Another buzz phrase that's driving me nuts--and it's a short drive!

@dragon54u (31352)
United States
April 22, 2013 9:59am CST
I hate the phrase “reach out”, especially when it is used in business communications. I recently received and email that stated, in part, that “One of our support technicians will be reaching out to you shortly to troubleshoot your problems”. Why can’t they just say that they will contact me? That’s what they mean. The phrase “reach out” is so pervasive that even “Vegas”, a show that strives to reflect the styles and culture of the early days of gambling in Las Vegas, has used it and the old Bell slogan (reach out and touch someone) didn’t even appear until 1979. I hear it in television, radio, real life, and in print. I don’t “reach out” to my doctor; I place a call to his office. I don’t “reach out” to a fellow myLotter, I send them a PM. I don’t “reach out” to the electric company to point out an error in my bill, I contact the complaint department! I do not extend my arm and try to grasp someone’s hand—I pick up a phone, open my email, or get in my car to CONTACT them. Well, thanks for letting me rant. I’ve been fuming about this for about a year. Does this phrase drive you nuts or did it just touch a sensitive spot for me? Do you feel more personal when you say “reach out” or do you just feel silly? Do you mind modern phrases and buzz words inserted in shows that purport to be authentic period pieces or could you not care less?
3 people like this
12 responses
@GreenMoo (11842)
22 Apr 13
Totally agree. That is a horrific phrase, and is completely unsuitable in the context you've mentioned. Reaching out is something that you may do if you wanted to let someone know you cared following a trauma for instance, not something you do in a business relationship. Thankfully I've not seen it used by a corporation yet, but where the US goes the rest of the world (sadly) follows, so I'm sure I've that to look forward to.
4 people like this
@dragon54u (31352)
• United States
22 Apr 13
I don't even look at the phrase in that manner. If I want to let someone know I care I will reach out to touch them or hug them if I am physically there but if I'm not physically there, "reach out" has no logical context. Yes, the US is spreading this crap all over the globe. In twenty years a time traveler (if such should exist) would probably find that the language will be incomprehensible to anyone who hasn't followed the buzzwords and phrases over the years. It reminds me of 1984 or Brave New World where words and phrases are distorted to mean something completely different.
2 people like this
@GreenMoo (11842)
22 Apr 13
It wouldn't be a phrase I'd use myself ever, but I'd at least recognise it in that context.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (92278)
• Marion, Kansas
23 Apr 13
"In the year of our Ford"!!
@GardenGerty (92278)
• Marion, Kansas
22 Apr 13
For the most part the only television I watch is with my clients and we have a whole set of commercials we are constantly seeing that I have grown sick of. I can understand your disgust with the phrase "reach out" though as it seems that it is trying to soften much of the reality of life. We need services and assistance and that does not include putting our hands on someone, but rather using modern communication. Isn't this a great place to rant?
4 people like this
@dragon54u (31352)
• United States
22 Apr 13
Yes, this is a great place to rant and rave and comfort oneself with the thought that people actually care about your ranting! Yes, everyone is trying to soften life. I think this is very destructive. Again and again I see people interviewed on the news that say, "this can't be happening". Well, it is so you'd better start dealing with it! They say they are confused about something that happened, like their house burning down, and don't know what to think. Where is the mystery there?! Your house burned down, you should feel sad and maybe angry, and you'd better start thinking right away about finding shelter and correcting your loss. I'm not unsympathetic, but c'mon--where is the feisty determination that humans are noted for, where is the spirit of recovery and adaptability? Gone, in a cloud of media-induced confusion and denial of reactive emotions. It makes me so mad!
3 people like this
@Hatley (161977)
• Garden Grove, California
22 Apr 13
H i garden Gerty iI do not mid reach out as much as being tOld bad nes then slamned with O H BUT HAVE A NICE DAY.The nex time I am told I am over drawn at tbe bank then informed BUT HAVE A NICE DAY I will just phone for the men in kittle white coats to take that person away.
4 people like this
@GardenGerty (92278)
• Marion, Kansas
23 Apr 13
@dragon, Mad is a good honest emotion. @Hatley, I do not think people even listen to what is driveling out of their mouths.
@Fatcat44 (1142)
• United States
22 Apr 13
Talk about using the phrase wrong. They are not reaching out to you on this. Reach out means something totally different.
