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25 Things British Say vs What They Actually Mean (That You Never Knew)

25 Things British Say vs What They Actually Mean (That You Never Knew)

British politeness isn’t alway so polite. We Americans tend to think of Brits, as a quaint and utterly charming people. While many enjoy British humor from Monty Python to Hugh Laurie (yep the mean guy who played House got his start in comedy). Yet, somehow, Americans find a way to forget the British style of dry humor when face-to-face.

1. I Hear What You Say. . .

end

    What Americans Think It Means: I agree.

    What The British Really Mean: I could not possibly disagree more. This discussion is over.

    Talk about your misunderstandings. Our neighbors ‘across the pond’ are subtly trying to tell you to hush.

    2. With The Greatest Respect. . .

    What Americans Think It Means: He/she respects what I have to say.

    What The British Really Mean: You’re an idiot.

    Said, of course, in a really nice way. Nevertheless, the Brit absolutely thinks you couldn’t be more wrong.

    3. That’s A Brave Proposal. . .

    facepalm

      What Americans Think It Means: How courageous of me.

      What The British Really Mean: You are insane.

      Again, nicely put. But does not change the fact, in the Brit’s mind anyway that you’ve gone and lost your marbles.

      4. I was disappointed in that. . .

      What Americans Think It Means: He/she was disappointed.

      What The British Really Mean: I am incredibly annoyed.

      There is a chasm of difference between disappointed and annoyance. Whatever just happened, don’t let it happen again!

      5. Very Interesting. . .

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      facepalm

        What Americans Think It Means: The topic of discussion is interesting.

        What The British Really Mean: This is a completely nonsensical discussion.

        Take the hint and change the subject.

        6. I’ll Bear It In Mind. . .

        What Americans Think It Means: I’ve just made an excellent point.

        What The British Really Mean: I’ve forgotten the idea already.

        The British are only kindly trying to tell you that a change of subject is desperately in order.

        7. I’m Sure It’s My Fault. . .

        shrug

          What Americans Think It Means: Why are they blaming themselves?

          What The British Really Mean: It’s your fault.

          May as well drop it and let bygones be bygones.

          8. You Must Come For Dinner. . .

          What Americans Think It Means: I got an invitation!

          What The British Really Mean: There’s  no way in the world I would have you over for dinner.

          The British motto should become, ‘kill them with kindness.’ The politeness is uncanny and gets to be unnerving.

          9. Excuse Me, Sorry, Is Anyone Sitting Here?

          What Americans Think It Means: A polite excuse.

          What The British Really Mean: You have less than 5 seconds to move your purse.

          The British are not well known for their patience.

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           10. I Almost Agree. . .

          What Americans Think It Means: I almost have him/her convinced.

          What The British Really Mean: I completely disagree.

          Time to change the subject, once more. Especially in light of how kind the British person is acting.

          11. I Only Have A Few Comments. . .

          What Americans Think It Means: I did a great job on this paper.

          What The British Really Mean: This entire paper must be rewritten.

          There are some Americans who can get snobbish about writing errors.  Nothing like a person in the ‘mother tongue’ telling you it is time for a do-over.

          12. Not To Worry. . .

          What Americans Think It Means: I have no reason to worry.

          What The British Really Mean: You have every reason in the world to worry.

          When this phrase is used it is certainly time to worry as something is not quite as it should be.

          13. Sorry. . .

          What Americans Think It Means: I really do apologize.

          What The British Really Mean: I was just being polite.

          This word is used often by the British, Americans just need to lighten up.

          14. Bit Wet Out There. . .

          What Americans Think It Means: It’s sprinkling.

          What The British Really Mean: It’s pouring.

          The British are brilliant in understating the problem at hand.

          15. Right Then, I Suppose I Really Should Start Thinking About Possibly Making A Move.

          What Americans Think It Means: ?

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          What The British Really Mean: Good-bye. I’m off.

          Unless the American is quite familiar with their British chum, this answer could ruin a relationship.

          16. It’s Fine.

          What Americans Think It Means: It’s fine.

          What The British Really Mean: It can’t possibly get any worse, but I know it’s going to.

          Pay attention to the tone here.  Was the phrase said with clinched teeth. Yes? Then there is a problem at hand to solve.

          17. A Bit Of A Pickle. . .

          What Americans Think It Means:  All we have to do is find the solution

          What The British Really Mean: We’re all gonna die.

          The British form of introducing dooms day destruction into  the discussion.

          18. Not Too Bad, Actually. . .

          What Americans Think It Means: I’m fine.

          What The British Really Mean: I feel fantastic.

          19. Honestly, It Doesn’t Matter.

          What Americans Think It Means: It’s ok.

          What The British Really Mean: It matters more than anything.

          Now is the time to ask intrusive questions to discover what exactly matters.

          20. You’ve Caught The Sun.

          What Americans Think It Means: ?

          What The British Really Mean: You’re sun burned.

          Sometimes the British speaker will communicate so obliquely you don’t know what’s going on.

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          21. It’s A Bit Dear. . .

          What Americans Think It Means:  It’s adorable.

          What The British Really Mean: It’s too expensive.

          22. That’s Certainly One Way Of Looking At It.

          What Americans Think It Means: Their listening to my point of view.

          What The British Really Mean:  That is absolutely the wrong way to look at it.

          Trust me, change the topic.

          23. I Might Join You Later.

          What Americans Think It Means: I look forward to seeing you later.

          What The British Really Mean: Even if the house were on fire, I won’t be joining you.

          Perhaps the British person you know is simply too tired and did not wish to be rude.

          24. Perfect.

          What Americans Think It Means: Perfect.

          What The British Really Mean: It certainly is not perfect.

          Brits aren’t the only ones to ‘turn a phrase’ as it were. Americans did the same with words like ‘bad’ being interpreted as excellent.

          25. Could We Consider Some Other Options?

          What Americans Think It Means:  Still undecided.

          What The British Really Mean:  I hate your idea.

          Maybe, it’s little more than a restaurant that has been suggested. Either way it’s time to change the subject.

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          Last Updated on November 19, 2019

          20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

          20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

          Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

          If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

          1. Create a Daily Plan

          Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

          2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

          Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

          3. Use a Calendar

          Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

          I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

          Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

          4. Use an Organizer

          An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

          These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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          5. Know Your Deadlines

          When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

          But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

          6. Learn to Say “No”

          Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

          Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

          7. Target to Be Early

          When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

          For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

          Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

          8. Time Box Your Activities

          This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

          You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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          9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

          Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

          10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

          Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

          You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

          11. Focus

          Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

          Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

          Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

          12. Block out Distractions

          What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

          I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

          When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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          Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

          13. Track Your Time Spent

          When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

          You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

          14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

          You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

          Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

          15. Prioritize

          Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

          Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

          16. Delegate

          If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

          When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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          17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

          For related work, batch them together.

          For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

          1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
          2. coaching
          3. workshop development
          4. business development
          5. administrative

          I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

          18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

          What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

          One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

          While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

          19. Cut off When You Need To

          The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

          Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

          20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

          Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

          More Time Management Techniques

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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