Tuesday, August 7, 2012

No Offense, But...

You know what bugs me? The phrase, "no offense".

When people preface a statement with "no offense, but...", all I hear is, "I'm about to insult you, but don't get mad at me" (aka: I'm trying to say something douchey without actually sounding like a douche).


I would much rather someone just say whatever it is they want to say, sans the aforementioned introduction, because then I could at least pretend that they honestly didn't realize that whatever came out of their mouth immediately following said introduction would most likely be interpreted as Mean, Insensitive, Hurtful, Rude, And/Or Highly Offensive. When someone says "no offense, but...", it's like they're saying "It definitely occurred to me that the following statement will most likely be interpreted as Mean, Insensitive, Hurtful, Rude And/Or Highly Offensive but, not only am I going to say it anyway, I'm going to be condescending enough to assume that me telling you not to get offended by it will magically make it less Highly Offensive".

This, of course, also applies to people concluding a Highly Offensive Statement with "no offense". When you were growing up, and you hit another kid with a stick or snatched their toy away or held them down and farted in their face, an adult would always make you say "I'm sorry". It got to the point where you felt like you could get away with anything as long as you followed up the Preposterously Vile Act with a flippant and barely recognizable "Sorry." You remember how it went.

"MOM, he punched me because I wouldn't jump off the roof to see if thinking a Happy Thought will really make you fly."

"But I said sorry!"

"Since you punched your sister, you get no dessert tonight.


Saying you were sorry was like a Magic Eraser, the "abracadabra" in the disappearing act that made whatever you had just said or done Cease To Exist. Except, it really didn't. Your sister's eye still turned black. The kid who inhaled flatus through all of his facial orifices still puked his guts out. And the kid who got their toy snatched still cried for two hours, even after it had been returned and they been given both a pony and an entire baseball team as consolation.

I'm not saying that kids, and adults, shouldn't apologize when they do something hideous to someone else. They should, especially if they mean it. The point is that you shouldn't do something that you know is mean just because you think you can justify it, or Magically Erase it, by saying you're sorry afterwards. Nor am I saying that it isn't, at times, appropriate and/or necessary to say something to someone that they might find Highly Offensive. I'm just saying that that adding a "no offense" to it does not make it any Less Offensive and, perhaps, makes it even More Offensive than it would have otherwise been, for the reasons previously mentioned.

"No offense, but you're One Of The Most Mind-Bogglingly Annoying People I Know."

"Your singing is so terrible that it actually hurts my feelings. No offense."

"No offense, but you smell like Dog Poo That's Been Sitting In The Sun For Twelve Days."

"You look like a Creepy Mentally Impaired Clown. No offense."

See? It doesn't really work.

I realize that, sometimes, when people preface or conclude a statement with "no offense" what they are trying to say is "despite the fact that I'm telling you something that will most likely be interpreted as Mean, Insensitive, Hurtful, Rude And/Or Highly Offensive, I want you to know that I'm not doing it with the intention of hurting your feelings." This is a nice thought but, let's face it, there is only one person in the entire world who can successfully pull off Saying "No Offense" And Having It Come Across As Not Douchey, and that is my brother, Billy, who happens to be the Sweetest Person In The United States Of America And Possibly The Universe. If you are not my brother, Billy, then you are not allowed to say "no offense" without causing me to experience Obscene Levels Of Annoyance. Just so we're clear.

No offense.

PS: This post is not Me Passive-Aggressively Telling Someone Who Recently Said "No Offense" In My Presence That I Think They're A Douche - I actually just heard the phrase "no offense" about seven different times on T.V. today, while watching Supernatural and Late Nineties Teen Movies, and it got me thinking. It got me thinking.

PPS: Don't worry, I also love my brother Brian - very much, in fact - but, honestly, if he ever made a statement to me that was prefaced or concluded with the phrase "no offense", he would most likely be saying it in a snarky tone with a Giant "I'm Laughing At You On The Inside" Smirk. Let's be real here.


  1. Billy

    Halfway through reading this I was so planning to leave a comment saying something like "No offense, but reading your blog is like reaching into my brain and turning the IQ knob down a notch or 20! No offense..." but no point in doing that now, is there? ;P <--("No offense" emoticon?)

    1. Lol. So sorry to have ruined that for you ;-p