Don’t speak until you’ve read this. IBR’s own public speaking expert adds 8 more things “people with poor speech etiquette” say.
Did you know it’s rude to say, “Here’s the thing” or “It is what it is” during a conversation? A recent CNBC online article focused on a public speaking expert who pointed out “rude” phrases used by “people with poor speech etiquette.” We were shocked to hear such common elements of conversation were actually insulting until we talked to our own public speaking expert, Lawrence DeGraf. Larry pointed out multiple other seemingly innocuous phrases used constantly at the Intergalactic Business Report office that in his “expert” opinion, are actually rude. We picked eight of them:
8 phrases you may use all the time but are actually incredibly rude and insulting, by Lawrence DeGraf.
To say I’m a public speaking expert is probably a reach, since I’m really just a guy with an English degree who was hired a few months ago as an assistant editor at the Intergalactic Business Report. Before you ask the same question everyone else has, let me just say that no, I didn’t understand what this place was. And, no, I didn’t take the time to read anything they did. And, finally, no, I am not drunk or high. Unlike almost every person here around me.
Anyway, I was just assigned the role as “public speaking expert” today because they wanted to do this article. Sometimes I’m the psychology expert or the animal expert or even the sexual relations expert, whatever that is. If you read the Intergalactic Business Report, you know there isn’t much “editing” involved and that we put things in quotes a lot. I can pretty much write anything and the editors will not read it. In a way that’s liberating. What I do appreciate about this assignment is that in our office there are a lot of phrases that are used incessantly by our staff, and they are not O.K., whether you understand public speaking or not. I feel this may be my opportunity to point out some of these and let someone, somewhere, understand that it is rude and insulting to say the following phrases—at work, at anywhere.
1. “Do I know you?”
A lot of times, people here will just pretend they have no idea who you are even though you know they know who you are. It’s weird. It’s unsettling and disturbing. I guess my advice would be that instead of pretending you don’t know people, just acknowledge their existence?
2. “Yeah, that’s great. Can I borrow five dollars?”
Should be obvious, but when you start off with a dismissive comment and then ask to borrow money, people will think you’re not really listening and only see them as a cash machine. Also obvious, don’t give these guys money. Just don’t. It’s like feeding squirrels.
3. “Hmmm. Hmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmm! HMMMMMMMMMMMMM!”
This is what they do when they don’t have the energy or intellect (I’m guessing) to respond to a serious inquiry, so they just keep saying “hmmmm” louder and louder till you leave their office. It’s actually really effective if you want to totally dismiss someone and make them feel like they should never ever ask you for anything again. Ever.
4. “I will SLAP you with my dick, motherfucker! I will fucking slap you with my fucking dick!”
People in our office sometimes use this phrase to establish dominance, I guess? It’s jarring because you could be just grabbing a cup of coffee or waving hello, and this is the response. Instead of saying this, I would recommend a simple, “Hello,” or “Nice to see you today.”
5. “I will go through your contact list and send pervy messages to everyone on it! Now take off your fucking shirt!”
The first time I heard this one was during my interview, which was basically this, preceded by an initial request to take off my shirt. I would say this phrase is threatening and aggressive and also probably illegal, especially at work. Maybe try asking about past work experience and not demand anyone take off his clothing. (Yeah, I know. I accepted the job because I thought this was like performance art or something and they also offered me a million dollars a year, until I realized that was in gift certificates to Ruby Tuesdays and Toys R Us and you could only spend five dollars per week and if you wanted to spend more you needed to start taking your shirt off).
6. “Can you hold this gun for me?”
Even if you really really think you have a good reason to ask someone to do this, there are a couple problems with this request. Number one, do you even have a permit for that thing? And, number two, why do you have an enormous, high caliber weapon in our office? Oh, also, why are you waving it around and asking people to take their shirts off?
7. “I made a poopy in your filing cabinet. Go check it out. I’ll wait.”
Not sure what the reason is for the baby talk part of this, since the rest of it is clearly so offensive, and, as usual, probably illegal (I haven’t been named IBR’s “legal expert” yet, so I have no idea). Of course, don’t shit in a filing cabinet and ask people to go look at it. But I also want to mention that we don’t have any filing cabinets in our office, so what have you done?
8. “Could you hold this gun in my mouth so I can have an orgasm?”
This should never be a part of any conversation, but you’d be surprised how many times it comes up in the IBR office. At first, I thought it was a very very fucked up joke but then when they stare at you and you can see they’re holding a pistol you start to realize they’re serious. If you wait long enough, they’ll explain more about why they NEED you to do it, and all I can say is don’t. Just don’t wait around for that. (Note, this is sometimes a follow up to number 6, above).
Lawrence DeGraf is the sexual relations intern at the Intergalactic Business Report. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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