Author Topic: Why "No offense"  (Read 1687 times)

firstRainbowRose

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Why "No offense"
« on: September 08, 2009, 04:43:41 AM »
Why is it that everyone always feels the need to add "no offense" to things they say?  No matter if you say it or not, a person might take offense.  And if you REALLY don't mean to offend someone, you'll either not say whatever it is, or say it nicer.

Sorry, just something I had to get off my chest after something that happened today.  I was hoping maybe someone here might have an idea why.
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ryos

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Re: Why "No offense"
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2009, 08:47:40 AM »
It's a qualifier of intent. "I'm not saying this to be mean, and I think that if you understand what I mean by it you won't take offense, so please don't." Which is far too long and sounds a bit fruity, so we just say "no offense" instead. ;D
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Patriotic Kaz

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Re: Why "No offense"
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2009, 10:26:59 PM »
i think it's a way people can insult you guilt free!!! b/c in their mind the little phrase makes the statement polite. Yes i know this is ridiculous but people are stupid.
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Re: Why "No offense"
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2009, 10:45:00 PM »
No offense, but is this topic necessary? (obviously, i'm joking here)


But seriously, i think the previous two posts are both are correct. Sometimes people will say it when they want to say something that can come off as offensive, but don't mean it like that, and other people try to use it to insult you guilt free.


Example:

"No offense, but you're a dumb idiot" - Insulting usage

"No offense, but these numbers actually prove you wrong" - Constructive usage
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GreenMonsta

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Re: Why "No offense"
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2009, 04:15:32 AM »
I tend to be a bit blunt at times and I find that I have a hard time realizing when I'm doing it. I agree that "No offense" can be constuctive and insultiung. Personally I use the phrase all the time. Sometimes people take offense either way but as long as you dont really mean to offend someone then you can further explain yourself to them.
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: Why "No offense"
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2009, 05:34:35 AM »
I'm with fRR all the way. "No offense" is a lame excuse for not taking the effort to say something that's not offensive.
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Hero of Ages

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Re: Why "No offense"
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2009, 08:58:22 AM »
Ah, but what if it is only perceived as offensive and not meant to be?  I personally think that we, as a society have developed thin skins.  We are quick to take offense and slow to forgive.

If I say something that you find offensive, let me know.  I may not have meant it to be.  If you keep it to yourself and stay offended, it is your choice, but don't come whining to me in a week saying how offended you were.  It was your choice to be offended, unless offense was intended.
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GreenMonsta

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Re: Why "No offense"
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2009, 03:53:32 PM »
Well put Hero. Its up to both parties, both the possibly offended and the possible offender. As long as they are able to have an adult conversation than offense can be avoided. The issue is that more often than not people aren't able to have adult conversations with others.
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Frog

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Re: Why "No offense"
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2009, 04:02:05 PM »
Don't take offense. The horses will get out.  :P

Seriously, I think that 'no offense' is just a little too easy for people to say and if you really want to give constructive criticism, there should be a bit more to it then that. Not that getting yourself a thicker skin wouldn't be helpful, but I suppose it just depends on the circumstance. And yes, telling someone that they upset you is always helpful.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2009, 04:07:11 PM by Frog »
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: Why "No offense"
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2009, 06:18:21 PM »
It's dumb to say that someone should only take offense if it's intended. Indeed, when offense is intended is probably the least advisable time to take offense. But it's quite easy to very ignorantly say offensive things. How someone reacts is up to them, but the very act of saying "No offense, but" is your acknowledgment that what you are about to say might be offensive. If you have the brainpower to acknowledge that, saying "no offense" instead of actually changing what you're going to say is sheer laziness.

Don't try to put the onus back on the person who's offended, though I definitely agree that people shouldn't sit there holding grudges about something someone said when that person may not have meant to be rude in the first place. But that's not what this conversation is about. It's about the sheer laziness of saying "no offense" at all.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2009, 06:19:54 PM by Ookla The Mok »
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Re: Why "No offense"
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2009, 07:34:37 PM »
It's not necessarily laziness, as in many conversations it is difficult to come up with a nicer thing way to say something quickly enough for your comment to still be relevant. In which case it's a problem of lack of practice, IMO.

I talk very fast, but I can usually swap words around an be nice without the disclaimer at the start of my sentence. It's even possible to revise the end of your sentence without anyone knowing based on peoples' reactions to the start of your sentence. Many people attempt this and fail miserably (and sometimes hilariously, as sitcoms have so skillfully shown us).

If we sent people to finishing school, maybe the problem would be solved. Then again, maybe Americans would just get better at inserting barbs into conversation. I don't know.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2009, 07:37:29 PM by sortitus »
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GreenMonsta

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Re: Why "No offense"
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2009, 08:28:35 PM »
It almost feels like some people are taking offense to this conversation. Kidding.

 I think that people who use the phrase "no offense" aren't doing it out of laziness. I agree that it used as a sort of disclamer. More of a "be advised" sort of warning that what the person is about to say is probably going to be offensive in some way to some people. I don't think theres anything wrong with that.

The term alone doesn't mean that outright disregard for other peoples feelings will ensue, all it means is that the person talking is cognizant of the fact that what they are saying could offend. So what? Just because what I'm saying could be offensive doesn't mean it shouldn't be discussed. I personally use the phrase when I am aware that I will be offensive. Its kind of like starting my offensiveness off with some preliminary defense. It's not really a bad way to go when you really don't want to offend. At least that way it gives you a good starting point if the need should arise for you to further explain your wish not to be offensive. I'm generally not going to talk to strangers in an offensive way (for the most part). So the majority of the time you may say something involving "no offense" would be with people who you are at least acquainted with. If they decide to take what you have to say, get offended and then let that affect them then whatever. I personally am not going to go cry.
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ryos

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Re: Why "No offense"
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2009, 09:07:24 PM »
To build on what GreenMonsta said, use of "no offense" demonstrates that you actually care whether or not your audience is going to get offended. If you didn't care you wouldn't bother.

Another use (and, upon reflection, my most common usage) of the phrase is when saying something that reasonable people would not take offense to, but, let's be honest, there are a lot of unreasonable people in this world and you never know how someone is going to react. Best to hedge your bets.
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Patriotic Kaz

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Re: Why "No offense"
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2009, 09:15:19 PM »
I'm with Ook on this, if you have the foresight to understand that someone may be offended by the way you put forth an opinion you then change the way you present it. To do otherwise is foolish and more or less looking for conflict. And please don't tell me there is only one way to put forth a specified idea because you can't just think one up off the top of your head...biding your time isn't a bad thing.
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ryos

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Re: Why "No offense"
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2009, 09:29:25 PM »
And please don't tell me there is only one way to put forth a specified idea because you can't just think one up off the top of your head...biding your time isn't a bad thing.

Poppycock. What's an inoffensive way to ask someone to use breath mints? How do you tell someone their work is really bad, without giving offense? You know you're just trying to be helpful, but what do they think? Do you spit it out and let it be their problem, or do you try to help them understand your motivations?
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