4 people like this
@dragon54u (31352)
• United States
22 Apr 13
So what is it supposed to mean? To me, it means a physical action but I'm sure it has been distorted and the meaning changed like so much of our language nowadays.
1 person likes this
@Fatcat44 (1142)
• United States
22 Apr 13
i.e. like we can reach out to help to the people in China after the earthquake. We do not call them. We can reach out to help those in society with problems, etc. Your service tech's used the phrase totally wrong.
3 people like this
@dragon54u (31352)
• United States
22 Apr 13
Thanks, Fatcat, that makes sense and I might use the phrase in that context (but probably not). So much of our language has been twisted, perverted, and dumbed down so that people don't have to think as much. I guess that's the point. Destroy the thought process, relieve the people of having to think, and they are more easily manipulated.
@timetravel (1428)
• United States
22 Apr 13
I associate "reach out" with the song, "Reach out and touch...somebody's hand...make this world a better place...if you can..." - didn't the Supremes sing that one? Anyway, I agree with you and all who speak of dumbing down English phrases and such. There's little that's genuine and sincere in most of them. As you stated, what's wrong with just saying, "A support technician will call you in a day or two to discuss the problem."? I don't want a stranger "reaching out" to me. That's a violation of my personal space.
4 people like this
@dragon54u (31352)
• United States
22 Apr 13
I never thought about it but you're right--part of my irritation is that I feel my space is being violated even though no one is actually touching me. I think you're right about the song, that was Diana Ross. I love her voice and music. You also made me think of that song "Reach Out" (I'll be there) by the Four Tops. Remember that great old Motown music? Now look, you've made me smile!
1 person likes this
@savypat (20248)
• United States
22 Apr 13
Once I got pass my sever irritation with the word cool, being used to describe anything positive, back in the good old days, fifty or sixty years ago. My feeling for phases or even just words used in incorrect manner, is I just don't care. In fact all I need to know is what the current meanings are and I'm good to go.
3 people like this
@dragon54u (31352)
• United States
22 Apr 13
I should have that attitude, too. But I was raised to respect the written and spoken word and to do so correctly, that the way you expressed yourself and your accuracy told a lot about your character. Old habits die hard. I wish society has more respect for the language.
1 person likes this
@Hatley (161977)
• Garden Grove, California
22 Apr 13
hi dragon 54u I hate that phrase and also HAVE A NICE DAY specially if the person has just told me my car needs 400 dollars repair or my son is failinG math then adds this BUT HAVE A NICE DAY. Has that person lost all sense of reality and of intelligence?
3 people like this
@dragon54u (31352)
• United States
22 Apr 13
No, that person has become lazy and self-centered, unwilling to really invest themselves into communicating with another person. So they use a tired old phrase that means nothing (never really did) but will make everyone think they are polite.
1 person likes this
@BarBaraPrz (18003)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
22 Apr 13
Or they say, "Have a good one."
@Hatley (161977)
• Garden Grove, California
22 Apr 13
hi dragon okay I won't reach out but I will have to say have a nuce day especially f you have just been told your rent is overdue, you need a new tire and your wife just filed for divorce but it has to be said HAVE A NICE DAY, hAVE A NICE DAY OH YES HAVE A NICE DAY ugh ugh ugh. Why not have a bad day,a lousy day without mosquitoes.just say have a nice day ugh Have a Nice day as I send for the men in white coats to take you away. oh hey come back here as I ha d not yet said HAVE A NICE DAY HAVE A NICE DAY HAVE A NICE DAY . y ay
@dragon54u (31352)
• United States
22 Apr 13
I remember when Have a Nice Day began with that ridiculous smiley face--I immediately hated it. It was insincere and anonymous and very soon became something that people said without thinking of it or attaching any meaning to it. Like today when people say "how are you" and don't even wait for a reply--it's an atrocious habit that filling the air with words that mean nothing! I still refuse to say have a nice day. I tell someone "I hope you have a good day" or "I hope your day goes great!" if it's appropriate after our conversation. I might say "I hope your day gets better" or even "life stinks but I hope it gets better soon for you". "have a nice day", to me, is the same as cursing at someone and just as obscene because of its lack of meaning and worse, because it takes the place of genuine thought and sentiment.
2 people like this
• United States
22 Apr 13
I always hated that darn smiley face! It seemed a mockery of a smile.
