Made popular by The Office, that’s what she said is something I can’t escape. It comes up in everyday conversation at the most inopportune moments, often provokes a laugh, and unleashes a moment of embarrassment upon the individual who just so happened to utter the sexual innuendo. The popularity has spread to Facebook and created a few Twitter hashtags.
While I enjoy a few gabs now and then, I think the phrase may sometimes be overdone. When hanging out with a group of friends, posting a Facebook status update, or sending out a tweet I often find myself double checking my words to make sure they don’t contain anything that could be construed as a “that’s what she said” phrase.
A few months ago, I was hanging out with a friend sharing a story about my day and what I thought was a serious conversation quickly turned into a “that’s what she said” moment. I can’t even remember what I said to cause that reaction but I couldn’t help but wonder if the individual in question was paying attention to my story or just looking for me to inadvertently slip up.
That moment leads me to wonder if maybe we’re abusing this phrase. When is it appropriate to call out “that’s what she said” and when should we keep our mouths shut and be patient listeners? Surely, there must be some guidelines. I don’t like having to mentally alter or edit myself before I say something and having to worry about the context of my words and if they’ll be mistaken somehow. An errant “that’s what she said” even catches me off guard sometimes or makes me feel silly if I don’t understand what I said. Has this gone too far or maybe I should just accept it and move on? Who knows?