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.

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

  1. Feier Lai

    I don’t actually mind platitudes when it’s meant to show that the person cares enough to comment at all but just might not know exactly what to say. So it’s more about how they deliver it. The specific words they say doesn’t really matter if there is sincere feeling behind how they’re saying them. In addition, if someone truly believe time heals all wounds and that’s been their experience in life and they’re trying to relate to me with that, fine. If I disagree with the platitude, maybe I’ll point it out and we can have a discussion about it.

    On another note, doesn’t the intense annoyance towards platitudes also say something? That we are all self-important enough to feel like we deserve unique insightful comments from everyone in our lives when they’ve all got so many things to deal with outside of us. Sometimes people care but they don’t have the energy (or intellect) to dig into our souls and psyche and wrack their brains for the perfect quip. It’s nice when the occasional person is able to do that, but I hardly think we’re entitled to it all the time. It’s a gift when people genuinely care, not a given (ha, I can see that becoming a platitude too).

    That said, I can also see why receiving platitudes can feel annoying if all you hear is empty promises.

    1. Wink Knudge

      That’s a good point, one can easily deride all the verbal concoctions developed over time and oft used by the masses, but maybe an example of a new alternative variant of a turn of phrase could be offered to demonstrate the superior ability for a unique response in those situations. If the foo shitz, wear it-

      1. Mark

        I first heard that joke in High School (class of 74), and still get a chuckle. Wondering if it was you who came up with it…

    2. John Farrell

      Well said….

    3. SR3MYH

      There is nothing wrong with platitudes providing they are used with genuine care, but to often they are used by people that think they need to say something but have nothing genuine to say.

    4. Sally

      I agree. I also think that a lot of these aren’t platitudes when taken in the right context…like “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”…I never got that one…and it’s the big, famous line from Love Story…like you loved him/her that much…so much that you don’t have to say you’re sorry because he/she just knows that you are because he/she loves you so much…give me a break…ANY relationship will NOT last if you don’t say you’re sorry when you’ve done something wrong that’s hurt the relationship! End of that ‘story’ :-)

      1. Judy Diamond

        agree with Sally – what a daft quote!

    5. Bob

      Going along with the previous comment.
      One of the worst I hear people say is, “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.”

      1. Kate

        Most people mean it when they ask if there is anything they can do to help, but people are too proud to ask for help, or they don’t want to bother people. It is better to meet a need if you see it, but not everyone is good at seeing which need would make a difference in someone’s life.

        What I find most sad about this article is that quite a few of the “platitudes” mentioned are actually Biblical truths and the writer calls them overused, simplified phrases. They may not mean anything to an unrepentant sinner, but the peace and rest a Christian has because they have learned to wait on, and trust God is very real.

        1. Cathy

          @Scott Berkun
          What Scott said is mostly true, because many people will overuse phrases they dont understand making the true meaning “lost” to both the speaker and hearer of said platitudes. It can be annoying if insincere.
          I truly agree with you @Kate
          [ June 01-2017]
          God’s holy words are not simple nor platitudes.
          In family of God we put our trust in the power of the word of God. So anything said with heartfelt sincereity, spoken in truth, belief does provide, comfort and healing to others.

          People do use phrases that are actually biblical scripture (“misquoted” and taken out of context) which changes their meaning.
          Only because some may not fully realize its scripture or scriptural based and that it came from the Bible.

          For example
          1) * “God never gives us more than we can bear”
          People say this to comfort one another
          But It is really about (temptation to sin) and not how we respond to Life’s tragedies, difficulties and trials.

          “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

          For example
          2) God has a plan for you
          Comes from
          Is for a believer to trust in Gods plan

          “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”

          3) Good things come to those who wait, refers to trusting with Hope and seeking the Lord.
          ( Not just waiting randomly for good things to happen)

          The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
          To the soul who seeks Him.

          I only added the scriptures as reference, so other readers can see the verse in context.

      2. Beetle

        People want to help, but don’t know how. Often I hear up to the word anything, and just shut it off. They mean well. They spoke up. Their participation in my grief is enough. I am thankful. It is what it–oh, that’s right, it’s a duck-billed platitude.

        1. Stephen Einbinder

          I like your pun.

      3. Luke

        As teacher, I genuinely mean this to all my students and often to my friends/family/colleagues. The real problem is when they don’t consider my offer sincere and so never come to me for help with they truly need it.

        Considering something as a platitude could in itself cause problems. It’s almost like a “boy who cried wolf” scenario where people get too turned off by the thoughtless platitudes to notice the earnest statements.

