Has anyone heard someone start a sentence or started their own sentence with the phrase “I would like to?” I can say that I have. I’ve heard it and I’ve used it. Do you know that by using this phrase, you actually are not owning or performing the action of what is said after the phrase “I would like to”?

There is a massive misuse of the phrase “I would like to” in common conversation. I feel that most people do not understand what they are truly saying when they use this phrase.

Have you ever been watching the news and heard a politician, celebrity or someone else use the phrase “I would like to apologize for my comments” or “I would like to apologize for my behavior”? 

When this phrase is used, the person saying it has actually not apologized for anything. They have actually avoided taking ownership of what they are saying. If you take the phrase out and actually say what you want, it has a completely different effect.

Think about hearing someone say “I would like to apologize for my actions” versus someone saying “I apologize for my actions.” Think about that for a minute. Do the two different comments mean something completely different? Yes. 

Saying it the first way, you have only alerted your audience that you have a desire to apologize but the reality is that you actually aren’t apologizing. Saying it the second way, you are actually performing the action of apologizing. 

What do you hear when someone says “I would like to go for a walk?” Does this mean that the person is actually going to go for a walk? If someone says “I am going for a walk,” they are actually taking the action of going for a walk.

Think about this the next time you go to use this phrase or hear it. Think about how the person or audience you are talking to is receiving the message. You can either let people know you have the desire to do some action, or you can let people know you are actually taking some action. Let’s get our message right.

Keith Pearson