Monday, February 19, 2007

A bit of advice

"Be strong."

I can't stand that hackneyed phrase. There's just something about it that's so damned irritating. It just gets on my nerves when people say it. I mean, has it ever done anyone any good? Has anyone, hearing that phrase, ever suddenly gained new strength and bounced back? It just seems like another unimaginative platitude.

God forbid anyone ever say it to me.

I do understand how it can be seen as a good thing to say it to someone who is going through a tough time, but it's really not. It's trite and cliche. Sure, maybe it's the thought that counts, but there are many better ways to show that you have that thought, rather than resulting to saying something that's so banal that it makes it seem as if you care less than you intend to.

Which brings me to another point. The whole card-giving tradition during any major day, be it birthdays, New Year's (English, Chinese or otherwise), Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan or whatever else people give cards for. I hate it when I get a card, and all it says is "Happy/Merry/Good/Joyous/etc [insert event]" followed by a signature at the bottom. Or even one that says "Wishing you blah blah blah"..... You know what I mean.

People, please. If you're gonna give a card to someone, please write something meaningful in it. Something personal. It's not that hard. One line, two lines... something. There is NOTHING more useless than a card with a generic greeting. Again, I know people think "it's the thought that counts" and all that jazz, but seriously, give a card like that, and no one cares. It's a waste of your time and money, and all it does is take up precious space in our rubbish bins that could be used for disposing of relatively more useful things.

Maybe it's just me that feels this way. Maybe everyone else enjoys getting generic sayings in their cards and feels happy getting them. I dunno. For me, it'd be
more meaningful getting a small personal three-line note on a piece of scrap paper than it would be getting 50 store-bought cards from people who couldn't be bothered enough to write even one personal line and simply resort to genericity.

Whatever the case, you can be sure of this-- if you give me a card that is indifferent and impersonal and what you've written sounds like something you'd write in 50 other different cards, then you can be sure that it will mean just about nothing to me.

If you're lucky, I might chuck it in a corner somewhere because it makes me feel bad to throw it into the rubbish bin where it belongs.

By Chester with 2 comments


I totally agree, except for one point. We all know how hard it is to pick out the right card... when someone has put in that extra effort to pick out a card that speaks her heart, I give her a sympathy vote, even if she is speechless when it gets down to the real business. Thoughtfulness deserves some merit, me thinks :).

I also agree, and ALSO except for one point....sometimes trite cliches are really all that need to be said. I was really, really depressed a while back....

And after I'd just had an ENORMOUS vent session with a friend, she held me and said, "It'll all be all right, OK?"

And somehow, I believed her. It's something I knew wasn't going to happen any time soon....

But it was what I needed to hear most at that moment. So a phrase like, "Be Strong", while it's become so run of the mill that EVERYONE uses it, I think it takes a specific person to make a phrase sound more than a generic feel-good piece of crud.

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