      4. Dori

        I agree Bob. I have heard that one so many times in the months since I lost my son to a drunk driver. Well can you help with counseling? Mowing my lawn when I just don’t have it in me? Or how about a phone call just to see how I am? Empty platitudes…the worst is God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. I’d like to think that God didn’t have anything to do with a person making a very poor choice.

        1. Rhonda Graham

          God does make mistakes. After taking my son, not yours!! How convenient for them!

    6. rad365

      You missed “Lessons will be learned”

    7. Arianna

      I f the next thing you’re gonna do is love me ; I am going to know it (As if we all know everyone s brand of Love)

    8. Kestrel Thwaite

      Oh ya,. just got this one today as a text ” You do what you have to do ethically, financially and of course holistically. There was a face with a tongue sticking out. In other words… ” holier than thou!” or “see..now you are on your own without this platitude spouting ninny”.

    9. Eagley

      @ Feier Lai, 2nd para – well said. Thks.
      I was annoyed with a recent platutide but realize that at least the person did say something instead of simply ignoring my earlier comments.

      1. Doris

        To say “love means never having to say you are sorry,” suggests that when we truly care for someone, we selregulate our own selfish impulses, actions and motives to avoid possibly hurting the person of your affection. Hence you don’t find yourself looking back with regret and having to say you are sorry. It is about becoming more caring and self aware of how your actions may hurt someone.

    10. Steven D Mull

      I guess what you’re saying is that it’s the thought that counts.

    11. Betsy Edwards

      i really liked your comment about platitudes. it
      was thoughtful & relatable. Thank you

    12. Barbara Drewry

      You might want to look up the definition of the word ‘quip.’😐

  2. Max

    Two that always make me grit my teeth:
    “Live, laugh, love.”
    “Another day in Paradise.”

  3. Teresa

    Here’s one I really hate that is being over used at the moment and that is ‘creating memories’. When I choose to do something fun I don’t think of the memories in the future I think of having a good time in that moment. Besides your memories are coloured by your moods and perception of them changes constantly.

    1. Brad

      That one makes me want to reply “yeah, we all are…literally every minute of every day”.

    2. Teresa

      What if you have a bad memory. Then you wouldn’t be able to create good memories but simply have fun in the moment. This is all about society’s pressure not to be in the present but store up things for the future whether it be money, skills, work experience or good memories. I’ve learned more and more to live in the present and pay less attention to the future as you never know what is going to happen in the future.

  4. Bradly

    I find nothing wrong …

  5. Mary

    “No Smoke Without Fire” – So False Accusations have a basis in fact

  6. Bruce

    Just read all the crap people write in yearbooks

  7. Sandy

    If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

  8. Robert Gween

    Don’t be that sad, others have it much more worse.
    No one ever says:
    Don’t be that happy, others are much more happier.

    1. Vincent Fencer

      Just because no one says it, doesn’t mean it is not applicable. The inverse does work:

      “Don’t be that sad, others have it much more worse.”
      (Don’t be a level 4 sadness out of 10 (10 being the deepest sadness), others have a much deeper level of sadness.) Moral: your sadness could really drag you down if you let it.

      “Don’t be that happy, others are much more happier.”
      (Don’t be a level 4 happiness out of 10 (10 being the highest happiness), others have a much higher level of happiness) Moral: you are limiting your happiness.

  9. El Cooper

    Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

    1. Teresa

      I hate that one too. It’s more like 50% of what happens to you and 50% of how you react to it. We’re not exactly spoilt for choice in how we react to things as there is often a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation. Somebody said at church that I had only got into bad situations and got depressed and sick because of choices I had made. Yeah, I could have made other choices. Even worse ones.

  10. Ed

    That said, …..
    Having said that….
    With all that being said….

  11. Fran Johnson

    I broke my arm in 2 places from a fall. So far I’ve heard:
    At least it wasn’t your hip.
    This is an opportunity for your husband to step up (he has enough to do, thank u very much)
    This too will pass (an oldie but goodie)
    and my favorite….it could be worse….it has…now i’ve bursitis in the other arm.
    all from the same person!! can u say insensitive?

  12. Rosalind Alexander Popov

    When my parents passed away in their 90’s, I was devastated; however, I was inundated with, “Well, s/he lived a long, full life.” It was all I could do to appear gracious, for I felt like screaming, “But I never got enough of them!” I hoped I would NEVER have another human being come at me with: “S/he lived a long, full life.” Neither of my parents were “ready to go,” but both of them enjoyed having life immensely. No, my father and mother, nor I, thought their lives had been long enough.

