No Offense but…
How many times has someone you know started a sentence with those three little words – No offense but…
How many times has a stranger said those words to you?
No offense but translates to ; this is offensive but I am going to say it anyway; I also have half assed apologised for saying it before I say it , so by my calculation , I have the green light to say what I am about to say without causing an argument or without offending you.
People are funny aren’t they ? We now live in a world where people can get offended by the smallest thing, yet, not bat an eyelid at things that are obviously offensive and intended to be offensive form the offset ?
Aren’t we all a little guilty of using those three little words before we say something, that is knowingly offensive?
I used to use those words especially when I was a teenager and a tad jealous of how well a dress fitted my friend rather than me. I’d say “No offense but that dress isn’t as nice as we thought it was in the shop” . Terribly childish of me, I know.
The older I got, the more I refrained from using those words. I had heard them a lot and always braced myself for the words that followed that ‘but’. They were never pleasant words, they were never kind , they were meant to hurt, meant to sting , meant to poke fun and yes, often meant to offend.
“No offense Ger, but once you have that baby your life is over” friends would ‘joke’ as my belly grew while my twenty first birthday was on the horizon.
As the time went by I heard more ‘No offense but..’s. They were all around the same topic, I was a young mother, I was a single mother, then I had lost weight, put on weight, the usual things that happen to the majority of us who walk this earth.
Those ‘no offense but..’s didn’t bother as much as the ones I would soon hear over and over.
By the time my son, Ethan, was diagnosed (with hunter syndrome) strangers began to ‘no offense but’ me . Not only that , but the ‘no offense but..’s were very offensive.
“No offense but is he ok? I mean is he normal?”
“No offense but why would you have another child ?”
“No offense but I couldn’t be listening to him, he’s awfully loud “
“No offense but he doesn’t look disabled, I don’t think you should be parking there”
‘No offense but I don’t know how you cope, I’d have probably just crumbled, walked away even”
How in the heck can someone honestly say those types of comments about a child , my child, and mean no offense ?
These days when someone starts a sentence with those three words I interrupt them, just to give them time for pause.
We all say things we don’t mean or things that come out wrong. I have often had verbal diarrhea and can recall nothing of what spilled out of my mouth until someone reminds me.
We are all human.
Let’s try the honest approach – Instead of saying ‘no offense but’ , we could try , “this is offensive to you, but I am going to say it anyway” …No I don’t think any one of us would dare say that . That’s not polite, is it? But it is more honest !
No offense but – isn’t polite either . It isn’t even close to honest.
The only time that should be used is if you’re with friends and family and are kidding around with each other ; we all say inappropriate things to those we are closest too.
If you want to comment on someone’s child, I implore you not to unless it’s to compliment the child or parent, otherwise walk away.
If you think someone is abusing a disabled parking space, look for a blue badge, they have one? Well then keep on walking. If they don’t have one, you can report that.
No offense but, in my opinion, that turn of phrase really needs to be adjusted to ; I mean offense so here I go… if you’re going to use those three little words, at least use them more honestly!
I agree, I’ve banned my kids from saying it or at least explained why it’s so hurtful and actually a lie! It’s kind of like pushing someone out of the way while saying sorry at the same time, just meaningless.
You always talk so much sense, Ger… If someone is aware enough to say “no offense but” then they are aware that it is offensive. It’s not even apologetic or polite in my opinion.
I rarely use the phrase even to people I’m close to.