Monday, August 13, 2012
Pet Peeve of the Day: "I Have To Say..."
THEM: I just saw The Dark Knight Rises, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it.
THEM: Why did I enjoy it?
ME: No, why do you "have to say"?
ME: I mean is there someone putting a gun to your head or holding one of your children hostage and forcing you to admit that you enjoyed the movie?
THEM: I'm not following. But whatever you're trying to say, you seem to be drama queening it a bit.
ME: What I'm saying is that the phrase "I have to say..." suggests that this opinion you're giving goes against the one you would normally hold, but the quality of the subject won you over and forced you rethink your position and unexpectedly praise its merits.
THEM: Yeah, that's...way too many words. Can you try that again, but less fancy?
ME: I know for a fact that you wanted to see The Dark Knight Rises. Right?
ME: You've waited for years for it. You've followed the news. You've blogged your excitement about it and your faith in the people making it, indignantly debating anyone who doubted them. You got tickets to the midnight opening show. You went dressed (inexplicably) as Clayface. You knew going in how well-reviewed the film was, and that, coupled with your own predisposition to embrace it--
THEM: You're doing that fancy thing again.
ME: --all but guaranteed you were going to love the movie. There was almost zero chance you weren't going to come out of that theater anything but thoroughly pleased.
ME: So why would you HAVE to say you enjoyed it? You knew you were going to enjoy it, WE knew you were going to enjoy it, and then you enjoyed it! Where's the arm-twisting come in? Where's the change of heart? Nowhere! You don't HAVE to say you enjoyed it. You can just say, "I enjoyed it"! And we'll go, "Hey, big surprise. Didn't see THAT one coming." And then we'll all have a good-natured laugh together and you'll explain to us all the things you loved about the movie that there was no chance you weren't going to love. Seriously, when you finish your favorite meal, do you "have to say" that you enjoyed it? When you look at a Scarlett Johansson photo spread, do you "have to say" that she's attractive? No! You WANT to say it, and you just say it.
THEM: I have to say, I think I'm starting to see what you're getting at.
ME: There! Right there!
ME: You did it right!
THEM: I did?
ME: That's how you use it! You didn't want to see what I was saying, because nobody likes to be called a douchebag and have their errors pointed out to them, but after listening to me you were surprised to find yourself understanding my point. THAT was the right time to pull out "I have to say". Well done!
THEM: I feel pride.
ME: As well you should. Now, go back into the world and be less annoying when giving your opinions, as you are now prepared to do.
THEM: I have to say, I'm glad we had this talk.
ME: So am I, my friend. So am I.