10 everyday phrases that basically mean "Get F****d”

10 everyday phrases that basically mean “Get *****d”

We use them, and hear them, all the time.

Politely worded little sentences that in fact contain a very clear message. And that message is often highly aggressive, or at best dismissive and derisory.

Often, the words are themselves pedantically polite, but the tone, and the intent are most definitely the opposite.

Here are 10 of the classic passive-aggressive phrases we all hear daily;

Do you use them? Should you?

“Please don’t take this the wrong way, but…”
“No offence, but…”
“With the greatest respect…”
“Thanks, but we have tried that before…”
“Sorry, that’s not my job”
“Thanks, but we have always done it this way….”
“Well, in my experience…”
“Can I be totally honest with you…?”
“Good luck with that.”
“I know you mean well, but…”

This list has got to be just a start.

What other passive/aggressive phrases do you hear? Or use? Please let us know in the comments below.


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Over a career spanning thirty years, Greg Savage has established himself as a global recruitment leader. Greg is a regular keynote speaker at staffing and recruitment conferences around the world.

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26 Responses to 10 everyday phrases that basically mean “Get *****d”

  1. Emily Morgan October 21, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    So very right you are Greg! My all time fav is “no offense but…”, if you really meant no offense then why use that phase in the first place?

    Something obviously told you that the other person would find your statement offensive, people should either just say it OR don’t.

    • ginger buckendahl October 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

      In the South we say…Bless your/her/his heart, but…..

  2. Alan Allebone October 21, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    Unfortunately I use

    “Sorry to trouble you but”

    “Sorry to take up your time”

    ” I know your time is precious”

    But I hear from clients and sometimes candidates:

    “I am busy at the moment”

    “In my opinion”

    “No offence but”

    “That does not work, we have tried it”

  3. Matthew October 21, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    Yeah, nah…

  4. john milce October 21, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

    my personal favourite – “Correct me if I’m wrong” – only used when you know you are 100% right;-)

  5. Sarah Keen October 21, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    I can see you’ve put a lot of thought/work into this, but…..

    (but: fortunately I had a premonition and brought along my ideas which are better.)

  6. Wayne V. October 21, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    In and out of business:
    “I hope you don’t mind if I ask, but…” (the speaker is going to ask anyway, regardless of possible offence taken)

  7. Fergal Bell October 21, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    “That’s an interesting idea” – really meaning: “Only someone who’s been in the job for five minutes would have thought of that”.

  8. Lisa October 21, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    I used to see the ‘No offence but..’ one ALL the time on parenting forums years ago. And it was ridiculous, because if someone was posting that they give their toddler beer in a sippy cup,why bother with ‘No offence, but that is a bad decision’ when you what you WANT to say is ‘OMG I cant believe you have been allowed to breed.’ Actually it always got very exciting when someone lost their need to be ‘polite’ and actually said what they really meant.

    Of course that does take things from passive aggressive to nuclear but makes great reading!

    p.s the one that drives me mad is ‘Sorry, but..’ and the one that drove my ex husband mad was “Whatever” which HAS to be the most passive aggressive word in any language. And possibly explains why he is an ex husband *wink*.

    • Deb November 1, 2014 at 10:07 am #

      Other Ex-H’s lines that drove us over the edge:
      Don’t blame me ….. it’s not my fault that…… someone else should be held accountable

      Danger zone – when you hear your sons saying same lame statement………..

      has alot to do with the ‘EX’ status “WINK” and a big smile thrown in.

  9. Leigh Ann October 21, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    ‘…you must understand’

    ‘….what i am trying to say…” (read… ‘you are so bloody stupid i have to try and say it another way’ !)

  10. Debbie Dickerson October 21, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

    “Bless your heart…but”
    “Yes, that is one point of view, however…”

    Most of the time when I want to tell somebody to Eff off, I say, “F%$K off!” I don’t do too well with beating around the bush! When I can’t say those words exactly, I simply smile (Kindness creeps most people out!)

  11. Mark October 21, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

    What do you want me to say,….,
    Used when the person has screwed up and you have called them on it
    What they means is ” you think I have screwed up but I don’t give a stuff so what are you going to do about it”
    Usually delivered in a very churlish tone

  12. Trish Robinson October 21, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    My all time worst is….
    I hear what you are saying BUT……
    In other words – I gave you some airtime but I am not going to actually listen to what you have to say.

  13. Anne Smith October 22, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    At the end of the day……..

  14. Adam E October 23, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    Sun Tzu wrote “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”…
    In the corporate world, that’s expressed by:

    “I’m trying to help you…”

  15. Dave Nerz November 18, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    How about

    “Thanks…but no thanks!”

    “Is that a fact.”


  16. Dawn Berko December 4, 2014 at 5:53 am #

    ‘To be honest with you…….!’ Means I’m going to be anything but
    Obviously. My pet hate. Obvious to whom? Your so stupid that you can’t grasp the obvious. If it’s that obvious why say it.

    Basically another ‘padder’ word

    Test is, remove obviously and basically from a sentence and it will still mean the same thing.

  17. Shauna-Marie Wilson December 29, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    Individuals with emotional intelligence will already know how the other is thinking. Using EI can unlock some hidden messages. Greg’s stuff is great to read as it offers real insights into his industry to people outside it.

  18. Dan Lee January 10, 2015 at 4:25 am #

    With all due respect… as if!

  19. John January 22, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    whatever …

  20. Karen Gordon-Lewis January 20, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

    Said through a smile with clenched teeth:

    “If I can be frank … ” (they’re just waiting to have a go!)

    “I can see your point, however …” (they have no intention of allowing your highly valid point to change their mind)

  21. Nitski May 9, 2016 at 7:58 pm #

    Here are a few of my brothers favourites- ‘for f..k’s sake! Or- ‘don’t count your chickens’.

  22. Adam July 6, 2016 at 5:37 pm #

    Guilty of “What I’m trying to say…”

  23. Mark December 1, 2016 at 6:07 am #

    ‘Sorry about it’ is my all time favorite.

  24. Kim December 2, 2016 at 1:41 am #

    “Can I make a suggestion…?”

    Always said in a patronising manner, when it’s something they have nothing to do with and no experience of.

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