Ask Tia Juana

Dear Tia,

I have a dear lifelong friend that I love, but lately I have found it harder and harder to be around her because of an annoying habit that is getting on my last nerve.  Anytime she is telling a story, she peppers it with the phrase, “you know what I mean” to the point that I stop listen to her story and focus on how many times she repeats that phrase, or picturing myself shoving a dirty sock in her mouth!  Why do people latch on to sayings like that?  Do they really think that we DON’T know what they mean?

I know what you mean

Dear I know,

I can certainly empathize with your plight, but even news anchors, politicians and pundits repeat tired phrases like “At the end of the day” ad nauseum.  Before that, it was “thinking outside the box.”  Annoying phrases are not exclusive to the English language.  I have been around many a Spanish-speaker who repeats the equivalent, “Me entiendes” phrase incessantly, and it is just as bad in any language!  Although I have never tried it, I would love to see if you answered their “do you know what I mean” with yes, I do know what you mean.  Maybe, just maybe, they would get the point, but don’t hold your breath, because people who latch on to these sayings don’t even know they are saying it.  Good luck!