Sometimes a complete stranger, or someone I've only known very recently, will recommend something to me, saying: I'm sure you'll love it!

Why would they say that? They can hope, and perhaps expect me to love whatever they recommend, but it's very strange to say that they're sure. They can't be sure, then why do they say they're sure?

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    This is a language question. But can you add some details? What is "it"? In what situations do you encounter this response? Are they trying to sell you something?
    – user3169
    Sep 5, 2017 at 0:53
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    why do they say that? seems really broad. Keeping the primarly meaning of the Q, isn't it possible to re-phrase it to something like: how can I answer such a statement? or What would be a polite way to tell them they're wrong?. Kind of... ?
    – OldPadawan
    Sep 5, 2017 at 6:30
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    This question is off topic, it has nothing to do with interpersonal skill.
    – Axel2D
    Sep 5, 2017 at 7:07
  • Are these people recommending things while having a conversation where whatever they are recommending is mentioned? Or do they come to you, and randomly start the conversation by saying: "You should try this, I'm sure you'll love it?"
    – Tinkeringbell
    Sep 5, 2017 at 10:17
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    @Tinkeringbell: Can only speak for me, but probably the latter case. But A 'You should' right before it would already kinda defuse it. I think this worrisomeness is very Asperger related. As I once had a friend who used such phrases very often. And the problem for me was, the way he worded it, robbed me any decision. When someone tells me I have to.... I immediately start worrying what the consequences of not doing it would be. Same for gerrit probably, when he gets told he WILL love it, he likely starts to worry how to handle the situation of that "half-stranger" was wrong.
    – dhein
    Oct 4, 2017 at 7:02

5 Answers 5


They can hope, and perhaps expect me to love whatever they recommend, but it's very strange to say that they're sure. They can't be sure, then why do they say they're sure?

They're not sure; they do expect you to love it. It's hyperbole: the literal meaning of words and how they are used in reality do not always tie up. There are lots of other examples, one that comes to mind is "literally" used for emphasis in a phrase that is actually figurative.

As apaul mentions in a comment, Asperger's is very relevant to this question. Tone and context are much more important in communication than the literal words used, but I understand that people on the spectrum can focus more on the literal meaning than neurotypicals. I have no magical solution or this, the only thing I can think of is to learn from experience what people actually mean when they say various phrases.


Ok, every one else answered now what the reasons are, why this is done.

But as it is tagged as Asperger and this behavior challenged me quite some time, I would like to give you advice here, how to better identify and handle that behavior.

I once had a friend from Hungary, and it seemed to me like being a thing of culture, he always was telling me what I "have to do", what I "must see" and what I "will enjoy", but instead of talking about the topics he came up with, we ended in a discussion all the time, of how he dares to try to tell me how to live my life.

I wasn't realizing that thats not what he ever wanted to say by that.

So as Aspie, I figured some time ago out — as I mentioned already in the comments — what makes me react so sensible on this kind of phrases is the fact that the statements are absolute, I felt besieged as it didn't leave any option for my personal impression, as I simply got dictated how it will be. I was worried how to react if I disagree, would I call him a liar if I tell him afterwards that I didn't enjoy it? Would he maybe see me as minor being, as I don't fit into his view of what people should be like? And many other thoughts had been the unconscious worries, his phrasing generated for me.

Well I can't tell for everyone on this planet, but for the majority this simple rule works out for me:

Whenever someone approaches you in a way, telling you what you are required to do/behave like, because they do and enjoy it you can safely assume they just mean it in the way, described by all the other answers on this post. Just start thinking critically about it, when that person telling you about it, is for no apparent reason not doing it them self.


Just like people who exaggerate when they say

You simply must see this movie. (Must I?)
That was totally awesome. (It wasn't that extraordinary)

So did the OP when they stated

Sometimes a complete stranger, or someone I've only known very recently, will recommend something to me, saying: I'm sure you'll love it!

Maybe going up to a complete stranger and telling them that they'll love the detersive they have picked off a shelf is common practice in the US, but nothing similar has ever happened to me in Italy, in the UK or in Ireland.

And now someone will point out that the OP is talking in general.

Exactly my point.

We all say things that should not be taken literally, they're just figures of speech. It's small talk that is meant to be friendly. That is meant to help break the ice and connect one fellow human being with another. Why be suspicious or wary when someone shares their enthusiasm? As long as they're not selling you real estate.

Anyways, take the opportunity for thanking them, and ask your own follow-up question. Delve into the "whys" and "whens" and "ifs". As explained in this Wikipedia article on small talk:

small talk

In spite of seeming to have little useful purpose, small talk is a bonding ritual and a strategy for managing interpersonal distance. It serves many functions in helping to define the relationships between friends, colleagues, and new acquaintances. In particular, it helps new acquaintances to explore and categorize each other's social position. Small talk is closely related to the need for people to maintain positive face and feel approved of by those who are listening to them. It lubricates social interactions in a very flexible way, but the desired function is often dependent on the point in the conversation at which the small talk occurs:

  1. Conversation opener
  2. At the end of a conversation
  3. Space filler to avoid silence

The OP will verify if the utterances were said to either open a conversation or to fill a moment of silence that the interlocutor perceived to be either awkward or unnecessarily strained.


What AndyT said is correct, at least in my experience.

I very frequently use the phrase "I'm sure you.." in many different situations. And when I say it, I don't mean that I'm actually sure about something. Instead, I mean "I hope that you..." in such cases.

Just an example that happened today here; I commented to a user A saying "I'm sure user B knows that..." while my point was "I sure hope user B knows that...".

User A felt uncomfortable with my comment, and asked how I could be sure about what user B knows.

Since this was an interaction via text, the exact intention was not clearly communicated to the user A. So instead of trying to discuss my point further, I chose to agree with their response and moved on. I will make it a point to minimize the usage of such phrases when it could cause misunderstanding.

I'm sure you get what I'm saying here. :)


It's a common expression.

People who love a particular thing, or think that someone else might, may use a phrase like this.

I know where you're coming from, I tend to have a similar reaction. They don't really know me well enough to know how I would feel about anything. I've come to see it as well meaning hyperbole, like:

It's the best thing EVER!!!1!!

I usually just smile and nod. Seems to work well enough. If it seems like a good idea, I may even try their recommendation. If it doesn't, I don't.

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    Also, people tend to work under the assumption that other people are like them. Their hunch that you like X isn’t entirely baseless: the logic is something like, “lots of people liked X (including me), and hey, you’re a person too, so I bet you’d like X as well!”
    – Lynn
    Sep 5, 2017 at 0:54

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