Media seems to have a significant influence over the way we interpret certain words or phrases. Certain passages become cliches as they are used consistently in  connection to recurring events (“Acme Inc swung to a $1B loss” … why do they always “swing” to loss? ). Even the most innocuous of them may create an unwanted impression if you inadvertently include them in your communication.

Here is one example.  As you know, there are introverts and extraverts among us and one is not any better or worse than the other. If I wanted to describe an introverted person, I could say something like

“He was a very private man”

Who do you picture ? I think of a scholar or a dignified gentlemen who lived on his own with a dog as his sole companion. 

If you please, another way to say it: “He kept to himself”.  I don’t know about you, but I picture a creepy criminal, likely a child molester or something equally heinous. This is a cliche newspapers use often and in my head, the association is very strong and clear.

Whenever you have a message to deliver, use phrases that evoke the feeling in listeners that you are looking to call to their minds. Beware of cliches as they are not only old and boring but can also be a source of an unwanted effect.