What are the most annoying platitudes?

Sometimes when people are trying to be helpful, all they can think to say is a platitude. Often this has the effect of making people feel worse, not better. Here’s a list of the most annoying platitudes people say. 

It’s true that technically some of these are cliches, others are aphorisms, but they’re all used for similar reasons and can be equally irritating. It’s interesting to note how many of them conflict with each other.

  • There’s no I in Team (what about healthy teams that appreciate constructive individuality?)
  • Good things come to those who wait
  • It was meant to be (then why did we bother trying to make it not be?)
  • The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results (sometimes you have to do the same exact thing many times to get the result you want – it’s called practice)
  • Time heals all wounds (how about losing a limb?)
  • Such is life
  • Forgive and forget
  • Everything happens for a reason (including suffering and early death?)
  • People are our most important asset
  • It is what it is
  • What the mind can conceive, it can achieve
  • Winners never quit
  • What doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger
  • I don’t want a team of champions, I want a champion team. (Note that there is an I in “champion team”)
  • Teamwork to make the Dream work
  • “C’est la vie”
  • Hard work always pays off
  • God has a plan for you
  • Great minds think alike
  • Money can’t buy happiness
  • Live each moment like it’s your last (not very pleasant)
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try try again (maybe you should try elsewhere)
  • Follow your passion
  • Follow your bliss (what if mine is cocaine?)
  • That’s just my personal opinion
  • Let’s not reinvent the wheel
  • It’s not rocket science
  • It’s all good
  • What goes up, goes down
  • After the storm the sun will shine
  • Don’t assume – it makes an ASS out of U and ME
  • Don’t be sad because it’s over, be glad that it happened
  • Love means never having to say you’re sorry (Then please don’t love me)
  • We are where we are
  • What goes around comes around
  • What’s done is done
  • Waste not want not
  • It has to be somewhere (as if this helps you find something that’s lost)
  • Nice guys finish last
  • Go with the flow
  • Only dead fish go with the flow
  • No offense, but…
  • Rome wasn’t built in a day
  • Work smarter, not harder
  • There’s no I in team
  • Life doesn’t give you things you can’t handle (depends on what life gives you, doesn’t it?)
  • You’re as young as you feel
  • Age is just a number
  • It’s just software
  • We’re all in this together
  • Everything always works out in the end
  • Time heals all wounds
  • We’ll all be laughing about this soon
  • It’s doesn’t matter if you win or lose, only that you try
  • Tomorrow is another day
  • It could be worse
  • You are what you eat
  • It’s neither here nor there
  • Think outside the box
  • It will all look better in the morning
  • Take the lemons and make lemonade
  • The best things in life are free
  • It wasn’t meant to be
  • Better to have loved and lost…
  • That’s for me to know and you to find out
  • Better late than never
  • With all due respect
  • The road to hell is paved with good intentions (so I should have bad intentions then? is that how the road to heaven is paved?)
  • Gossip is the devil’s radio
  • Laugh and the world laughs with you
  • People regret the things they didn’t do
  • Beauty is only skin deep
  • You can’t judge a book by it’s cover
  • Work hard, play hard
  • Only the good die young
  • All’s fair in love and war
  • All men are created equal
  • There are plenty more fish in the sea
  • The more things change, the more they stay the same
  • It’s the darkest just before dawn (have you seen a dawn?)
  • Fail harder
  • Perception is reality (except when your perception is very bad)
  • you can be anything that you want to be
  • Patience is a virtue
  • I’m sorry that’s not what you want to hear
  • This will hurt me more than it hurts you (well lets switch places and find out)
  • The customer is always right
  • If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen (maybe we can make the kitchen better?)
  • Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm
  • Be careful what you wish for
  • With great power comes great responsibility
  • Just think about how much worse other people have it
  • God never gives us more than we can bear (see death, misery, history of suffering)

What comes to mind? Leave a comment (240+ already have below). Thanks.

