Updated: Nov 11, 2020
The Brits are well-known for their insincerity and inability to 'tell it like it is,' a character trait that seems
to have dissipated as the English language travelled across the pond to our straight-talking American cousins.
What is often referred to as British politeness is actually a social disease that prevents us from speaking directly. Why do we talk so much about the weather? When a British person talks about the weather, they are talking about anything but the weather, a cunning technique to talk about the most taboo topic in Britain next to dogging and Morris dancing without a license, 'feelings.' The very thought of talking openly about ones feelings can force a Brit to self-administer Chinese burns. So, we use the weather. Take this exchange for example:
Dave: How's it going fella?
Gary: Oh not bad, better once this rain has eased up.
Dave: Ah it's not so bad, fine rain, we'll not have any floods.
Gary: Well, we'll see, last time it was like this my geraniums were dead within a week.
Is this exchange about rain? No.
Gary is feeling blue, he introduces the weather as common ground where two men can comfortably talk about feelings without actually talking about feelings. Dave tries to reassure him, suggesting 'yeah maybe it is bad, but it could be worse' in other words, hey cheer up. Gary is not entirely convinced and refers to the last time he felt like this, the geraniums however could be a reference to his mother-in-law who he has murdered.
It's not easy speaking in code. Here are a few examples of common British expressions and what the sneaky Brit's really mean:
Not so/too bad – totally amazing.
Sorry, could you repeat that? – I'm not sorry, I heard what you said, I would like you to say it again so I may better position myself to destroy you.
I'll be in touch – you will never hear from me again. If this is said at the end of an interview, you 100% do not have the job.
By the way – I've been listening to your nonsense for 10 minutes, now I am going to to say the thing I wanted to say which was the only reason I wanted to be in your company today.
Fancy a quick pint? - call your wife and tell her you've broken both your legs a bit and won't be home until late, we my friend, are going to drink ALL the beer.
(it's) quite good – this is the worst thing that has ever happened to humanity.
Take your time/in your own time – if you take one second longer than you already have, you will only be identifiable by your dental records.
When you can – please do the thing I have asked before I finish this sentence