Stop using the phrase ‘this one’

It’s insincere and meaningless


Louise from Science, to whom I have not spoken in ten years, posts a lot of pictures of her and “this one”.

But it is not just Louise who is using this phrase. Everyone has been using it to describe their boyfriends, girlfriends, friends and pets, and for far too long.

“This one” on its own doesn’t even make much sense. This one what? This one is the light of your life? This one can eat their weight in chicken nuggets? This one time at band camp?

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Just hanging out with this one

How did this trend start? Did someone forget to finish their sentence before posting a couple selfie and overnight, unwittingly create the grating phrase? Likely, most Facebook friends and Instagram followers – whether or not they really know you – will know exactly who “this one” is. They do not need to be told, it does not need to be signalled at them.

And especially not in such a faux-throwaway way. There is a growing social media tendency to present something significant – friendship, a relationship – as something casual. It’s a casual way of boasting: proving something without obviously glamourising it. It’s gloss by stealth.

For it is no longer good enough to simply tell the person you love that they are wonderful: if it is not splattered across your networks, it isn’t really happening. It’s insincere and it cheapens relationships.

This one, this boy, this girl, this person, this fish, however it’s used, needs to be stopped. Everyone knows you’re together, and besides, why does everyone need to know in the first place? I’m sure we’ve all used the phrase smugly once or twice but enough is enough.

Come up with something more creative if you must use anything at all. How about their name?