  13. Camilla Loveridge

    This platitude is particularly annoying… when someone wants to get out of a responsibility and asks you “are you sure?”

  14. Shane Montane

    Thoughts and prayers.

    1. Mozza

      oh hell yeah, especially politicians. If their “thoughts and prayers” were with everyone they claim them to be then they’d never get anything done!

      It also seems that this is a deeply ingrained social norm with a mass collusion aspect to it. The press/public expects them to say this and they’re vilified if they don’t. The level of sincerity when it is offered seems irrelevant but the appearance MUST be made!

  15. JC

    Please don’t take offense, but…. I don’t think you should have been so hard on people using platitudes. ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’, as my Gran used to say. Oh well, I guess there’s no point in worrying about spilt milk, or trying to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted. That’s just my opinion, anyway.

    1. Nameless

      I love how you try to defend platitudes by using a platitude. Guess what? People can say what they want, you can say what you want, I can say what I want, and it’s a perpetual cycle. So get that “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” horseshit out of here.

      1. Teresa

        And they are often the same people who say that they never sugar coat what they say and that people should take them as they find them.

      2. Teresa

        I confronted a fellow volunteer about her attitudes and how she had taken over the garden project by coming between the manager and the other volunteers and getting herself onto committees before the rest of us had a chance to reply and she said “if you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all”. I responded with “then that applies to you as well”. I left the project because of her. She had only started volunteering a few months previously later than most of us and wasn’t pulling her weight as she loved to busy herself making a play area for her children to play in and re-arranging the deck chairs while the rest of us were building a rabbit proof fence.

      3. Me

        I think you may have missed the subtle sarcasm there.

      4. Tiffany

        Everything that he said here was a platitude, and I’m pretty sure it was on purpose. It’s called sarcasm, and I got a chuckle out of it.

    2. Anonymous

      When I read this I literally laughed out loud. Nameless really doesn’t understand irony, do they?

  16. E Hardy

    He said “let there be light and there was light”

  17. Samantha

    I loooveee most of these phrases!!! :)

  18. Chris

    – I know how you feel (No you don’t)

    – I understand (No you don’t)

    – Just try to do you best (So… set the bar as high as it goes!! How does that reduce the pressure I’m putting on myself?!)

    – Hang in there (I once said this to someone who was depressed and he said to me later, “Don’t ever say that to someone who is suicidal!”)

  19. Teresa

    Platitudes aren’t so bad when used now and then or haven’t been used for a long time but not when over used and especially by the same person as a ‘panacea’ or explanation for everything. Imagine hearing “there aren’t so queer as folk” or “no point in crying over spilt milk” over and over again ad nauseum. We need comebacks for these.

  20. Tracey

    Sports are a platitude mecca….. “We really need to bring our A game today” (as apposed to be B, C, D or F game you’ve been bringing?) Doesn’t everyone always bring their A game? Not many admit to planning to be sub-par. “I’m just going to half-ass it today” might make people turn off the tv.

  21. Scott Berkun

    A fact about proverbs that greatly enhances their quotability is that they almost always occur in mutually contradictory pairs. “Look before you leap!”-but “He who hesitates is lost.”

    -Herbert Simon

  22. Kathy P

    RE: “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)”

    Practice involves adjusting how you do something. And the result is always in the same “ballpark” regardless of the adjustments. Practicing piano always results in notes played, practicing golf – usually – results in a ball that moves, practice driving means you are in a vehicle, making it do things….

    Example COULD be when practicing driving, you go in reverse — but you want to go forward. But you keep going in reverse, expecting to go forward. And you shift to reverse, but you still go forward. And you curse the car, its occupants, the manufacturer, the weather, the road, the seatbelt, the gear shift, the car manual, the instructor, and anyone else who ever told you that driving wasn’t so difficult. Then you put the gear back in reverse, and yet — it still doesn’t go forward. WTH??? SMH??? Yeah. That’s a great example, actually.

    Another example could be: You want a loving relationship but you keep treating your partners horribly and disrespect them. But you don’t get a loving relationship. No matter how many times you try. You have to completely change the way you are doing this, the way you are interacting, in order to get the desired (different) result.

    I think you understood the point probably before you gave the example but I just wanted to point out the obvious.

    Also regarding the wound, thing. A missing limb is not a wound. The hole where it got lopped off is the wound. And either that heals, or the doctor makes a new hole, ie, cuts more off. Or a person dies. I don’t think this statement was intended to include birth deformities or casualties.

    Thanks for listening.

    1. Kathy P

      I had a typo in my commment. OOPS.
      But you keep going in reverse, expecting to go forward. And you shift to reverse, but you still [want to] go forward.

