Is "no offense" offensive to you?

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?

People certainly seem to think they can excuse almost any thoughtless or cutting remark by using the phrase, “No offense.”

I never use it because when I deliberately say something offensive, I want to cause offense. If I don’t want to cause offense and I see the potential for causing offense, I keep my yap shut or rephrase what I was going to say.

“no offense”, “excuse the expression”, “present company excluded” and so on are basically another way of saying “I am going to say something stupid and/or obnoxious”.

The only time I use it is when I am about to say something meant to be offensive (no offense but…go fuck yourself).

No offesne is very handy when you have to tell someone an unpleasant truth. It says “I am not trying to be offensive; but I think you wil be offended.”

It’s also good for a quip to pull out when you realize you’ve made a blanket statement that applies more generally than you thought at first. This, I think, is what your friend was doing.

When preceeding a statement, I’ve never had anyone use it as anything other than a ‘get out of jail free’ card. Say something offensive, preceeded by the magic words ‘no offense’, and then you can wave the ‘no offense’ card around and put the heat on someone else. I’ve noticed this happens less the older I’ve gotten.

Said after inadvertantly saying something offensive, I take on a case by case basis. Nobody’s perfect and you can honestly misspeak. From what you described sundog, I think your friend misspoke twice and needs to see someone about that bad case of foot-in-mouth disease she seems to have. I don’t think she meant you were sensitive, though she might claim it if you’d protested too much.

I’d say this girl has a total disregard for manerism (And you possibly).

She should have taken into consideration that there is a guy sitting at the table. So the topic conversation should have been something you all could have contributed too.

Now, that’s not saying that if she saw some dude she liked she should keep her mouth shut untill just the girls are around. I’m just saying there’s a limit. She should have said something more to the effect of: “Oh, he’s just too cute.” and leave it at that. (I mean WTF? are you invisible?)

Personally if I’m sitting with another guy and a girl; I’m not gonna start spouting off about “Guy” talk, because I’d feel that would be being rude to her. There are certain girls who are excluded from this rule but these certain friends I know VERY well and I also know they are not bothered by it.

I complimented a girl that I know a couple of nights ago. I know her family and said, “You know, you have your Dad’s balls and your Grandma’s sensibilities!”.

I left it at that, but over the next couple of days it stuck with me and I overanalyzed it and it ocurred to me that it could be offensive. I saw her again last night and brought it up and apologized offering, “no offense”. She laughed it off and said that it hadn’t offended. I just figure it is better to offer an apology in fore or afterthought… no offense doesn’t really offend me. It’s sort of a “softening word”, it conveys a certain respect.

it depends on whether it’s used to excuse a cruel joke or used as an “I’m going to tell you a truth about yourself… you might not like it, but please don’t jump on me about it.”
A lot of times, lately, it seems to have been used by people saying things about my family.

“no offense, but your mom really has no room to tell you you’re fat.”
“the reason I didn’t want to go over to your house wasn’t that I didn’t like you. It’s just that- no offense- your dad creeps me out.”
“Do you really want to talk to your sister? I mean, no offense, but she seems like an awful snob.”

and in these contexts, I suppose the intent is to separate the comments from “yo momma” sort of comments. Instead of, “I’m mad at you, so I’m making comments about your family” it’s “I’m not too fond of your family, but I like you.”

As I am acutely sensitive to criticism, I hate it when people say “no offense” or its evil cousin “don’t take this the wrong way.” When someone says it beforehand, it puts me on the defensive and I know the person is going to say something that will likely piss me off. If it is said afterwards, it’s too late. Saying this does little to repair the damage. If the person apologizes, I’ll usually forgive them, but it doesn’t change the fact that what was said in the first place was, in fact, offensive.

I donno. I wouldn’t have been offended in the OP’s senerio because “no offense” in that case is shorthand for “Josh, we’re all just friends here, and I said the first thing which came to my mind, without thinking that you’re actually a guy. It was pretty thoughtless of me to say that but I meant present company excluded.” I wouldn’t take it as any of the three meanings listed.

