I could have probably written this as a pit rant, but I’m genuinely interested in whether other people feel the same way I do, so I’d like it to be more of a poll.
I invariably find the expression “no offense” to be extremely offensive. It turns what I would have thought of as a good-natured gibe into a hurtful insult. Sometimes it even makes an insult out of something I didn’t even perceive as being bad or as applying to me. Maybe I’m being “too sensitive”, but it’s just my natural reaction. Here is my analysis:
“No offense” implies “what I just said had the potential to offend you”, which in turn suggests:
[li]You are sensitive. (And I’m being condescending about it.)[/li][li]What I said exposed something flawed about you.[/li][li]What I said was true, not just a joke. [For if it weren’t a flaw or weren’t true, where was the potential for offense?][/li][/ol]
Here’s a concrete example:
I’m hanging out with two girls. One says to the other, about some other guy, “And he was the first cute guy I’ve seen out here so far.” Now, at that point, I thought hardly anything of her comment. The three of us had known each other for awhile, and I assumed she was only talking about stranger guys that she has the chance to meet at this specific location. But then she looks at me and says, “No offense.” Now, I’m extremely offended, because she communicated the following:
[li]You are sensitive.[/li][li]It’s bad not to be cute.[/li][li]You are not cute.[/li][/ol]
Arghh. Why did she have to say that? And yet I sincerely believe that she had good intentions and really wanted minimize perceived offense.
Now, this was a particularly extreme example so that I could illustrate my point better, but even more mundane and innocuous uses of “no offense” irk me to no end.
Am I alone on this?
And as an afterthought, let me also ask: do you ever tell people “no offense”? Do you really think it mitigates rather than exacerbates a negative comment?