We’re told to avoid clichés like the plague.
Then again, clichés start to matter when personal experiences remind us why people said them in the first place.
Warnings about silk purses and sow’s ears never quite make sense until we spend four years in a toxic relationship desperately trying to morph our partner a clone of ourselves.
So what we learn is that most clichés do represent genuine empathy. Centuries ago, the first time a cliché was uttered, somebody somewhere felt better. Somebody experienced a greater sense of perspective and comfort while dealing with life’s difficulties.
Back then, it wasn’t a cliché – it was an act of compassion.
Years later, clichés are useful as advanced warnings and memory aids. They’re helpful for making sense of an ambiguous world. And they offer us a handle by which we can lift things.
And even though they’re not the best choice for opening a speech, writing a cover letter or titling a book, sometimes a cliché is as good as gold.