548 Responses to “What are the most annoying platitudes?”

  1. Stirner

    I can’t stand it when people say “Last time I checked,” in an argument. It’s always about something obvious that the person has never ‘checked’ on. For example, “Last time I checked, the sky was blue.” You’ve never checked to see if the sky was green so what the hell are you taking about? Or how about, “Last time I checked, water was wet”. Yes, water is wet, we all know that, but you have never found yourself in a position where you had to ‘check’ to see if water suddenly became dry. I realize it’s a rhetorical device but it’s annoying, pointless and nonsensical.

    1. Stephen Einbinder

      The person saying “Last time I checked” is being sarcastic. Maybe sarcasm in general is itself a platitude?

    2. paul

      Yes, Last time you checked but it was nothing to be seen.

      1. Rob

        Last time I checked, the expression was “what the hell are you talking about,” not “what the hell are you t a k i n g about”.

        “At the end of the day,” “in terms of,” “your narratives,” they do “resonate” with me, though.


        1. stirner

          “Last time I checked, the expression was…”

          Well maybe you should’ve checked a few more thousand times because what you’re referring to is not an ‘expression’ at all, it’s a typo in one word, which cannot be fixed because there is no edit function for comments, since they are essentially anonymous.

    3. Wayne Bennett

      How is it possible that “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” is not on the list?
      Is that not a platitude?

    4. Ryan Holt

      Water is not wet.

  2. Stephen Barry Einbinder

    Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    1. Mike R

      My favorite come back to that: “Yes, but three lefts make a right”

  3. Robert J Thomas

    “We offer our thoughts & prayers”, a vapid platitude rather than a viable solution, such as an assault rifle & high capacity magazines ban, complete background checks including gun shows & internet, and longer waiting periods!

    1. Edmund

      Hear hear. It’s like in ‘Curb’ when Larry says “If there’s anything I can do…” He, though, has the audacity and moxie to call it what it is: an empty gesture.

  4. “It is what it is.”

    Of course it is what it is – its hardly going to be what it isn’t now is it? Its the worst most overused platitude these days.

  5. Janet

    2 things I cant stand! (1) the remark “tell me about it” after you’ve related something going on in your life. In other words, they have it worse & aren’t interested, in any case it shuts the conversation right down. (2.) “who knew”? after you’ve given someone some info they didn’t know, in other words if they didn’t know it, who would? and please don’t tell me “enjoy” when you serve my food

    1. Max

      What’s wrong with “enjoy”? It’s a shortened version of “I hope you enjoy your food”, not a command! So what’s the issue?

    2. mike

      Thank you. I really hate the enjoy platitude. What if I don’t want to enjoy it? You can’t make me enjoy it. (some Carlin-like thoughts there). I try to never use it. I’ll just say hope you like it or something else that projects that I know what a synonym is rather than be a parrot.

    3. Juliet

      And what the hell does “Have a good one.” mean? A good one what? Which ones are the good ones?

  6. Cat

    “Life is a gift”. It enrages me when I hear that. Life is anything BUT a gift, more like a curse or a tragedy.

    1. Hank

      Have no fear, the end is near-

  7. Juana

    That would mean the world to me.
    I’m so sorry.
    Snap out of it.
    Most people don’t know what they want but they know they don’t have it.
    You snooze, you lose.
    Dance with the one that brought ya.
    The early bird gets the worm.
    Blondes have more fun.
    Bigger is better.
    Elephants never forget.
    Seeing is believing.
    Boys will be boys.
    Time is money.
    Variety is the spice of life.
    Honest is the best policy.
    No news is good news.
    Children should be seen and not heard.
    Love conquers all.
    Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
    You can never be overdressed or over-educated.
    Pain before beauty.
    Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

    1. Max

      “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is certainly overused, but at least it alludes to an interesting observation on human interaction that might not necessarily be obvious.

