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25 Popular Sayings That Are Actually Toxic and Completely Untrue

25 Popular Sayings That Are Actually Toxic and Completely Untrue

There are a lot of popular sayings and everyday tropes that we hear day in and day out. Sometimes we are even guilty of repeating them ourselves.

Often there is a lot of truth and wisdom to these common phrases which is, in part, why we keep saying them. But sometimes, the message, while seemingly harmless at face value, is actually toxic or completely untrue.

Here are 25 popular sayings that we should stop repeating.

1. “Sleep like a baby”
Whoever coined this phrase never lived in a home with a baby, on that we can all agree!

2. “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”
Congratulations, you’ve just turned something you love into a chore that has added stresses, long hours and a deadline.

3. “Happy wife, happy life”
Both partners in a relationship should feel happy, not just one. Switch it out to “happy spouse, happy house” or something equally cheesy.

4. “Finish what you started”
No, sometimes it’s best to abandon what you started and begin something else that is more productive or exciting. Don’t double down on something you don’t enjoy just because you started it.

5. “Good things happen to those who wait”
Sure, eventually. Or you can just go out and get it now. Work hard for what you want, don’t just sit around waiting for it to happen.

waiting around for something to happen is boring

6. “Great minds think alike, though fools seldom differ”
Total bullshit: the second half of that saying means exactly the same as the first half!

7. “Love is never having to say you’re sorry”
This one was made popular in the 1970 movie Love Story and hasn’t made an ounce of sense since.

8. “Cheaters never win”
Actually, they do. Cheaters win all the time. It’s not honest, and they don’t win in the morality stakes, but that’s not the prize they are aiming for, is it?

9. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”
Your mileage may vary, but spending too much time apart doesn’t bode well for a close relationship long-term.

10. “Lightning never strikes twice in the same spot”
Whoever said this hasn’t heard of lightning rods. Or the Back to the Future movies.

11. “Money can’t buy happiness”
On the scale of one to bullshit, this one rates the highest. While money cannot buy happiness, it can buy safety, security, shelter, a full stomach, and puppies. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can pay off a lot of sadness.


12. “It takes two to fight”
Not if someone is intent on bullying and harassing someone else. The expression should be “It takes two to fight, it takes one to be assaulted”.

13. “Turn your hobby into a career”
Thanks, now I have to find a new hobby.

14. “The customer is always right”
This misnomer has been used to justify bad behaviour on the part of the customer for decades. The expression is meant to mean that whatever the customer wants to buy is the right thing to stock in-store, not that they are immune from making poor choices in a retail setting.

15. “We’re all in this together”
Yes, we are, but some of us are in fancier lifeboats with all the mod cons and a hefty bank account as a backup. This platitude is intended to provide comfort, but it often comes off as condescending.

16. “Everything happens for a reason”
No, it doesn’t. Shit just happens sometimes.

17. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
Kelly Clarkson lied to us. It turns out that trauma is bad for people.

lies, all of it.

18. “If you can’t handle me at my worst then you don’t deserve me at my best”
Emotionally manipulating people to put up with your bad behaviour because you might be nice to them someday is no way to carry on a relationship. Incredibly toxic.

19. “People only use 10% of their brains”
Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, this is just blatantly untrue.

20. “Always follow your heart”
You should probably involve your brain in that process, too.

21. “I before E except after C”
This one is built on a foundation of lies as there are so many exceptions to this rule that you can never depend on it to be reliable.

22. “Crime doesn’t pay”
In actual fact, it pays quite well. Otherwise, people wouldn’t be drug lords, bank robbers or art thieves.

23. “Time heals all wounds”
Some wounds never heal. You just learn to live with a dull pain. Sadly, promising that the pain will someday go away is not realistic.

24. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”
Nope, as long as you are alive, you are capable of learning.

25. “You’re perfect the way you are”
No one is ever perfect and there is always room for improvement somewhere. Saying this only validates the sentiment that the person shouldn’t bother to try harder to be better at something.


Can you think of any other common sayings that are toxic or untrue? Share them in the comments!

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Jill Slater

Jill Slater

Jill is a busy wife and mother of four young children. She loves nothing more than making people giggle, and loves to settle in with a glass of wine (or four) and wander about the internet. Feel free to follow her to see all the cool stuff she finds!

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