'Your hair smells nice'. If they can smell your hair, they're too close. Picture: freeimages.com

London - At the end of the day, all things considered, it has to be said we do waffle on a bit.

In fact, the average adult wastes 1.7 million words over a lifetime while struggling to make a point, according to a study.

It found that we litter our sentences with around 60 meaningless words every day to give ourselves time to think.

Common verbiage includes “like”, “um” and “you know”, and the study found the words “probably”, “possibly” and “basically” are wrongly used seven to nine times a day.

Unsurprisingly, most waffle is reserved for when we are at work, where many are more likely to say “could we consider other options?” than “I don’t like your idea”, or “it is okay” instead of “I am really disappointed”.

Three quarters of the 1,002 people surveyed admitted that they say “maybe” when they mean “no” in an attempt to avoid confrontation with colleagues and strangers. Almost a third try to sidestep arguments by using the phrase “I kind of agree” when they really mean “I do not agree at all”.

And 64 percent always say “I’m fine” when asked how they are when “I’m not okay – stop asking” would be a more honest answer.

However, the study found our sentences tend to be shorter when around friends and family, with 91 percent saying they are more honest about their feelings in the company of those they know well.

Busy Londoners and those aged over 55 are least wasteful with their words, while those aged 35 to 44 let them flow most freely.

A total of 46 percent of those surveyed by the New York Bakery Co said they wished they were more straight-talking.

The company’s Simon Foster said: “Brits often beat around the bush when making a point.” - Daily Mail