Skip to content

I Am The “So…” Guy

October 17, 2017

(image via wikimedia)

I caught myself starting off my sentences with the word “So…” last week.  I don’t know how long I’ve been doing it.  I had never noticed myself saying “So…” before, but since then I’ve caught myself doing this several times at work.

I’m pretty sure that I don’t do this at home because my wife would tell me.  She can’t stand it when people start their sentences with “So…”  Whenever people start their conversations with her by saying “So…,” I always hear about it later.  If my wife can’t stand it, then I’m sure a bunch of other people can’t stand it too.

My wife mocks people who start their sentences with “So…”  I mean, she doesn’t make fun of them in public.  My wife’s not like that.  She will gently mock them around me, and around me only.  She won’t even mock people around my daughters (very often) because we don’t want to raise children who think it’s okay to do that.  They’ve probably eavesdropped on us, though.

The thing is, at work I have to make co-workers redo stuff that they don’t want to redo.  For much of my career, I’d just go ahead and fix others’ mistakes myself because that’s usually easier, but now I find myself explaining to them what they need to do in order to fix their errors, and when I begin, I seem to start with “So…”

Once you get a reputation for something like this, it’s tough to be rid of it.  If I keep saying “So…,” coworkers will start expecting it.  Even when I don’t do it, they will imagine that I said it anyway.  The “So…” reputation will linger, like the stench of a serial farter who has changed his diet and no longer has flatulence issues.  But it won’t matter.  People always remember.

I’ve had plenty of mishaps at work before this and have survived.  Years ago, I blanked out at the beginning of a major presentation and barely stammered my way through it.  I’ve walked around all afternoon with broccoli stuck in my teeth.  My fly was once open for an extended period of time.  But as far as I know, these were one-time occurrences.  When it comes to “So…,” I’m a repeat offender.

If my coworkers have noticed that I’ve become the “So…” guy, I haven’t seen the consequences yet.  I haven’t noticed anybody flinch when they see me approaching.  Last week, I walked into a room of coworkers laughing, and nobody stopped.  A couple coworkers even asked me for job-related assistance today.  From what I’ve seen, there is still time to save me.

The first step is to pause before I begin speaking.  I don’t have to pause before each sentence, though.  I seem to say “So…” only as my introduction.  Once I start talking, I’m fine.  It’s not like saying “Uuuuhhhh.”  “Uuuhhh…” can show up any time.  I’ve learned to maintain a pause instead of saying “uuuhhh.”  You would think that quitting “So…” would be more difficult than quitting “uuuhhh,” but that hasn’t been my experience yet.

I don’t want to get stuck with the “So…” reputation.  I don’t want to be the guy who gets quietly mocked behind his back.  I’ve been in that position many times in my life, and I’ve worked hard to climb out.  If anything, I’ve recently been in the position to quietly mock others, and I rarely use that power (because I’ve been on the other side of it).  I’d rather have the power to be the mocker than to be the mocked.  I’m okay with the power to mock because I’m responsible enough to wield it wisely.  But I can’t maintain that power if I keep starting my sentences with “So…”

So I must stop it.

I mean… Therefore, I must stop it.

  1. So long as they don’t think you’re ” so so”. And if so, so what!

  2. I hear it on TV all the time, and I agree with your wife, and it sounds condescending. We wh are conscious of this enough to actually care are a veeery teensy weensy minority. It’s an example of how something very minor can get very annoying and needs to be corrected.

  3. Well, if you want to get rid of it, so be it, but I am not certain what is wrong with starting sentences with so. I like using it that way because it sounds like I’m in the middle of a conversation with someone. I would genuinely like to know why starting sentences with so is an issue. Very interesting post!

    • The reason it is really irritating is this – you were meant to have been listening. If you start your sentence with ‘So…’ the subtext message you are sending to the other person is: ‘So, what you just said was boring and irrelevant. So, I’m just going to start talking about the far more interesting stuff I was just thinking whilst you were droning on… 😦

      • Thank you for taking time to reply! That is fascinating and I will definitely increase my attention and look for the different ways this word is used. I found an article from NPR and another from Grammar Girl that illuminated some things, but I’m glad to know about this aspect of things.

        • It’s something I happened to be thinking about recently for a post I was writing, so it struck a chord. 🙂

        • I still don’t understand, how is it rude? It’s just a way of speaking and cannot people differentiate whether the user is intending to be condescending?

  4. I do this. A lot. Bad habit. Hard to break if you don’t nip it in the butt early.

  5. You are in the majority in 2017, my friend. I do transcription, and every single file has people leading sentences with “So.” The issue is that the grammar software always tags it as though I had improperly transcribed it, but that is not the case. It’s just how we talk now. Imagine if Rudyard Kipling had written the “So Just Stories” instead of the “Just So Stories!”

  6. It’s become a true plague on TV. I think So should be used at the conclusion of a paragraph, presentation or speech, summing up what you wanted to say.

  7. I think the level of So-ing going on now is a fad. Some people start every sentence with it!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. What Are The Strange Gifts of Children of Narcissists? | An Upturned Soul

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: