Few days ago, an acquaintance of mine uttered the phrase “We will keep in touch” before leaving. The tone of his voice and the expressions on his face indicated that he has no intention of ever contacting me and he wishes that I would do the same.

That led me to take a moment and flash back to my previous encounters with some of my acquaintances. To my surprise, I discovered that neither those who uttered the phrase nor I kept in touch with each other..

I began to think about phrases that we say out of political correctness, civility or politeness. I came up with some of the commonly used expressions.

“I will see you soon” means that if I am lucky, I will never see you again.

The phrase “Let us have lunch one day” has the hidden meaning that we will have lunch when Hell freezes over, which means never.

“I immensely, enjoyed our conversation” has the meaning “Your conversation bored me to death”.

When someone says “I would love to go out with you but I am very busy”, he or she wishes to say “I prefer to get bored alone than to be bored listening to you” or “Actually, I have nothing to do but I can’t imagine myself spending any time with you because you are boring in addition I don’t like you”.

“It is nice seeing you again” has the hidden meaning “Why didn’t I take a different route to avoid seeing you. It is my misfortune that led me to pump into you”.

When an individual says “I am happy for your success or promotion”, he or she wishes to say “Why did it happen to you instead of me. I feel envious of your success”.

We often say “He or she is a nice person.”. However, what we mean to say is we hate the guts of that person.

When a friend describes a blind date as nice, it means she is ugly or at least plain when it comes to her physical appearances.

The fundamental question should focus on the reasons that lead us to ignore our genuine feelings to utter shallow phrases that are easy to detect their fallacy.

The society exerts every possible effort to turn us into pretentious individuals who are afraid to be honest enough to express their true feelings. The society justifies its action by stating that we are civilized people not savages or barbarians. We need to be polite with each in order to keep the peace in our communities.

Of course, some people who utter the abovementioned phrases are genuine. Nonetheless, many individuals say them for the sake of being perceived as being polite, politically correct or civilized persons.

Living in China for more than twelve years and interacting with its distinguished citizens, I discovered that Chinese are more in touch with their genuine feelings than foreigners.

They are not afraid to criticize your shortcomings and point out your errors of judgment. I do admire them for their courage to be outspoken.

Next time, you hear one of those phrases, listen carefully to the tone of voice of the speaker and examine the expressions on his or her face in order to find their hidden meanings.

My article may ruffle some feathers and lead some to categorize me as a cynical individual who is adamant in focusing on the shortcomings of others. However, I have the right to disagree with them as they have the same right to dispute my point of view.

Author's Bio: 

Holding an honorary professorship from China, Sava Hassan is a Canadian author, poet and educator. He had published three books and wrote numerous articles in various topics in Canada, USA and China. For a year, he was writing an advice column for a major English magazine in China. Sava, occasionally, writes articles for several Chinese English Newspapers. He won several writing awards including four from China.