‘Do what makes you happy’ – typically issued in a condescending and entirely unhelpful manner by an audience when a speaker is trying to arrive at a difficult decision in order to ensure that the speaker feels that whatever decision he ultimately arrives at should be considered by all rational people to be at least incorrect, if not also selfish, immature and, in some cases, slightly dangerous.
‘Literally’ – an adverb used with such reckless abandon as to almost always denote something like the opposite of its (literal) meaning; e.g. I literally died with laughter. Er, no you didn’t.
‘Shut up’ – the refuge of the ordinary. Rude, arrogant; good manners and decency died on the alter of its conception.
‘I love him to bits, (but)’ – employed as a means of making speaker (typically female) feel better about deconstructing the least enviable aspects of the characters of their nearest and dearest (also typically female). What is interesting about this phrase is that the information provided by the speaker regarding their (her) positive feelings towards their (her) target does not seem to be intended, as one might expect, to assure the audience of the target’s value to society, but rather to highlight the speaker’s own impressive social worth. Here it is almost as if the speaker feels that they (she) should be respected more and not less for criticising their (her) unfortunate friend, perhaps as a result of their (her) being under the quite mistaken impression that they (she) have (has) at once sharply identified a flaw in a fellow human being – thereby almost certainly being endowed with instincts of especial quality – whilst at the same time having the good grace – yet further proof of majesty – to go about discussing said flaw in a tactful and responsible manner. In reality, the speaker’s patronising facade of geniality is insignificant to mask the truth, paling sadly, as it invariably does, in comparison with the diabolical vitriol that will soon be spilling out of their (her) mouth. If you are going to be unpleasant, at least have the courage to do it properly. Yes you are bitching, even if you attest to ‘love to bits’ the object of your bitchiness. Don’t be one of those people who claims never to say a bad word about anybody, only to then say several about everybody, all the while masquerading behind hollow talk of love in order to justify their cruelty to themselves, sitting aloft and judging with a snooty eye the rest of us, less deluded, bitchers. And another thing, surely loving somebody ‘to bits’ implies an appreciation of their character as a whole – including all of its many precious guises. How can you claim to love somebody ‘to bits’ if you then proceed to demolish bits of them with uncensored wrath?
‘No offence mate, (but)’ – as far as this author can tell, this phrase is entirely without use. Don’t say it ‘mate’. Just don’t say it. Surely the fact that a speaker would feel the need prefix their insight with such utter nonsense surely indicates they, for one, suspect that what they are about to say will be in some way offensive to their audience, who, let us not forget, is exactly that person who is being encouraged by the thoughtful speaker in the first place not to take offence! A ludicrous suggestion.
‘If you’d like’ – my word how annoying. This exasperating phrase has the effect of rendering any proposed plan of action entirely ineffective, by conveying a mixture of disgust and reluctant compliance. It is worth noting that the utterers of this unhelpful phrase are unlikely to suggest anything constructive themselves, so busy are they destroying anything that is put to them, regardless of its merit. Indecisive and ashamed, they delight in being unhelpful.