    2. Stirner

      Thats funny, I was thinking exactly the same things about both of those examples. That rarely happens because I don’t think like most people do. You must be weird.

    3. Teresa

      ‘Practice makes perfect’ is the antidote to ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results’ but the latter makes sense when somebody is repeatedly offering something such as cake to another person who keeps refusing. They are refusing for a reason and that is because they don’t want cake. If they eventually accept it they will do so with resentment and will try and avoid the pushy person in future. There are people who don’t have internal brakes and will say the same old unwelcome and inappropriate remarks to somebody no matter the target’s reaction and who won’t take “no” for an answer. Then they wonder why people are avoiding them.

  23. Donny

    “You’re the best!!!” Really? Am I? You probably say that to everybody who does something nice for you.

  24. Perfect (G)rasp Of The Obvious

    “If you can’t say anything nice…” always seems to mean to me that I can’t honestly speak my mind about someone, and is a Konvenient Konversation Kill.

    “Time heals all wounds.” Sure wish that could apply to a few political and religious struggles around the world. If it were true, we wouldn’t have words like ‘revenge,’ ‘vendetta,’ ‘payback time’…

    ‘Don’t cry over spilled milk.’ Well, I never have cuz I’m lactose intolerant.

    ‘Moving forward…” Ah, gee, do we have to?

    People probably resort to them because they’re too often repeated mindlessly, just to fill airspace.

    Sometimes, ‘silence really is golden.’ And is common to many languages.

    Not sure what the Bible has to do with any of them…

    1. Doris

      Platitudes are a highly useful part of communication. Like a birthday card one can pick the right one to express their exact feelings. Not everyone can author their own
      appropriate words for the grieving. If they did a new platitude would be born. So back off Jack.😠

  25. Gary

    One you left out … “If you need anything, anything at all, just let me know”.

  26. Holt

    This has been a most interesting read and especially the comments that follow.
    Yes, platitudes are what they are, but it’s good to have them for many reasons! 😀

    1. Judy Diamond

      lessons will be learnt

  27. Luke

    As an English teacher in China, I hear a number of overused phrases in speeches such as “every coin has two sides”, “with the development of science and technology”, “as we all know”, “harmonious society” (that one is specific to China),”and so on”, and “in a word” (when it’s more than one word). These phrases are so common, that they must be learning them from their high school English teachers.

    1. Scott Berkun

      How interesting. I find it fascinating how certain terms become canon, often for no particular grand reason, and then are set in the culture or language for all time simply because they became popular at the right time.

  28. Kyle

    We’ve forgotten the virtue of being a good listener. Modern society is very talkative, and people undervalue the merit of patiently listening to family and friends when they have concerns or problems to share. Most of us are not looking for advice in life, certainly not the type of trite “wisdom” these platitudes offer. We simply need to share with another the thoughts in our heads or the experiences that we have had. It is probably better to solicit more details or feelings about someone’s experience that they have shared than to try to seem sympathetic with some throwaway platitude.

    1. Tiffany


      I hope it doesn’t get lost in all of the other ramblings. To summarize: What most people really need is someone to genuinely listen so they can get their feelings out or think things through rather than someone trying to think of “the right words” to say.

  29. Andre

    I find it curious how it appears platitudes surmize a repeating of pre-existing feigned empathy, further supporting and teaching or modeling a lack of originality or ability to connect. Hence furthering a practice that serves no one, except the ones who may attempt to care, but lack the skills, knowledge or desire required. Crutches, everyone of them.

    1. Kestrel Thwaite

      Agreed Andre.,.and recently reading through the obituaries posted from my ‘old’ neighborhood..am finding the phrase ‘peacefully’ passed away..( acceptably boring as dishwater ). why not RAGE, RAGE against the dying of the light…{ thank you Mr. Thomas ) to hell with this placid acceptance of death..and another thing.. why not say the person died… is dead..not this veiled smoozy pillow. This pitiable approach caused me to start composing my own obit in case someone decides to smooth over the prickles! Cheers..

      1. Stirner

        “. why not RAGE, RAGE against the dying of the light…”

        Since you were clever enough to notice this rational contradiction you probably already know why they put “peacefully passed away” in obituaries; it’s because there is supposed to be a better place on the other side, if one follows the rules in this life. Anyone compelled to rage against death must know he is going to hell. So while in reality it would make sense to rage against death, because of the false reality provided by religious belief in afterlife, it doesn’t make sense to rage against death, according to the internal logic inherent in the delusion.