2 people like this
@ElicBxn (60162)
• United States
23 Apr 13
Its one of those PC things. I guess its been decided that "reaching out" is considered trying to involve you in the "cure" of the problem. That if you are "invested" in the fix that you will learn to do it yourself next time. I don't know. My squirrel-ly little brain just ignores those things and inserts what it wants to hear. Gets me in trouble sometimes, but not that often...
3 people like this
@dragon54u (31352)
• United States
23 Apr 13
I think it's all part of trying to make the world "softer" and deny harsh realities. That's a very destructive goal and sets people up to deny their own strength so to make them ineffective at handling their problems--excuse me, "challenges"!
2 people like this
@wolfie34 (26881)
• United Kingdom
22 Apr 13
When I think of the phrase 'reaching out' it makes me think of lay priest, vicars and a term derived from the church, about the clergy reaching out to their congregation, to their flock. Certainly not the way you described it, or the support technician, where they took that from I don't know. It's more about religion, to reach out.. Like the song goes 'Reach out and touch faith' That would irritate me if someone was using it in that context.
@dragon54u (31352)
• United States
23 Apr 13
I never thought of it in a religious context but it fits that much better than in common, everyday conversation. It's even in books that I read for entertainment, as in "he reached out to his operative in Italy", which strikes me as a stupid and inappropriate way to use the phrase.
@bunnybon7 (33964)
• Holiday, Florida
24 Apr 13
it doesnt really bother me but then other sayings do im sure that i dont recall right at this moment. but there are things i notice at times on shows that dont belong there that they either say or do. and also there are times for a second in old movies i think they are going to reach for their cell phone or wonder why dont they, then i realise, dumby me, there was no such thing then
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31352)
• United States
24 Apr 13
Yeah, I do that, too! I was watching an old Perry Mason episode the other day and he told Della to drive down the road to a pay phone to call for help if he wasn't out of the house in 4 minutes. It made me reflect on how good we have it now. As much as I gripe and moan about the misuse of cell phones, they are life savers and good to have in an emergency.
@BarBaraPrz (18003)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
22 Apr 13
The word I hate is "proactive". Why must I be proactive about something? Why can't I just do something?
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31352)
• United States
23 Apr 13
Yeah, that's another one that really gets my goat. It means to take the initiative, as far as I know, but to me it's an oxymoron.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (8207)
• Paso Robles, California
23 Apr 13
First, I agree that "reach out" used in this way is incorrect. I'm also not a fan of "Have a nice day." But the phrase I've most learn to hate in the past few years is "Thank you for choosing AT&T." If you have ever tried to contact this company by phone, you are greeted by a recording who gives you a bunch of choices that do not really relate to why you called. (Or at least to why I'm calling.) As you are screaming "None of these" and pressing zero like mad trying to get a person, the voice will say "I'm sorry, I didn't understand that. Did you want ___ or ___ or ___?" (None of which I wanted.) The only proper way to cuss at the recording is to press zero about 25 times in succession and then if you are lucky the voice will say "One moment, I'll connect you to an agent who can help you." Sometimes the live person actually does help. Sometimes they can't. Last time even the tech who came to the house to connect my new modem after the old one failed couldn't connect it. He finally brought in a new power supply for the old modem and then it worked again. It was only the power supply. But every conversation with AT&T ends with "Thank you for choosing AT&T." When I took the new modem back to the AT&T store after 18 days, the same person who told me I had 30 day to return it said she couldn't take it back because it was over 15 days. She pointed to the back of the receipt on a bunch of print. I said they told me when I bought this I had thirty days. I was obviously angry. Then she decided that since they told me I had 30 days, she'd give my a refund. And then she said, "Thank you for choosing AT&T." Oc course, when I ordered my DSL service, I had no choice except AT&T or no service. I'd never have chosen them if I'd had a real choice. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad to have the DSL service back. But I don't like that I can't buy a back-up power supply so this won't happen again. The tech said you can't buy them at the AT&T store. When I asked how to get one, he said you call one of us. And the call to have him come out is over $90. (This time it cost me nothing, though, because AT&T sent him out, not me. )
@bunnybon7 (33964)
• Holiday, Florida
24 Apr 13
have you ever called a verision users cell and when they dont answer the service says, please enjoy the music while you wait. ? when the person finally answers i feel like saying, i didnt enjoy the music
1 person likes this
@bagarad (8207)
• Paso Robles, California
25 Apr 13
We have Verizon, but when my husband doesn't answer right away, I don't get any music. Maybe the person programs that in, not Verizon.