English is Stupid

English is a stupid language sometimes.

Actually, English is a stupid language a LOT of the time.

Every now and then I come across a saying that makes no sense to me, and today I overheard someone say “It was the least I could do.”

You know the saying, I’m sure. You do something nice for someone and they do something nice in return saying “It was the least I could do”; but take a second and think about it. How is that a good thing?

“It was the least I could do.”

If you did something nice for someone, and they did something in return, and when you said thanks they said “It was the absolute, smallest amount of effort I could put in, in response to the nice thing you did for me” would you feel good? Probably not. You might even be insulted. In fact, you probably should feel insulted.

“The least you could do? Well, maybe you should do more then!”

I’m sure there is a different way to interpret that saying and have it not be insulting. I’ve analyzed other sayings (“Waste not, want not” as an example) and been able to look a them from a different perspective that makes sense, but for some reason this one I’m struggling to sort out.

Just another one of the random things that pop in to my head sometimes.