  30. Me

    How you do anything is how you do everything

  31. Dani Girl

    Ridulous to assume so called common sense will ease the trials and tribulations of navigating rocky roads through to greener pastures in the journey of life. Charmed lifestyles expect to be able to negotiate the unmercifully dark skies info sunshine and lollipops. Not thief fault, as most people never have to stare evil in the face. (WOW! HOW MANY CLICHES DO YOU SEE!?!?!? 😀 My point is that, frankly, most do not possess common sense, and its an endangered, dying species. Simply, COMMON SENSE? IRREFUTABLY UNCOMMON

  32. Stacy

    I don’t mind most platitudes.
    I’m sure we’ve ALL used them and still use them. There are times that they’re comforting. Nothing wrong with that. I think every book written has a few platitudes.
    I do believe everything happens for a reason. Yes, even sickness and dying young. We can’t control the time and day we will die, suicide excluded. That’s a different problem altogether.
    If it wasn’t meant to be, then it wouldn’t have happened.
    And, for Christians, God does have a plan for our lives.
    Time heals wounds. I think it means more of emotional wounds than ‘losing a limb’, even though that wound will heal in time.
    ‘God never gives us more than we can handle’. And you write ‘see death, misery and suffering’. We ALL will see some death, misery and suffering. No one’s too good to be exempt from experiencing any of these. We’re human. We’re imperfect. We will mess up, suffer consequences, suffer pain and illness and experience misery. Most of us-like me-can soldier through very rough times and come out on top in the end. I was supposed to have died from my trauma and its effects a few times. I suffered for years. But, I pressed on. So, God really did have a plan for me. I just didn’t know what it was at that time. And, my experiences can help other people who are going through the same things. I joined a support group to do just that.
    How can we know peace, health or courage without first experiencing turmoil, sickness and being scared?
    There will always be sick and/or poor people. Our job is to help those people, not look down on them.
    So, IMO, platitudes are no big deal. It’s ridiculous to get mad over petty things like that.
    There really is a silver lining. I’ve seen mine. Maybe you haven’t seen your’s yet.

  33. Punabob

    “It’s like deja vu all over again”

  34. Stephen Barry Einbinder

    “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results”
    Been there, done that, seen it! (Whoops! Another platitude!) If continually going to a bar to try to meet your soul mate doesn’t work, but you keep doing it repeatedly thinking this time will be different, that is insanity. Continuing to watch, listen to, or read the news hoping the world will change, is insanity.
    “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again”
    Yes, that one is very annoying. It would make more sense if the platitude went “…try something different.” E.G.: Thomas Edison kept trying different metals for his light bulb until he found tungsten to work.
    “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?)”
    Precisely! We never did get an answer to that question.
    Actually, the road to hell is paved with self-centered deeds disguised as good intentions. Remember the musical Gypsy? Rose was the show biz mom from hell who thought she was helping Louise but was really trying to gain her own recognition.
    “All men are created equal”
    That means we’re BORN equal. But we grow and age differently. It’s like the start of a marathon race. Everybody starts at the same moment and place but then they spread out.
    “There are plenty more fish in the sea”
    If so, then they’re all barracudas!
    “This will hurt me more than it hurts you”
    Does anybody remember the Disney animation and/or the recorded story, narrated by the voice of Winnie the Pooh, about Practical Pig (the brick house pig), who invented a lie detector machine, then the machine punished his brothers for lying about going swimming, then Practical used that very platitude, then he got punished by his own lie detector machine when it reached out an arm and yanked Practical into itself?


    Winners never quit? What about gamblers? The only winners are those who quit when they’re ahead.

    1. Stephen Barry Einbinder

      The best way to beat the casino is not to gamble at all.

    2. Deborah

      Amen to that!
      Help! What do you do with some who only speaks in platitudes?

  36. Requiem

    If at first you don’t succeed, do the same thing expecting different results

  37. Tony

    Oh my gosh. I’ve heard plattitudes, euphorisms and cliche’s used throughout my life and military career to atempt to inspire and motivate. In the 90s I can remember companies that created all kinds of memorabilia with leadership slogans pleasures on everything from mugs, T-shirt’s, hats and poster. I remember the Franklin avocet organizer craze. It was the smart organizer of the day and a price to match. Today I think we are experiencing another paradigm shift with innovation that has seen leadership scrutinized. Take the Theranos story.

  38. Jim

    How about “At the end of the day…..”

    1. Stephen Barry Einbinder

      Yes, that one is by far the most beaten-to-death cliche of the past 2 decades! I prefer hearing it in the Les Miserables musical: “At the end of the day you’re another day older…”



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