If someone uses these 12 phrases, they’re only pretending to be polite

Ever been around someone who seems polite, but something doesn’t quite add up? They’re saying all the “right” things, but your gut is telling you it’s all for show?

Guess what? Your instincts might be onto something.

Let’s dive into 12 phrases often used by people who are just pretending to be polite.

1. “No Offense, But…”

Let’s kick things off with a classic.

Ever been in a conversation where the other person throws in a “No offense, but…” before launching into something that was actually pretty offensive?

This phrase is a classic sign of faux politeness. It’s like they’re trying to sugarcoat their harsh words with a thin layer of courtesy.

But let’s be real – if someone truly doesn’t want to offend you, they won’t say offensive things in the first place.

So next time you hear this phrase, remember – it’s often used by people who are just pretending to be polite. Beware!

2. “Just Saying…”

This phrase is often used as a get-out-of-jail-free card after someone has made a rude or unnecessary comment.

They try to make it sound like they’re just throwing out a casual observation, but in reality, they’re often using it to take a jab at you, hide their true intentions, or disguise their rudeness.

True politeness doesn’t require such disclaimers. Genuine people speak their mind without causing hurt or discomfort. 

3. “I Hope You Won’t Take This The Wrong Way…”

This is a classic pretender’s trick to say something potentially hurtful or offensive, but with a built-in safety net.

I had just given a presentation at work, and my colleague came up to me afterwards and said, “I hope you won’t take this the wrong way, but your presentation was kind of lacking in substance.”

Ouch! It was clearly a critical comment, but by using that phrase, my colleague tried to make it seem like constructive feedback.

The truth is, genuinely polite people would find a more considerate and respectful way to share their thoughts.

They wouldn’t need to use such phrases as a cushion for their words. 

4. “With All Due Respect…”

Now, this phrase may sound like a hallmark of politeness, but often, it’s anything but.

It’s usually used as a precursor to a statement that discredits or disagrees with someone else’s viewpoint – not exactly the essence of respect!

The phrase is condescending and insincere.

So if someone starts a sentence with “With all due respect…”, be alert! They might just be putting on a show of being polite.

5. “Bless Your Heart…”

“Bless your heart” – it sounds sweet and caring, right? But sometimes, it’s anything but. Particularly in certain parts of the U.S., this phrase is often used in a rather condescending manner, a veiled way to call someone naive or clueless without sounding too harsh.

Politeness isn’t about disguising negative comments with sweet-sounding words. It’s about showing genuine respect and kindness towards others.

If someone uses “Bless your heart” to mask their true intentions, they’re missing the whole point of being sincere and polite.

Always remember to listen to the tone and context when this phrase is used. It may reveal more than the words themselves do!

6. “I Don’t Want To Be A Burden, But…”

This is another phrase that’s often used by those pretending to be polite. It’s a way of acknowledging that they’re about to ask for a favor or make a request that might inconvenience you, but they’re going to do it anyway.

I once had a friend who would often start her requests with “I don’t want to be a burden, but…”. It made me feel obligated to help, even when it was really inconvenient for me.

But over time, I realized that she was using this phrase to manipulate the situation and make her requests seem smaller than they actually were.

The truth is, genuinely polite people would consider whether their request would put you in a difficult position and if it does, they would either not ask or find a more considerate way to do so.

They wouldn’t need to use such phrases to lessen the impact of their requests. 

7. “Not To Be Rude, But…”

“Not to be rude, but…” is a downright red flag. This phrase is often used by people who are about to be, well, rude.

They say it as if it’s some kind of magic spell that will prevent their following words from being offensive.

Spoiler alert: it doesn’t work that way.

When someone says “Not to be rude, but…”, they’re usually about to drop a comment that they know is inappropriate or hurtful.

They’re fully aware of it, but they say it anyway. That’s not politeness – that’s hiding behind a facade.

Genuinely polite people don’t need to preface their comments with such disclaimers.

They speak truthfully but in a manner that respects the feelings and dignity of others.

So when you hear this phrase, brace yourself for the incoming rudeness and remember – it’s them, not you.

8. “I Was Just Joking…”

This is a common phrase used by people who make an offensive or inappropriate comment, and then try to pass it off as humor when they’re called out on it.

People often use humor as a disguise for expressing socially undesirable sentiments that they actually believe.

So when someone says something hurtful and then tries to cover it up with “I was just joking…”, they might actually be revealing their true thoughts and feelings.

Remember, true politeness involves respect for others’ feelings and sensitivities. 

9. “I Hate To Interrupt, But…”

“I hate to interrupt, but…” is a phrase I’ve heard more times than I’d like to admit. It’s often used by people who, truth be told, don’t hate to interrupt at all.

They just use this phrase as a polite façade before they steamroll over your words.

I remember a time when I was sharing a story with a group of friends and was constantly interrupted by one of them saying, “I hate to interrupt, but…”. It made me feel unheard and unimportant.

Over time, I realized that this person was not being polite at all. Instead, they were using this phrase to dominate the conversation and steer it towards themselves.

Genuine politeness involves listening attentively and allowing others to express themselves without interruption.

If someone uses this phrase frequently, it might indicate that they’re more interested in hearing their own voice than yours. 

10. “Don’t Take It Personally…”

“Don’t take it personally…” is often a coward’s way of saying something potentially hurtful, while trying to dodge any responsibility for how it might make the other person feel.

They say something that they know could upset you, then try to put the blame on you for being upset about it. It’s a classic faux-polite move.

Genuinely polite people don’t make personal attacks in the first place, and they certainly don’t try to make it your fault if you’re hurt by their words.

So if someone tells you “Don’t take it personally…”, remember – their lack of empathy says more about them than about you.

11. “Sorry If You Feel That Way…”

This one’s a doozy. “Sorry if you feel that way…” is not an apology. It might sound like one, but it’s not.

It’s a sneaky way of shifting the blame onto you, instead of taking responsibility for their own actions or words.

It’s their way of saying, “I’m sorry that you’re upset, but I’m not sorry for what I did.”

Real politeness comes with humility and the ability to admit when we’re wrong.

If someone uses this phrase when they should be apologizing, they’re not being truly polite – they’re just pretending.

12. “Let’s Agree To Disagree…”

This phrase can sometimes be used in a positive way to reach a stalemate in an argument where neither side is going to budge.

But often, it’s used as a polite way of shutting down a conversation that someone doesn’t want to continue or when they don’t want to acknowledge valid points you’re making.

Real politeness involves listening to and respecting other people’s viewpoints, even when we don’t agree with them.

If someone frequently uses “Let’s agree to disagree…” to dismiss your opinions, they may be hiding behind a guise of politeness.

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Picture of Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.