    2. Susan Di Santo

      I hate it when clerks and sales people elevate one’s response to a mundane data question to the level of absolutely flawless. The overstatement just reflects how tedious their sense of achievement is. It makes me cringe.

  8. Becky B

    here’s another one that p**es me off; “The heart wants what the heart wants” – as if that makes lying cheating and ruining lives OK. What does it even mean? When I hear it it sounds like the person is trying to be profound or poetic or tragically following their heart, but to me it’s just a crappy way of getting out of responsibilities for bad actions and in truth they are probably just cheating cads. Bad saying whoever invented it! Also “life’s too short”…. followed by some judgmental statement. Completely meaningless.

  9. Becky B

    worse than a simple platitude is a sanctimonious platitude. SANCTIMONIOUS: hypocritically pious or devout. I see examples of these plastered everywhere. Spare me!

  10. willem

    How about “Your call is very important to us.”

  11. Becky

    “The Guest House” by Rumi. This is the third time this week someone has quoted this %#^$*$. I really can’t stand it – not sure if it’s a platitude.

  12. jason

    can i just say, y’all are being the most angsty humans ever. seriously, there’s nothing wrong with platitudes- they actually carry pretty useful messages if you can get past your angsty, obtuse self and actually learn something from your mistakes. especially if the person saying them is genuine, what right does that give you to disregard them trying to help you?

    1. Anonymous

      Do you want some kind of prize for half-cocked sympathy? If you’re only looking for gratification for helping people then you have the wrong priorities.

    2. stirner

      “y’all are being the most angsty humans”

      Appeal to emotion fallacy. Being ‘angsty’ is not a negative quality, it only becomes one when you use it pejoratively in order to bully people, which is exactly what you did.

      “…learn something from your mistakes”

      Strawman fallacy. Nobody is talking about making mistakes here, the topic is ‘annoying platitudes’.

      “if the person saying them is genuine, what right does that give you to disregard them trying to help you?”

      What?! If a Scientologist grabs you off the street as you happened to be walking by their headquarters, and tells you that he’s trying to help you by recruiting you to Scientology, are you going to join Scientology just because, as you claimed, you have no right to disregard anyone trying to help you? Of course not. You’re just here to bully people, probably because some of your favorite platitudes that you use frequently have been completely eviscerated and ridiculed here.

  13. Dawn

    Exactly! I was just saying that! I was noticing most all of these platitudes are actually caring expressions of understanding and positive, optimistic ways to look at life! Turn that frown upside down!

    1. BB

      That’s a platitude too….. If “everything happens for a reason” is ok with you, so be it. To me it’s like fingers on a chalkboard – I never analyzed why – maybe the lack of any mental effort behind it, or because it’s an opinion stated as a fact. It is pretty dismissive as well.

    2. Matthieu

      Caring? I hear them more as brushing off someone’s genuine worry. “Tra la lahh, things will work out” is not a caring response to someone who’s suffering.

  14. Marilyn Sneddon

    Thanks for these examples of platitudes. I hate most of them and it’s great to see the definitions and hear others’ responses. When my son died in an accident many years ago, the use of platitudes made me not only angry, but also very hurt and more miserable (sad). imagine telling someone whose precious boy has just dies ‘that everything happens for a reason’ or ‘only the strong are tested’?. And furthermore, my son didn’t pass away or get lost!

  15. Chris

    “Time heals all wounds.” This one would be much more accurate if you said, “Time heals wounds that have been dealt with properly.” If someone gets raped and never gets the help they are desperately trying to get, 60 years can go by and their wounds will never heal.

    On the other hand, if the rape victim is met with love and compassion, especially from other rape victims who know exactly what each other are going through, then yes, time is more likely to heal those wounds.

    The problem with saying “time heals all wounds” to people is that it can make them feel like there is something wrong with them if time has gone by and they are still suffering. They start doubting themselves and beating themselves up because they can’t “just get over it.”

  16. linda r nycum

    One of the very worst platitude I hear about in practice is when someone dismisses another’s suffering by stating the stupidly obvious- “It’s all in the past.”

