What I Really Mean Is….

What I Really Mean Is

Back in April I came up with a couple of workplace #WhatIReallyMean statements. For example, when I say to someone “the agenda is quite fluid” its probable that what I really mean is that there is no agenda.

It’s fair to say, these couple of tweets and this hashtag had a life of it’s own and lots of people contributed.

I said at the time I’d collate the responses into one place – so here you go. Enjoy.

My apologies in advance if I have missed any responses or incorrectly attributed one.


  • “the agenda is quite fluid” = there is no agenda
  • “It’s on my to do list”. = It’s now on my to do list
  • “We could do that, but” = we won’t be doing that
  • “Not sure what happened there”= im sure it’s my fault somehow 
  • “for the avoidance of doubt” = I beg you, please don’t make me say this again
  • “Someone is not quite getting this” = You. You are not quite getting this
  • “Ah, now I understand” = nope. Don’t get it. But let’s move on
  • “We have enough people to kick this meeting off” = where the f**k is everyone?
  • “I’m going to mull that over” = it’s not going to change my mind, but I’ll pretend I’m thinking about it.
  • “Can you send that to me on email” = I can’t be arsed to find a pen and I’ll never remember it
  • “Let’s just wind this back a minute” = you’ve just said something really stupid, and I’m not letting it slide
  • “I hear you, but” = there are words coming out of your mouth but you are way off point
  • “I’ve just noticed a slight anomoly” = you’ve dropped a massive clanger here


  • “I hear you, but” = there are words coming out of your mouth but you are way off point
  • “That’s interesting” = no it’s not
  • “I will look into that” = not going to, ever
  • “I’m fine” = don’t ask anything else! You should know I’m not fine!


  • We should take that offline (= why the hell did you say that in front of these people. You made me look a right Muppet)


  • “With all due respect” = I violently disagree with you and can’t believe you even think that.
  • “I have a meeting to prepare for in 5 minutes time” = I have no meeting but I really can’t bear to continue with this phone call any longer.


  • “Just got to top + tail it” – Not even started it
  • “Waiting on a couple of responses” – No-one gave a shit so I’m making it up
  • “Let’s just share the headlines” – Don’t bore me with a commentary on your ‘precious’ work –
  • “So we have an hour” – Over in minutes please.


  •  “It is what it is” = And what it is is chuffing ridiculous


  • “I don’t mean any offence by this” = I’m about to say something that I know full well will offend you, but I’m going to say it anyway.
  • “Can we have an off the record chat?” = can we have a chat that I can deny ever having or use against you, whichever suits my purpose
  • “Whose turn is it to do the minutes?” = it is not my turn. If you suggest it is my turn, I will cut you.


  • “Regards” = You’ve really p****d me off.


  • “Playing devils advocate” = I love seeing you squirm
  • “Can you write a business case” = this will postpone me having to make a decision
  • “Are you saying…?” = I know what you are saying but I want you to know that I know/think this is stupid


  • ‘I know you’re really busy so I’ll just give you the highlights’  – I haven’t actually prepared so I’m going to make this up on the hoof. 
  • ‘Time is really tight so I’m going to be quite strict about keeping to the agenda’ – Everyone in this room has the ability to spout hot air


  • ‘Let’s take the papers as read and deal with questions’ = nobody reads these papers including me so let’s ram this through


  • “don’t take this the wrong way, but…”. = I’m just about to rip you to pieces.
  • “Can I give you some feedback?”  = “Can I tell you something you don’t want to hear?” 


  • Just to be clear = at what point did you start thinking I was an idiot.
  • Don’t take this the wrong way = this chat will go horrifically badly
  • Just some feedback for you… = you are the worst person ever
  • Thanks all. Steve, can I just grab you for a few minutes? = You’ll do well to survive this Steve
  • Good job all = I forgot who did which bits
  • I think we should take this offline = I’m done with you all today. Make this stop
  • I can see where you are coming from = but I don’t know why you would come from there. Ever. 
  • That’s one for another time = I’m never dealing with that
  • Interesting point = be quiet now
  • I’m not sure it aligns with what we are trying to do right now = do you understand why we pay you?
  • I love the creativity = do you even know how the real world works?
  • No idea is a bad idea = or so I thought until you spoke
  • I think we are all in agreement = I declare this over
  • Susan makes a very good point = all of you, be more Susan
  • It’s been good to hear both sides = why must this torture continue?
  • I think we push that out to next year = I always thought it was pointless
  • My team did good work on that too = if you steal the credit I’ll hunt you
  • I don’t have a strong view on this = I do, but I’m bored now
  • We obviously took lessons from the process = we didn’t think it through originally
  • We don’t need to boil the ocean = sssssshhhh
  • I’m not sure I see it quite that way = idiot
  • It was a solid effort = no bonuses
  • I’d like some more time on this = how on earth have you still not grasped this?
  • We can take some real positives from this = I’m attempting to not use the word ‘shambles’
  • I’m not sure that’s how I’d phrase it = but that’s what I was thinking, so kudos


  • “Just some constructive feedback” = I’m about to eviscerate everything youve ever done.
  • “I’m sure you’re aware that” = I think you’re an idiot who doesn’t have the first idea about what I am about to tell you.
  • “I can see where you’re coming from, but” = you’re talking nonsense


  • “But you knew that already” = just in case you’re a fuckwit.
  • “It goes without saying” = just in case you think I’m a fuckwit.
  • “Anyone need anything from Tesco’s ?” = This is my contribution as a team player as it came up recently in my appraisal. Secretly, I don’t want to spend time doing errands for you when you really should be better organised.
  • “I’ve brought cakes” = Love me.


  • “I welcome your challenge” = challenge me and I will rip you a new one


  • “Just a bit of banter”:  I reserve the right to be offensive & prejudiced if I so choose  
  • “Could you do me a favour?”: I insist you drop everything to do something but want to appear to be a nice boss
  • “Have you got 2 minutes?”: …an hour later….


  • great idea but we will go with this currently = not such a great idea and don’t suggest anymore in future


  • “Let’s look at this from another perspective…Anyone?” = For the love of all that is holy can someone save us from this crap idea before we all go down in flames


  • “I have chased them” – I forgot to chase them and will send them an email now.


  • “We don’t have a performance bell curve” = “we have one and you’re not going to like where you are, but it’s an HR process”


  • “I totally understand where you’re coming from on this” = WTF  Are you insane?!


  • ‘To cut a long story short’ – oh shit, shoot me now…..


  • I can’t remember,did I put this project in your objectives? – You and I know I did and you haven’t started it so here’s a disguised threat.

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