August 8, 2012

Reader Submitted Phrase We’d Like To Stab In The Face: “It Is What It Is”

From my reader, Lisa, who's super sick of this stupid-ass phrase:
fuck this phrase in the face
When I’m taking a short breather from bitching about whatever guy-treating-me-like-crap situation I’ve gotten myself into this month, a friend will sigh and mutter, “It is what it is.” 
Ugh. Look, I’m sure she's sick of hearing me complain about how my drug dealer ex bailed on our plans (again), but I don’t need her to reiterate that to me with this sad excuse for a thought. 
What I’m looking for is for my friend to tell me how to fix it! Give me some suggestions on how to make “it” different or change “is” to isn’t! Do I call him and yell like a wild banshee? Do I text every guy in my phone who has ever said I have a nice ass to boost my now-diminished self-esteem? Maybe I should try to sleep it off? Too bad it’s 5pm and I just ate an entire frozen pizza, which means I currently have more sugar-energy than a kitten in a room full of things that roll and jingle. 
Friends, let’s avoid saying this horrid phrase to each other. How about instead of wasting my time contributing nothing to the conversation, you shoot a little, “That sucks, what an ass,” or “How dare he?!” my way. It’d be much more appreciated.
The only people I've ever heard say the phrase, "It is what it is," are reality show contestants talking about how they fucked up during a competition. What I don't like about the phrase is how resigned it sounds. It's like you might as well just say, "Stop complaining 'cause there's nothing to be done about it anyway" and who wants to hear that from a buddy? Anyways, you're right: it sucks!


Unknown said...

I had an "It is what it is" exchange recently that I actually found kind of cute. I got a facebook message from an acquaintance at like 4am:

Him: "so, i was going through my facebook feed, and i saw a picture of you. first thought that popped in my head was "she's pretty."

just a random aside. also, do you like to dance?"

I know it was a drunk message but hey, I like to be called pretty so I replied:

Me: hey, thanks!

Him: haha no problem
was gunna send an apology message cause i was a tad drunk from dancing all night
but either way, statement holds true!

Me: yeah, i saw the timestamp, and figured it was just a drunk message, but doesnt mean i cant appreciate a compliment.

"yea, those 4am messages...they're a bitch
either way, i just figured you might like to dance. as a person that likes to dance, i thought that i'd like to dance with you.
it is what it is"

I mean, kind of cute right? Besides the fact that I will not allow myself to be picked up via 4am facebook message, i thought it was a charming enough use of the phrase. And OH GOD so indicative of dating in your 20s that someone calling me pretty on the internet can be charming.

Sarah said...


For years, I have battled against this phrase. It started when I worked at a company where every other employee used it to "explain" why processes weren't working and I constantly raged against this stupid cop-out. Just FIX it if it's broken, don't resign yourself to living with it.

But I will admit to being charmed, vicariously, by the above Unknown's dancing 4am messenger. Because it's like he's saying "hey, I'm putting myself out there and maybe you won't be receptive, but here it is."

Anonymous said...

that was great.

Vida said...

Guess what, Lisa? We ARE sick of it - and this is a much nicer phrase than STFU. He's bailed before, he's gonna bail again, he's a fucking drug dealer, just give us this damn phrase!

Anonymous said...

I had a coworker who would say "It is what it is" in regard to my dating disasters, and I actually found it incredibly helpful.

He hasn't responded to your text in two days?
No,he hasn't.
It is what it is.

Also, she was polish and a polish accent makes it sound even wiser.

Old Biddy said...

Ugh - I hate this one too. In my case my freinds don't say it to me, but my evil boss used to utter it a lot to excuse the den of nepotism that he had created.

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