For whatever reason, you’re on her “friends” list and not her “wanna fuck” list so it’s not that she doesn’t think you’re cute, she just thinks of you as a friend.

In my experience, when a person characterizes what he or she is about to say with a preface of “No offense,” or “With all due respect,” or “Honestly,” what I’m about to hear is an insult, a put down, or a lie.

Indeed. I’m reminded of a 5-year-old I know (well, he’s older by now) who learned the phrase “Just kidding” and understood it to mean that you could say any untrue thing (usually likely to incite action in the hearer) and get away with it by following up with “Just kidding!” and a laugh.

“My brother just fell off the roof! . . . Just kidding.”

“Somebody’s at the door! . . . Just kidding.”

It got to be mighty annoying . . . just like the situation in the OP.

My grandma says, “I’m going to tell you something, and you’re not going to like it.” No matter how ridiculous the actual comment may be, if it is preceded by that sentence, it will cause me to fly into a rage.

“I’m going to tell you something, and you’re not going to like it…Green is not your best color.”
“Kill, kill, kill!” :mad:

I think it depends on the context.
In the OP, I would take it as a ‘present company exlcuded’ type statement.
In EllaBean’s example, I agree with her completely
I find it offensive when it preceeds a criticism. For example, “No offense, but I am not going to the company picnic you all worked to plan because, quite frankly, I think it will be boring” is offensive. “No offense, but you look tired today” has the power to piss me off to no end. Of course, “you look tired” without the “no offense” would piss me off too…probably because I am tired and cranky.

Oooh, I hate “you look tired”! I hear, “Day-um, you’re ugly today.”

Could it have been a joke? If she knew she was only talking about stranger guys, and if you assumed she was only talking about stranger guys, then to follow that remark with “no offense” is actually funny—because you, a guy who is not a stranger, are not actually in the set of people she referring to as “guys”—and the proper reply is “none taken.” Then you can both be pleased with the shared joke.

Another form of joke using “no offense” is to say something deliberately offensive, even though you don’t actually mean it, and then follow it with “no offense.” Here you are playing with the whole “no offense” notion in an extreme form. This joke is at no one’s expense, because you would say such a thing to someone who would get the joke in the first place.

A third form of play with the phrase is to use it to unexpectedly include an innocent bystander and thereby make humor through shock & surprise. For example:

ME: Good god, I’m sick of putting up with assholes all the time.
DAVE: Yeah.
ME: [with mock horror] No offense!
DAVE: [cheerfully] None taken.
[we chuckle]

See? It’s good fun. You have to have a sense of humor where playing with language is amusing to you. These are not great jokes, but they are amusing and a fun way to share in the common enjoyment of playing with words.

I think the OP was being overly sensitive in that little scenario. No off…never mind, I don’t want to get hit.

Suffice it to say I’ve heard it used jerkishly, and I’ve heard it used sensibly and reasonably. Sometimes the person saying “No offense, but I’m going to tell you something true about yourself” actually does say something true about you and you should listen.

Sometimes…they’re an asshole.

The only time the phrase “no offense” or it’s bastard stepchildren “Honestly”, “Don’t take this the wrong way” and “present company excluded” are acceptable words to use to other human beings is if you are discussing a sensitive matter with a close friend in private at said friend’s request and/or invitation.*

In mixed company, they’re just a way of saying things you know damn well are offensive but don’t have the self-control or inclination to either rephrase to eliminate the offensiveness or just not say at all.

To me, using “no offense” in mixed company is just pre-meditated rudeness. If you’re saying it before your comment, it shows that you know perfectly well your comment is likely to be offensive but you don’t care enough to either rephrase or keep your yap shut. It has the effect of offending me even if I mightn’t have been offended by the comment itself.

*Note: Does not apply in situations when it’s clear that someone blurts out “no offense” after coming down with acute foot-in-mouthitis.

Bah my coding sucks! That last bit was supposed to be teeny as opposed to really really big.

I love Mondays. Really I do.

I’ll also love a mod if they can fix my wretched coding.