Why We Use Filler Words (I Say “Like” A LOT)

Tough thumbnail but I’m too lazy to change it. But here’s the video version

Filler words such as “umm, uhh, you know”, and my personal favorite, “like,” can be extremely distracting and these words are a very bad habit that most people don’t even realize they have.

I recorded a video last night and when editing, I realized I say “like” a shit ton. Most of the time I’m not even aware of it. But even when I was aware of it, I still did it.

Last night I ended up watching about 2 hours of YouTube videos and read at least 5 articles on why we tend to say “like” and use other filler words.

My goal was to first learn why we do it, and then learn how to stop.

I’m hoping to become so aware of it that I can eventually stop, because it can honestly become so distracting once you notice someone’s go-to filler word. You spend the rest of the time just waiting for that next filler word like it’s Chinese Water Torture.

I honestly think I first acquired the habit of saying “like” by mocking people who used it.

I tend to mock and tease people often, and it’s not because I’m an asshole (I am an asshole). It is actually just tough love. I like to tease people in a friendly matter to help them become aware of things so they can end up changing it.

I think it is also because I am socially awkward and I don’t like calling people out directly. Instead, I like to joke and not take it seriously, so I don’t seem too harsh.

I started mocking people who said “like” all the time and eventually karma came around and bit me in the ass and now I acquired a bad habit of using the world ALL THE TIME.

Valley Girl Speech

After my research I realized it is a very common filler word. It actually has so many different meanings and is very versatile.

Over the years the word “like” has acquired so many different definitions and when used in speech it can obtain even more definitions by using different tones of voice and so on.

The word is thought to have originated in the Valley. It was first considered to be Valley Girl Speech.

Like totally.

Eventually it caught on and I think it’s because people just constantly mocked it like I did, and it just stuck.

(I used like in that sentence but that one was an actual correct use of the word lol.)

I also intentionally used “lol” at the end of the sentence because it brings me to my next point.

The Infamous “LOL”

Filler words are evolving and nowadays I think the most common are “lol, lmao, bruh, bro” and so on.

These words are rarely used for their original definition anymore.

Most people aren’t laughing out loud when using the word “lol” and most people aren’t your bro.

These new age filler words are mostly used to portray lack of seriousness.

And to be honest I think these words are a crutch for insecurity.

But that’s a conversation for another time. 

Granted, these new filler words are used in text, and it’s super hard to portray context and tonality over text. So “lol” is kind of just used to lighten the load and show lack of seriousness.

But in my honest opinion I think this is causing everyone to not truly speak their mind anymore, because you can just throw “lol” in there and it no longer makes you look bad because you were like, totally joking lol.

Discourse Markers

Another reason I think I use the word “like” is because it is considered a “discourse marker.”

Meaning the word is used to direct the flow of conversation.

It establishes a loose connection between thoughts, and it also introduces someone else’s words or actions.

I believe I use it because I’m trying to give my listeners a real time view into my thought process. I’m trying to let my listeners follow, interpret, and predict what I’m about to say.

I am a hardcore empath and I’m very good at putting myself in people’s shoes, so I almost always know what they are about to say. So, I think I use the word “like” to bring people into my position so they can see what I’m trying to say and why I’m saying it.

Filled Pauses

My last and most important reason for using this word so much is because I used it as a “filled pause” as well. A lot of people use “umm, uhh, ehm, etc” as filled pauses. I might use these words as well, but I’m not aware of it. I think I tend to use “like” way more.

My reason for this filled pause is to imply that I’m not finished with my sentence or thought.

I’m used to being around people that always cut me off and speak over me.

Nowadays people only listen to speak, instead of listening to understand.

So, I believe I throw that word in there instead of pausing because pausing may seem like I’m ending my thought so someone else can interject. But in reality, I’m just looking for the right word to say, or I’m trying to think of my next sentence.

I could go deeper into this subject. But I am more so using it for myself to become more aware of my bad habit of saying “like” all the time.

I promise I am going to do my best to refrain from using it because I know how distracting and annoying it can be.

And I really want to start making long podcast episodes as well as make more YouTube videos, but I want to make sure my dialect is as smooth as possible. I want people to focus on my message instead of being distracted by my unprofessional communication skills.

One thought on “Why We Use Filler Words (I Say “Like” A LOT)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s