One of the best memes the internet has to offer is the one that says” how old were you when you found out…”  There is always something that amazes me when I see it.  However, one of my favorite realizations didn’t come from a meme at all.  It came from living in another part of the country.

If you have grown up in the mid-west you have probably heard the phrase “well bless your heart”.  It’s always used to convey sympathy, right?  Well imagine hearing that and then realizing that someone is actually making fun pf you.  Yes, the phrase your grandmother used to tell you she felt sorry for you is also used to tell you how stupid you are.  Is your mind blown?  I know mine was.

To put a little more context to this realization, here’s how I found out the double meaning.  It was at lunch one day with some co-workers.  One of them was having the hardest time understanding the concept of something we were talking about.  When they were finally on the same page as the rest of us my boss lets out a very degrading “bless your heart.”  I immediately stopped the conversation to ask why she used the phrase at that time and in that particular way.  Everyone at the table looked at me like I had asked them to explain trigonometry.

They began to tell me that in the south “bless your heart” was in no way used to express sympathy. Rather, to tell you how dumb you are.  So, in that moment, I got my first unsympathetic “bless your heart.”  Not going to lie, I did not like it.  The much more sympathetic tone of the phrase is more appealing to an old Yankee like me.  Oh, and yes, I got called that a lot down there.

So now every time I hear the phrase, I always make sure I know whether it’s sympathetic or not.  That always gets a great reaction.  Because, being back here, people just assume they are being nice when they say it.  So, now you know that you can use the phrase “bless your heart” in more than one way.  You’re welcome.

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