Expressions That Irk Me

“There are two sides to every story.”

This expression assumes that truth is unknowable or that it doesn’t even exist. A variation on this expression is “There are three sides to every story” (presumably, yours, mine, and the truth). I admit there are times that neither party is telling the truth (perhaps due to deceitful motives, perhaps due to differing perspectives taken on the same event/issue), and that two versions of the same story can both have accuracies and inaccuracies. I realize that it’s smart not to jump to conclusions or assume you know all the relevant facts. However, I reject the inherent implication that truth can never be known, blame can never be attributed, and people can never be held responsible for their own wrongdoing. I have also found this expression absolves others of picking sides even when there’s been obvious harm done to someone. It makes it very convenient to shrug and go, “Well, because I cannot be sure I know the entire story from beginning to end, including all the details in the middle, I don’t need to worry about acting on or making inconvenient conclusions based on what I DO know.” It allows third parties to be fence-sitters and avoid confrontation and commitment.

“All’s fair in love and war.”

This expression was actually coined by poet John Lyly in 1578. Whenever I hear this expression, it is being used to excuse bad behavior by at least one partner in a romantic relationship or to excuse bad behavior in time of war. This can include breaking up one’s family or cheating on one’s partner, or even committing war crimes. Considering the Crusades are over, we realize that “might makes right” (hey, there’s another awful expression!) is not the motto a civilized society should live by, and the fact we live in the 21st century, let’s lock this expression away in the vault of the past forever.

“My truth/your truth.”

One phrase I had not heard until relatively recently is “my truth” or “your truth”, as in “This is my truth” or “I am going to speak my truth.” Although I readily admit we all have different perspectives, and it’s important to speak our minds, the truth cannot be skewed or personalized to fit our individual preferences, biases, neuroses, religions, or world views. I would prefer to hear, “I am going to state my perspective/ feelings/thoughts/experience, etc”.

What are some common expressions you can’t stand?

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