13 Hollow Things People Say To Fake Sincerity

13 Hollow Things People Say To Fake Sincerity

Ever encountered those people who are about as genuine as a three-dollar bill but still try to come off as Mr. or Ms. Sincere? They’ve got a whole arsenal of phrases to fake it till they (don’t) make it. Here are the top 13 phrases they love to throw around while trying to win an Oscar for Best Performance in Faux Sincerity. If you’re anything like me, these hollow things will drive you absolutely insane.

1. “Trust Me, I Understand.”

It’s their go-to line when they want to seem empathetic. But let’s be real, understanding is more than just a phrase; it’s an action. Chances are, they’re just parroting this phrase without actually getting where you’re coming from. It’s a convenient way to silence your concerns without addressing them. This phrase is often a quick escape route from a deeper conversation they don’t want to have. It’s as if they have a manual titled ‘How to Sound Understanding Without Really Trying.’

2. “I Was Just Going to Say That!”

Classic move when they want to seem like they’re on the same wavelength as you. They weren’t going to say it; they didn’t even think it. But now that you’ve said it and it sounds smart, they wish they had. It’s their attempt to piggyback on your insight without doing any of the thinking themselves. This phrase is a subtle way of taking some credit for your ideas. It’s like they’re trying to convince you (and maybe themselves) of their own foresight and wisdom.

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4. “Your Secret’s Safe With Me.”

This one’s a red flag the size of a beach towel. More often than not, it means your secret is about to make rounds faster than a viral TikTok. It’s their way of saying, ‘Tell me everything so I can have the upper hand.’ The moment you hear this, brace yourself for the possibility of your secret becoming public knowledge. It’s like a verbal handshake that’s broken the moment you turn your back. This phrase is often an invitation to spill the beans, only for them to be served up as the main course at the next gossip feast.

5. “I’m Sorry You Feel That Way.”

The non-apology apology. They’re not sorry for what they did; they’re sorry you’re reacting to it. It’s a slick way of deflecting blame and making it about your feelings, not their actions. It’s the epitome of insincerity, making a mockery of genuine remorse. This phrase puts the onus of the problem on you, suggesting that the issue isn’t their behavior, but your reaction to it. It’s a classic way of sidestepping responsibility and keeping the moral high ground.

6. “I Just Want What’s Best for You.”

It sounds noble, but beware. This often translates to ‘I want what I think is best for you, which coincidentally aligns with what’s best for me.’ It’s a manipulative little number dressed up as concern. It’s a way to mask their control or selfish motives in the guise of altruism. This phrase often precedes unsolicited advice that serves their agenda more than yours. It’s patronizing and assumes they know better about your life than you do.

7. “No Offense, but…”

Brace yourself; something offensive is coming your way. This preface is their get-out-of-jail-free card to say something rude or insensitive while pretending they’re being honest for your sake. It’s their way of softening the blow before delivering a verbal punch. The phrase is a clear sign that they are fully aware of the offensiveness of their statement but choose to say it anyway. It’s a cowardly move, hiding behind a phrase that’s supposed to absolve them of any responsibility for the hurtful words that follow.

8. “That’s a Great Idea, But…”

The classic bait-and-switch. They start off sounding supportive, only to follow it up with reasons why your idea won’t work. It’s their way of subtly undermining you while appearing to be on your side. This phrase is a clever disguise for criticism, dressed up as constructive feedback. It’s a tactic to knock the wind out of your sails while maintaining a facade of supportiveness. They’re essentially saying, ‘Nice try, but let’s be real, it’s not going to work.’

9. “Let’s Stay in Touch!”

If sincerity were currency, this phrase would be monopoly money. It’s the social equivalent of ‘I have no intention of seeing you again, but let’s pretend we didn’t just say goodbye forever.’ It’s a hollow promise, often made out of social niceties rather than genuine interest in maintaining contact. This phrase is the verbal equivalent of throwing a bone – it’s something to say when they have no real intention of following through. It’s like signing off an email with ‘Best Regards’ when what you really mean is ‘Goodbye forever.’

10. “I Totally Get Where You’re Coming From.”

Translation: ‘I’m pretending to agree with you for the sake of this conversation.’ It’s a placeholder sentiment, a way to seem agreeable without committing to actually understanding or supporting your point of view. This phrase is often used to quickly move the conversation along without getting into the nitty-gritty. It’s a superficial nod of agreement, a way to feign understanding without the effort of true empathy or engagement.

11. “You Know I’m Here for You, Right?”

This one sounds supportive, but it’s often empty. It’s a way for them to appear caring without any real action to back it up. They throw this phrase around like confetti, but when you actually need them, they’re nowhere to be found. It’s a verbal pat on the back, a noncommittal way of offering support without having to follow through.

12. “Honestly, I’m Just Being Real With You.”

They use this one as a cover for being overly critical or harsh. It’s their shield against any backlash, a way to justify their blunt or even rude comments. The word ‘honestly’ is supposed to lend credibility, but it often precedes unsolicited and unkind opinions.

13. “You Can Trust Me, I Won’t Tell a Soul.”

Similar to the secret-keeping promise, but this one is even more direct in its insincerity. It’s often said in a conspiratorial tone, as if you’re both in on some exclusive pact. But in reality, it’s more like a verbal agreement that’s broken as soon as it’s convenient for them.

14. “I Always Say What I Think.”

They use this phrase to give themselves a badge of honor for honesty, but it’s often an excuse for being insensitive or tactless. It’s a way to brag about their ‘honesty’ while actually using it as a license to be hurtful without remorse.

Harper Stanley graduated from Eugene Lang College at The New School in NYC in 2006 with a degree in Media Studies and Literature and Critical Analysis. After graduating, she worked as an editorial assistant at The Atlantic before moving to the UK to work for the London Review of Books.

When she's not waxing poetic about literature, she's writing articles about dating, relationships, and other women's lifestyle topics to help make their lives better. While shocking, she really has somehow managed to avoid joining any social media apps — a fact she's slightly smug about.