Most of us have a hard time thinking of the exact right thing to say. Somehow, though, we all have a pretty easy time thinking of the exact wrong thing to say, especially in romantic situations. Sure, there are some things that sound completely ridiculous by the blinding light of day but kind of sweet when whispered in your ear right before you fall asleep like, “I’ve never felt this way before.”
Then there is the word vomit —which is never acceptable. Like socks with sandals and underwear bombers, these phrases are ugly and hazardous to those around you. They need to be removed from your lexicon immediately, and we are here to provide substitute sayings so you aren’t left with the sounds of silence. To illustrate, we are using candy because it is delicious and, as it turns out, jam-packed with symbolism.
“Whopper” is 1950s speak for “hugely important thing” or “total and complete lie.” You might need to talk about those kinds of things.
I think we need to talk.
Think, HC readers: Have you ever had a good conversation that started this way? This is exactly what Jess’s parents said right before breaking the news that her dog died. Also, saying “I think we need to talk” before launching into a conversation is like prefacing a question with “I have a question,” which is a habit employed by only the most annoying kids in your lecture. Make like Strunk and White and OMIT NEEDLESS WORDS.
Acceptable alternatives: What you need is a segue (or better yet, a segway). Whenever we don’t know what to say, we just do something physical instead. If there’s loud music, turn it down; if you’re standing, grab a seat. Do what you can to change the mood of the room and the conversation should shift accordingly. Maybe worth obsessing over.
I’m obsessed with you!
People who have obsessions: stalkers, obsessive-compulsives, psycho-killers, kleptomaniacs, nymphomaniacs, really any kind of maniac, members of the KKK, neo-Nazis, Justin Bieber fans. (WHY ARE YOU STILL A TRENDING TOPIC? Get your hair out of your face and go through puberty.) People who don’t have obsessions: hopefully you, your boyfriend.
Acceptable alternatives: Sex. You know, if you’re obsessed with each other, we think that’s the best way to handle it … in private. Or you could maybe draw portraits of each other. But that will probably lead to sex anyway.
What are we?
Um, people … two people …
Acceptable alternatives: Would you be my girlfriend? Are you gonna be my girl? I wanna hold your hand. Rocky roads make for excellent candy bars and also great ice cream flavors but sadly are bad for relationships.
Are you mad at me?
If you’re asking, you already know. And if you make the mistake of asking once, for the love of God, do not ask again and again and again. Unless your goal is to make someone mad at you.
Acceptable alternatives: I’m sorry (only if you really are). Is there anything I can do? Wanna take this outside? Space: We want to go to there.
I just really need some space right now.
The problem with this isn’t needing space. We love space! Milky Ways, beating the Russians in the Space Race, Tom Hanks, Space Jam. It’s just that this sounds like a euphemism for “I don’t have the chuztpah to break up with you right now.” We disapprove of anything lacking in chuztpah.
Acceptable alternatives: If you just want a break but not a break-up, let him know when you’ll want to hang out again (“Let’s get together next week.”). If you are actually breaking up with him, maybe you should try, “I think we should break up” or “I just really need to see other people right now … and for the foreseeable future.” All for one…
I really want to try and be friends.
Things that prevent friendship: sexual tension, lack of common interests, awkwardness, his obnoxiously flirtatious wall-to-walls with that girl from econ who you both agreed was slutty, the clap.
Acceptable alternatives: Have you maybe considered not being friends for now? Perhaps someday in the future you two can bask in purely platonic togetherness, but the immediate aftermath of your break-up is not the best time to embark on that project. Think about it: America broke up with Great Britain, and sure, we’re friends now, but in the 1780s we took a little breather. Example of a thing that is so much better and more valuable than other things.
You deserve so much better than me.
Because then he’ll just think, “If I deserve better than you, why are we dating? And who exactly is being judged here – you, for being undeserving, or me, for not knowing any better? And why are you judging me? I deserve so much better than you.”
Acceptable alternatives: Make it about you, not him. For instance: I was an idiot, I screwed up, I am a jackass, you are attractive.
With a name like “Mary Jane,” this looks like it should be weed, but instead it’s just this weird chunk of stuff that’s very difficult to chew.
It’s not what it looks like.
What do you think it looks like? “I know you think it appears that I’m glued at the lip to a girl who isn’t you with one hand halfway up her skirt, the other attempting to unhook her bra, but I was just giving her tonsils a thorough examination with my drunken tongue … at a club … on spring break … in Acapulco”
Acceptable alternatives: The truth. Is the only acceptable alternative.
There’s a reason no one has ever heard of this candy bar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! Isn’t this annoying!?! Like so annoying! We sound so dumb! In your head, don’t we have the most irritating voices ever!? We know, right!?!
Acceptable alternatives: .,?;”#$%^&*(), anything but :)