10 Positive Phrases Americans Find Cringiest in 2023

Don't feel bad if you roll your eyes at these overly optimistic phrases. You are not alone!

When certain phrases get popular—we can’t help but use them All. The. Time. But sometimes—looking at you, YOLO and other annoying phrases—they overstay their welcome and land a spot on the list of overused phrases that make you roll your eyes when you hear them in conversation. That’s certainly the case with these annoyingly chipper phrases, according to a recent survey of almost 1,000 Americans.

Here’s how the research was done: Preply—an online tutoring company—surveyed 995 people in July 2023 about their perspectives toward popular positive phrases they hear regularly. Respondents of this survey ranged in age from 18 to 76 years old, with an even split between genders.

So now it’s up to you—would you actually feel optimistic or be pushed one step closer to a rage blackout if you heard one of the following 10 catchphrases?

Get Reader’s Digest’s Read Up newsletter for knowledge, humor, cleaning, travel, tech and fun facts all week long.

10. “The best is yet to come”

The Best Is Yet To Come 10 Phrases Americans Find Cringiest 2023RD.com, Getty Images

Does that mean the best will never be here? The phrase—which comes from the popular Frank Sinatra song of the same name—explains that while life is good now, things are about to get even better.

9. “Look for the silver lining”

Look For The Silver Lining 10 Phrases Americans Find Cringiest 2023RD.com, Getty Images

Ever gone through a dark period and someone—well meaning as they may be—tells you to “look for the silver lining”? Not exactly the type of sentiment you want to hear when everything seems to be going wrong. The phrase comes from John Milton’s “Comus,” which says “Was I deceived? or did a sable cloud; Turn forth her silver lining on the night?”

8. “Choose joy”

Choose Joy 10 Phrases Americans Find Cringiest 2023RD.com, Getty Images

“Choose joy” is a paraphrase of a variety of biblical verses that call on Christians to have joy in hard circumstances. Or in some cases, choosing joy means choosing God, because he “fills us with joy” or “increases our joy.” But it can be annoying, because it’s not like anyone consciously goes out and chooses sadness.

7. “Count your blessings”

Count Your Blessings 10 Phrases Americans Find Cringiest 2023RD.com, Getty Images

This sentiment—which originates from the hymn “Count Your Blessings” by E.O. Excell—is linked to the practice of gratitude, yet it might ring false for someone who feels like there aren’t many blessings to count.

6. “Find your bliss”

Find Your Bliss 10 Phrases Americans Find Cringiest 2023RD.com, Getty Images

If you don’t feel happy, then all you need to do is find the thing that makes you happy, and you’ll be happy! So much easier said than done … This one dates back to 1988 and is credited to mythology teacher and writer Joseph Campbell, who uttered the phrase in an interview with PBS.

5. “Carpe diem”

Carpe Diem 10 Phrases Americans Find The Cringiest 2023RD.com, Getty Images

Loosely translating to “seize the day,” the phrase “carpe diem” dates all the way back to the poem Odes written by the Roman poet Horace in 23 BC. It rose to popularity in the 1989 movie Dead Poet’s Society, as a sentiment to enjoy life while you can, but that can feel like a lot of pressure when you just want to be a couch potato and watch Netflix!

4. “Good vibes only”

Good Vibes Only 10 Phrases Americans Find Cringiest 2023RD.com, Getty Images

While the mantra may make you think of peace signs and tie-dye, this term doesn’t always go over well with the general public. (Don’t got good vibes? Then get out!) The phrase was coined for the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, when someone described the music festival as “producing nothing but good vibes.” The catchphrase was soon shortened and used everywhere—quite literally.

3. “Happiness is a choice”

Happiness Is A Choice 10 Phrases Americans Find Cringiest 2023RD.com, Getty Images

When someone is not feeling particularly happy, the last thing they likely want to hear is that they are choosing those unhappy emotions. While currently cringeworthy, this phrase dates as far back as the origin of stoicism, a branch of philosophy that believes the practice of virtue (goodness, morality, honesty and the like) is enough to achieve happiness.

2. “It is what it is”

It Is What It Is 10 Phrases Americans Find Cringiest 2023RD.com, Getty Images

Although this phrase first came from a published article in 1949 by J.E. Lawrence about the reality of frontier life in Nebraska—”it is what it is, without apology”—the usage of the phrase took on a life of its own in the 2000s, particularly being used within the context of sports.

1. “Live, laugh, love”

Live Laugh Love 10 Phrases Americans Find Cringiest 2023RD.com, Getty Images

Topping the list of the most cringeworthy phrase you’ve no doubt seen on various throw pillows, mugs and cozy signs in your grandmother’s house, this phrase is actually abridged from the 1904 poem “Success” by Bessie Anderson Stanley, which says “he achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much.” The catchphrase was shortened and thrown out to the mass market, to the point where you probably can’t walk through a Home Goods without seeing it on something.


  • Preply: “Survey reveals America’s favorite (and most cringey) positive phrases”

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a journalist and content strategist with a main focus on nutrition, health and wellness coverage. She holds an MA in Journalism from DePaul University and a Nutrition Science certificate from Stanford Medicine. Her work has been featured in publications including Taste of Home, Reader's Digest, Bustle, Buzzfeed, INSIDER, MSN, Eat This, Not That! and more.