used in the right context.

However, when it’s thrown around casually or used too frequently, it can seem a bit disingenuous.

We all know that money isn’t everything, but it does play a significant role in our lives.

It’s okay to admit that sometimes, it is about the money. By doing so, you’re acknowledging a universal truth and showing that you’re in touch with reality.

This makes you come across as more genuine and relatable.

6. “I hate to say this, but…”

Here’s another one that’s been on my radar: “I hate to say this, but…”

I remember using this phrase often in my early twenties, thinking it made me seem more considerate. But looking back, I realize it was more of a mask, something I hid behind to make harsher comments seem more acceptable. It felt like a disclaimer that allowed me to say whatever I wanted without facing the consequences.

Over time, I learned that if I truly hated to say something, maybe I shouldn’t say it at all.

Or if it needed to be said, I should say it respectfully and directly, without hiding behind this phrase.

7. “I don’t usually do this, but…”

Up next is: “I don’t usually do this, but…”

When someone starts a sentence with this phrase, chances are they do ‘usually do this’. It’s often a lead-in to something the person feels a bit unsure about, or maybe even guilty for doing.

But guess what? We’re all human.

We all make mistakes, we all have quirks, and we all do things we’re not proud of sometimes. Instead of hiding behind this phrase, let’s try owning our actions.

It takes a lot of courage to be honest about who we are and what we do, but in the end, it makes us come across as more authentic and real. 

8. “I’ll get back to you…”

Here’s another phrase you might recognize: “I’ll get back to you…” Now, here’s an interesting fact: according to a study by the Harvard Business Review, only about 50% of people actually follow through on this promise.

When used too often without follow-up, this phrase can make you seem unreliable or insincere. If you genuinely intend to return a call or email, do so promptly. If you can’t commit to a response, it’s better to be honest about it from the start.

Your honesty will be appreciated, and it will make you come across as more trustworthy and authentic. 

9. “I was just kidding…”

Next up is a phrase I’ve used more times than I care to admit: “I was just kidding…” It’s a handy little phrase we often use to backtrack when a joke lands poorly or a comment stings more than intended.

But the truth is, it can often seem like a cop-out, an easy escape route when we’ve accidentally put our foot in our mouths.

I’ve learned over time that it’s better to apologize and acknowledge when a comment of mine has missed the mark, rather than brushing it off as a joke. It shows that I value the other person’s feelings and am willing to own up to my mistakes. 

10. “I completely understand…”

Rounding up our list is: “I completely understand…”

While it’s meant to show empathy, it can often come off as dismissive or insincere, especially if it’s clear that you couldn’t possibly understand the complexity of the situation at hand.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are unique, and sometimes, it’s okay not to fully understand. Instead of defaulting to this phrase, try saying something like, “I can’t imagine how hard this must be for you,” or “I’m here for you even though I may not fully grasp everything you’re going through.”

This kind of honesty can be incredibly powerful and helps to foster deeper, more genuine connections with others.

There you have it—ten phrases that, when overused, can make us seem a bit fake. As we’ve seen throughout this list, the key to coming across as genuine is simple: just be real.

Be honest about your feelings and experiences, own up to your mistakes when they happen, and treat others with kindness and respect.

After all, authenticity is not about being perfect; it’s about being true to who you are.

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Justin Brown

I'm Justin Brown, the founder of Ideapod. I've overseen the evolution of Ideapod from a social network for ideas into a publishing and education platform with millions of monthly readers and multiple products helping people to think critically, see issues clearly and engage with the world responsibly.

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