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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 March 13, 2019

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

          1. Work on the small tasks.

          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

          2. Take a break from your work desk.

          Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

          Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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          3. Upgrade yourself

          Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

          4. Talk to a friend.

          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

          5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

          Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

          Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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          6. Paint a vision to work towards.

          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

          7. Read a book (or blog).

          The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

          Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

          8. Have a quick nap.

          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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          9. Remember why you are doing this.

          Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

          What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

          10. Find some competition.

          Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

          Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

          11. Go exercise.

          Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

          Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

          As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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          Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

          12. Take a good break.

          Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

          Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

          Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

          Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

          More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

          Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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