If someone uses these 15 phrases, they’re probably fake nice

Picture this: you attend a social gathering and meet someone who seems excessively pleasant.

They nod enthusiastically to everything you say and shower you with apparent compliments.

Or, perhaps you’re friendly with a person who always seems agreeable.

But no matter how sweet they are, every interaction with them leaves a sour taste in your mouth.  

Are they being authentic, or do they excel at hiding their true colors?

If someone uses these 15 phrases, they’re probably fake nice.

Learning to read between the lines will help you distinguish the real ones from the pretenders.

1) “Wow, you’re brave for wearing that.”

I’ve met my fair share of mean girls during my high school and college years.

The most important thing I’ve learned is that they hide their intentions behind a façade of friendliness or popularity.

They call you pretty to your face and a loser behind your back.

Even worse, many of them don’t outgrow their mercenary tendencies during adulthood. Crude behavior sticks to them like flies to a honey pot.

On the bright side, being around them made me fluent in backhanded compliments, one of the most lethal weapons in their arsenal. 

They use them to subtly criticize or belittle others while maintaining the appearance of kindness.

Case in point – anyone who calls you “brave” for wearing something doesn’t admire your style.

Quite the opposite.  

2) “You have a unique sense of style.”

A variation of the phrase above, this one pokes fun at your outfit in an understated, but cutting manner.

The phrase is meant to suggest that not only is your style eccentric, but the person uttering the sentence would never be caught wearing something like that.

They don’t envy your fashion sense; they think it’s nuts.

3) “I love how you just don’t care what anyone thinks.”

This phrase is often used in situations where someone disapproves of your behavior or choices but doesn’t want to confront you directly.

It’s not only passive-aggressive but downright insulting.

By saying they admire your lack of concern for others’ opinions, the speaker is criticizing you for being too unconventional, whatever that means.

In other words, they’re being fake nice.

Granted, if you hear this one from a friend you trust and who actually knows you, it’s meant as a genuine compliment.

If you hear it from someone who has a track record of being judgy and a bit of a snob?

Not so much.  

4) “You’re lucky to be so carefree.”

On the surface, “You’re lucky to be so carefree” seems like a positive remark about your easygoing nature.

Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll realize that the speaker may not admire you as much as they want you to think.

The implication behind this statement is that your carefree attitude is solely a result of luck, not effort.

The speaker doesn’t believe that you’re taking accountability for your choices.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

5) “It’s cute how you always speak your mind.”

Another thing I’ve learned from interacting with mean girls is that the word “cute” can have sarcastic connotations.

It may generally be associated with charm and endearment, but when the person using it is an adult it usually conveys they think you’re acting in a naive or childish manner.

In this phrase, it’s clearly meant sarcastically.

The speaker doesn’t think that your attitude is “cute.”

They think your fondness for speaking your mind is amusing or, worse, annoying.

Don’t take them by their word.

6) “I could never be as laid-back as you.”

Anyone who says they could never be as *insert adjective here* as you or do something you do is secretly judging you for it.

This phase conceals a more insidious agenda.

The speaker is either trying to suggest they disapprove of your attitude or trying to manipulate you into continuing to act this way to serve their own interests.

Whatever the purpose may be, they’re being fake nice.

You don’t need this kind of negativity in your life.

7) “You’re such a free spirit.”

Is the person telling you this a fan of your adventurous nature?

Or are they bashing you for defying societal norms?

I’ll let you be the judge of that.

8) “I’m sure you’ll find someone soon.”

things fake people do that show a lack of authenticity If someone uses these 15 phrases, they’re probably fake nice

The phrase “I’m sure you’ll find someone soon” appears as a well-meaning comment meant to offer hope and encouragement to anyone seeking a romantic partner.

As a perpetually single person, I’ve heard it so many times during my lifetime I’ve lost count.

But here’s the thing: more often than not, the phrase isn’t reassuring.

It comes across as condescending.

In their efforts to appear nice, the speaker dismisses your potential feelings of loneliness or frustration, while also suggesting that your current single status is undesirable and something you need to change.

The person uttering the phrase isn’t displaying empathy; they’re trying to end the conversation.

9) “Oh, honey!”

Whenever I hear this phrase, I think of the How I Met Your Mother episode of the same title.

Far from being a term of endearment, “Oh, honey!” suggests that the speaker sees themselves as more knowledgeable than the person they’re addressing, and they’re using the phrase to subtly belittle them.

If you hear someone saying this to you in a patronizing tone, they’re not trying to convey their affection.

They’re probably being fake nice while making fun of you in the process.

10) “I’m just being honest.”

Funny how this remark is always uttered after someone says something cruel:

  • It serves as a shield to justify hurtful or blunt remarks
  • It’s a way to deflect responsibility for offensive comments
  • It disregards your feelings as the speaker prioritizes their desire to express their opinion over how upset hearing it may be to you

There’s a big difference between a loved one hitting you with harsh truths and a casual acquaintance spewing unsolicited advice.

When it’s the latter, the speaker is only nice on the surface.

That brings us to the next phrase on the list.

11) “I’m just looking out for you.”

If someone uses this infantilizing phrase, they’re probably fake nice.

They act like they’re doing something that is in your best interests. 

In reality, they’re more likely trying to influence your decisions to align with their agenda.

Besides, if the speaker is constantly overriding your wishes because they know best, they’re slowly but surely demolishing your confidence.

Don’t let them.

12) “We should hang out sometime soon.”

While this phrase is more benign, it’s usually used vaguely, without any genuine intention of following through.

How many times have you bumped into an old acquaintance and said it, even though you never meant to make concrete plans?

I rest my case.

13) “Well, as long as you’re happy!”

This phrase appears supportive, yet it’s sometimes used to avoid addressing underlying issues or conflicts.

By seemingly prioritizing your happiness above all else, the speaker may be attempting to sidestep uncomfortable conversations.

For example, you tell your friend that you quit your stable job to pursue a wild dream, and they say this phrase instead of raising (likely valid) concerns.

I’m not saying your loved ones shouldn’t be supportive.

However, perhaps we don’t have to always value niceness over authenticity?

14) “It’s not that bad.”

This phrase is a form of fake niceness because it minimizes your negative experiences or concerns.

Rather than empathizing with your plight, the speaker is trying to convince you that what you’re going through isn’t so bad after all.

They’re also suggesting that maybe you shouldn’t complain that much.

They insist they are hearing you, trying to come across as supportive.

In truth, they’re invalidating your feelings, which is the opposite of providing support.

15) “I hope this email finds you well.”

We’re all guilty of this one.

Say it isn’t so.

Bottom line

While tone and context matter, the phrases above are rarely sincere.

They can speak volumes about a person’s true personality; and “nice” isn’t the first word I would use to describe them.

If your gut tells you that something isn’t quite right, believe it.

Your instincts are probably spot on. 

Picture of Alexandra Plesa

Alexandra Plesa

Alexandra Pleșa is a freelance writer obsessed with television, self-development, and thriller books. Former journalist, current pop culture junkie. Follow her on Twitter: @alexandraplesa

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.