Take a look at these three lines, and think about what they have in common:
- At a bar: “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?”
- On a résumé: “I am a highly motivated self-starter!”
- At a party: “… that’s what she said.”
They’re all pretty cheesy, right?
Err … hopefully you realize they’re cheesy. If not …
But let’s break it down some more. What exactly does it mean to be “cheesy”?
Well, they’re cheesy because they’re overused and unoriginal. If you heard someone utter any of these lines, you probably wouldn’t think they were clever or witty, let alone be impressed.
At some point, maybe these lines were clever and witty. But they’ve become so ingrained and overused that there’s no longer anything original about them.
When you use one of these lines now, all you’re demonstrating is laziness or outright ineptitude. You’re too lazy or inept to come up with a good pickup line. You’re too lazy or inept to describe your professional self in a meaningful way. You’re too lazy or inept to come up with an original one-liner.*
You’re too lazy or inept.
Ultimately, pickup lines, personal taglines, and one-liners are an arms race. Everyone is hoping to one-up everyone else. And when someone does come up with a good line, it catches on and spreads. Before we know it, everyone is using the same line, and everyone is back on the same level competitively. So the process continues, with everyone racing to come up with the next original line.
So how do you “win” the arms race then?
Well, you can’t. All you can do is keep up and hopefully stay just ahead of the competition.
This means that you can’t simply rehash a line you learned from a blog post or video you came across.
Instead, you have to learn to come up with your own unique lines. You have to use your observational skills (as I described here) and constantly think of fresh new ways to impress someone, whether romantically, professionally, or socially.
So instead of relying on this mindset where you’re out searching for the best line to repeat, take on a mindset of originality. Try to come up with words that are uniquely your own.
Put some effort into it. That’s the bottom line.
*There are instances when it may be perfectly acceptable — and witty — to use a cheesy line. One instance is when you’re employing it as a callback. Ergo, don’t think of this as firm no. Just be wary of it.