Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you heard phrases that make you feel very confused?

Have you ever heard somebody repeat a phrase or say something in English to show how they are affected?

It can be quite confusing when somebody is trying to talk about something that really affected them.

We’re going to look at phrases that talk about how somebody feels in a more extreme way in English.

This question is all about this and even gives a real life example that you can probably relate to.

Hi girls,

Almost one year has passed since I started to listen to your wonderful podcast, through which you’re rubbing off on me. I think of the way that you talk as an example of this, like when you say something like; “I love it, I love it”, or  “for sure, for sure”. Do you know you often repeat these phrases? I’ve been doing that lately!

To learn more in an enjoyable way, I’ve been watching TV shows and movies. Last week, I finally completed the whole series of “Sex and the City”. In the show, four New York girls often say “I’m freaked out!” or “You’re freaking me out!” I somehow understand what they mean from the context –like, “I’m messed up”?– but not 100%. Could you tell me the exact meaning? I believe that “Sex and the City” is set in mostly the nineties. Is this phrase out of date or still popular?

If you have more time left on the recording, please tell me what TV shows you recommend. It’ll be very helpful. I’ve once tried “Portlandia”, but they spoke sooooo fast that I couldn’t catch up and lost my confidence in listening. I was freaked out!

Thanks a lot!:)

Nozomi from Japan

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Trying To Relate To Real Life Examples

Watching TV shows is a wonderful way to get good examples of how natives naturally speak in English.

It’s understandable why you question yourself on the popularity of the phrase.

In this example, Sex and the City is considered older now so it’s important to think about these things when you are choosing what TV shows to watch.

You want to find things that are current and that you can relate to.

To say that something freaks you out is not new, but it’s also not outdated though it’s used on this older TV show.

It’s helpful to watch TV shows to learn, but know that it’s helpful to find out if these phrases are used as often anymore.

Different Uses and Ways of Using It

So today we want to talk about this phrase in a different way.

We have focused mostly on the phrase “freaked out” as meaning scared or concerned.

First of all,  saying something like “you had me freaked out” does not mean messed up.

It’s more about being nervous or even unsure. 

“I’m freaked out” or “You’re freaking me out” are a bit different in their uses.

These could definitely mean that the person is scaring you, or maybe they are in a scary situation such as a haunted house.

You might even say that you “freaked out” when you are talking about something specific like a scary movie.

You Can Use This Phrase In Different Situations

In any of the situations mentioned above, it’s likely about making somebody nervous in some sort of way.

It doesn’t have to be a big deal and we use this phrase in both scary bigger situations, as well as small situations.

It can actually be great in conversation, and it fits in a lot of situations quite easily.

You might say something like:

“Stop talking about how hard Ms. Smith’s class is. You’re freaking me out!”

As you can see, these things are not about HUGE fears.

These are simply about some sort of anxiety that you feel in the moment.

You’re trying to convey some sort of uneasy or anxious feelings that you may experience in that situation.

Similar Phrases To Say The Same Thing

There are some other ways that you can say something similar in these situations.

Many of the ways here are used to tell someone ELSE that their behavior is making YOU nervous.

This is an important skill for connection and for making conversation with somebody.

These should not be used with a boss or at work in a professional setting for example.

These phrases are for your friends or family members or anyone who you can be a little less formal that you want to reveal your true emotions to. 

  • You’re making me nervous/I’m nervous: You feel comfortable with the person because you are telling them that their actions, words, or choices are making you nervous.
    • “OK I wasn’t scared of the subways in New York but now you’re making me nervous!”
  • You’re stressing me out/I’m stressed/I’m stressing: Something that this person you feel close to is causing you to feel stressed or uncertain.
    • Come on, just tell me when my party is! You’re stressing me out!”
  • You’re making me anxious/I’m anxious: You want this person to hurry up or do something. You want them to take the anxiety out of the situation for you so that you can relax a bit.
    • “Just open the envelope already. You’re making me anxious.”

Why It’s So Important To Express Yourself In This Way

Why is this important to be able to express?

Even if it’s a small thing, the person you are talking to will connect with you more once they understand what makes you “tick”.

This is intended for people that you know well so that they can get a further glimpse into who you are.

You may say one of these phrases in a joking way, but you can ultimately tell the person how you feel.

Maybe it’s said in a joking way, as well, but now you can tell the person how you are feeling.

You are trying to be honest in saying how you feel in a more informal but effective way, and that’s why it’s reserved for the people you are closest to.


“Freaking out” is NOT an outdated phrase.

You do want to be aware of who you are saying it to and how you are delivering the message.

It’s great to learn from TV and good to think about the age of the show you are watching as well.

It’s important to be honest with someone when they make you feel nervous, but be careful of your tone.

Save these phrases for people that you have a relationship with as it is more informal in nature.

Do this to connect and to further build your relationships!

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 

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