Admit it, you’ve used this phrase. I know I have. Whenever you have something kind of mean to say about somebody but you don’t want to be spreading gossip, you always punctuate your thought with the phrase, “bless her heart.” Here’s an example of how it works:
“Well you know her husband left her because she ran up so many credit cards he didn’t know about. And she got fired me her job and her roots are awful. But, bless her heart, she’s trying as hard as she can.”
See how subtly I worked it in there? I was horrible. I was cynical and a jerk but I felt like I could say it and still feel OK because I ended it with “bless her heart.”
I heard someone once call that phrase, “vinegar pie.” That is, it seems like dessert. It seems nice, but at the end of the day it’s made of vinegar.