  17. Anonymous

    “You Are Not Alone”

    I see and hear that one all the time, and every time it feels insulting, dismissive, and insincere. It’s like people say it without even recognizing the reason why they’re saying it. They just parrot it to other people because “that’s what you’re suppose to say to people who are depressed.” It doesn’t actually address the problems of the individual. What if they know there’s other people in similar circumstances? Most of the time they’re aware they have a network of friends to rely on. Maybe they WANT to be alone for a while? Ironically, the people who say this say it because they want the other person to know they understand, when in reality if they’re using this phrase the truth is they really don’t.

  18. Kristi Foster-Barei

    “They’re a better place now.”
    Just the worst thing to say to someone who has lost a loved one, yet so many people stupidly say this!!!

    1. Richard

      Agree! It;s also assuming you’re a Christian, like they are. I’m a atheist and we have to put up with so much B.S in our daily lives due to the bible thumpers assuming we ALL believe in fairy tales like they do.
      My Dad dies when I was 3 years old, I ask these people “what, exactly, was the reason” for him dying? I never get a answer.

  19. Mike R

    You just tell a so called friend about some tragic event in your life and there only response is. “Wow. That really sucks, dude”.

    1. stirner

      “Wow. That really sucks, dude.” is the kind of thing we anti-platituders should WANT people to say because it is honest and to the point, unlike platitudes.
      What would you rather the person say/do? “That really sucks, here’s fifty bucks”? or “That really sucks, and by my utilitarian calculations, it’s worth 19.53 hugs”?

  20. Jeremy Flowers

    The Royal Mail … “sorry for the delay”. We’ll put you through to an advisor as soon as one becomes available….

  21. Jeff Andrew

    I find myself alone in finding these sayings banal, but some very popular “self esteem” ideas just irk me:

    “You are not alone!” (and now I’ll hang up and let you go back to a lonely house in the country where you’re only neighbors are family who have disowned you).

    “You are enough!” (I suspect this was created to replace the previous, because so many people were like “the hell I’m not alone!”).

    “Don’t over think it” (translation, “please don’t make me think”).

    “Live only in the moment” (there really isn’t any other option, but I don’t think that should discount reflection on the past or consideration of the future).

  22. ricardo dododo

    “been here, done that”

  23. Lillian

    I have certainly said several of these at various times. I am basically an optimist but I also see the B.S. After being I’m Facebook for years I am really bored with the platitudes.
    Recently being widowed one I tire of is ” Let me know if there is anything I can do”. I want to reply, ” Can you bring him back to life young and in perfect health?” But, of course people mean well and they really don’t know what to say AND- in a week or less they will move on and forget all about it. But ok, I have done the same. You are just relieved that it is not you. But one day it is you.

  24. Paul Carpenter

    The only difference between men, and boys, is the price of their toys.

    Ride it like you stole it.

  25. Nana

    Here’s one someone dear to me uses when I’m in despair:
    “The world is round, we’ll get there”
    Talk about useless wording, lol

  26. Bonnie Freed

    Thank you for your service? I cringe every time I hear it.

  27. Richard

    For for the ridicules “When it’s your time, it’s your time”. I try to apply logic and respond: ” so if it’s one persons time and you’re on a 737 which is plunging fast and seats about 130 people, what do you tell the other people”?

  28. Helena

    What about “let’s agree to disagree”? It makes me cringe every time I hear it.

      1. Stephen

        I don’t find that one as annoying as some other beaten-to- death platitudes.

    1. Buzz Weston

      Translation: “I lost the argument, and am unwilling to admit it.”

  29. Shane

    I’m annoyed to see most of what’s on that list because a lot of times they are things that are true. Here’s one that does bother me as a single person unsuccessfully finding a prospect. “Oh you’ll find the right woman someday”. Oh right, okay. I didn’t realize each person who has said that to me had psychic abilities. I feel real assured.


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