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20 things Londoners say vs what they REALLY mean

By Time Out London editors

We’ve all done it: said one thing out loud, while meaning something completely different. After all, if us Londoners went round being 100 percent honest all the time, Oxford Street would be a permanent gauntlet of fisticuffs. Here’s just a few of our favourite things that we say versus what we actually mean. If it helps, you can tell everyone that you’ve never used any of them. (Translation: ‘MY SECRET SHAME HAS BEEN UNVEILED!’)

1. Londoners say: ‘The bus takes longer but it’s a nice chance to relax.’

They actually mean: ‘I don’t have a Travelcard and I’m too broke for the tube.’

2. Londoners say: ‘Oh, can’t complain really. You?’

Londoners mean: ‘I am two-to-three large glasses of wine away from complaining at enormous length about everything.’

3. Londoners say: ‘Ah, sorry: it’s actually no standing on the left on escalators.’ 


4. Londoners say: ‘Yeah, it’s really nice.’


© Jacques Lebleu

5. Londoners say: ‘I’m popping out to grab some lunch, anyone want anything?’

Londoners mean: ‘Please come with me so I have someone to talk to in the horrendously long queue at Leon.’

6. Londoners say: ‘Oh, my new area’s great. It’s really quirky and authentic.’

Londoners mean: ‘When I walk to the Londis, I fear for my life.’

7. Londoners say: ‘TAXI!’

Londoners mean: ‘God, I hate surge pricing.’

8. Londoners say: ‘I am literally ten minutes away.’

Londoners mean: ‘I am at home in my pants.’

© John Kortland

9. Londoners say: ‘Oh, I’ve actually got to go to Boots before I go home.’

Londoners mean: ‘I don’t want to have to spend the entire tube journey making small talk with you.’

10. Londoners say: ‘I love you’

Londoners mean: ‘I want you to pay half my rent.’

11. Londoners say: ‘I think service is already included.’

Londoners mean: ‘Please god, don’t let me have to pay any more money for this meal.’

12. Londoners say: ‘Sorry! I’m in a rush!’

Londoners mean: ‘Dream on, chugger. Dream on.’

© John Kortland

 13. Londoners say: ‘Sorry! I was in the tube!’

Londoners mean: ‘Thank god for airplane mode.’

14. Londoners say: ‘How’s your meal, sir?’ 

Londoners mean: ‘I really don’t care about you, your dinner or a potential career in the services industry.’

15. Londoners say: ‘I love Meetup groups!’

Londoners mean: ‘This way I don’t have to tell anyone I joined a dating site!’

16. Londoners say: ‘We’ve been here forever, and it’s really sad to see the area getting completely gentrified.’

They actually mean: ‘Mmm... sourdough.’

Bermondsey Belle

17. Londoners say: ‘I’m working late – I’ll finish soon!’

Londoners mean: ‘I’ll leave work drinks when I’m good and ready.’

18. Londoners say: ‘Excuse me, is anyone sitting there?'

Londoners mean: ‘You have five seconds to move your bag off the seat before I throw it onto the floor. And stamp on it.’

19. Londoners say: ‘Wow, crazy, so great to bump into you! We definitely should catch up properly over a pint! Soon!’

Londoners mean: ‘That was awkward. Now farewell, for this is the very last time our paths will cross in this life.’

20. Londoners say: ‘Sorry!’

Londoners mean: ‘Everything and anything but ‘sorry’, including ‘fuck off’, ‘get out of my way’, and ‘I’m going to pretend that I tried to hold the lift doors for you even though the thought of sharing this space with one other sweating, anxious potential farter is so disgusting that I just pressed close 10 times instead.’

More London LOLs:

16 lies that keep London going

28 ways you know you're a true Londoner

21 things London letting agents say… and what they really mean

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