I don’t say these two little words to anyone – ever. But I have had friends say ‘no offense’ to me before they say something that is so offensive I just want to get away from them or punch them in the face. Either way, their little preface to their criticism never makes me less offended. In fact, it makes me offended before they even say the criticism.
One of the problems is that face to face, you can’t hide your facial expressions or body language as you tell someone not to be offended. And your facial expressions and body language say much more than your little words. Online, though, we can’t see what the people look like, but we can imagine! Especially when the comment is very offensive.
Following are a few examples of people saying ‘no offense’ that I found within seconds online.
Telling A Kid That She’s Not The Best Singer In The World
The following YouTube video features a kid singing ‘Dear Future Husband’. She’s having a ton of fun.
I remember doing the exact same thing when I was a kid with my best friend, but I didn’t have a video camera to tape me and my voice wasn’t that good. But we still had a ton of fun doing it!
This girl’s family vlogs for a living and they are all very talented, so it’s only natural that she can sing and would want to make a video doing a cover of her favorite song.
Watch the video if you want, or just take my word for it – she’s got a good voice.
The kid can sing. There’s no doubt about it. But one of the comments was as follows:
Why would anyone need to say no offense in this situation? You aren’t telling her she’s a piece of crap! You are just giving her an opinion based on – what I’m assuming is – singing knowledge. Why would she be offended by a simple comment like that? There’s no need to say no offense.
You Did The Best Job Ever! No Offense
This is how overused the words are. The following video is of a girl doing a clothing haul. That’s it.
And one of the Twitter comments on this video is this:
no offense but this is the bEST haul my eyes have ever seen https://t.co/gLOj1XiiI7
— Orion Carloto (@orionnichole) August 9, 2016
Again, why does she need to say ‘no offense’? If she really thinks it’s the bEST haul that she’s ever seen, then that’s fine.
Her opinion is not going to make every other person who has done a haul feel bad. It’s not even going to make this girl feel like all of her other hauls (I’m assuming she has some) are not living up to some potential. Her comment just shows enthusiasm for this clothing haul. There is nothing offensive about that, and there is no reason to preface it with ‘no offense’.
Telling Someone They Are Too Ugly To Be Seen With
I found the following screenshot of some poor guy’s conversation. Unfortunately, it sounds like he went out with an egotistical girl who loves to use the words ‘no offense’ in the most offensive way possible.
In this case, her saying no offense was like slapping him in the face. She meant to be offensive or she wouldn’t have said something as disgusting as ‘I just can’t be seen with someone that looks like you do.”
If you are going to be this offensive, you might as well own it. You are being a bitch or a jerk, and it’s obvious, so adding ‘no offensive’ in just adds to how offensive you are being.
If Someone Says No Offense, Hear This Instead
With all the people saying ‘no offense’ out there, you can start to feel pretty unhappy with yourself. That’s because it’s pretty obvious that if someone tells you not to be offended, they are going to say something that in their opinion is offensive! It’s just hard not to hear those two little words and feel offended.
For instance, when a friend says, “No offense, but that shirt looks horrible on you!” you will feel much worse about yourself than if she or he was to say, “The shirt isn’t a good fit for you.”
So, how can you handle it? As I said, there are generally three types of people who say no offense. So here’s what to hear when someone says it to you.
- This is my perception based on my insecurities, beliefs, and lessons in life. It has nothing to do with you or how great you are and everything to do with me and how I see the world. And I might see the world through a really shitty lens!
- I simply don’t know how to give criticism in a constructive and mature way. I’m just not there yet. I don’t have the emotional intelligence yet. Therefore, I need to criticize in a hurtful way. And again, that says more about my lack of maturity than anything about you.
- I am so insecure with myself that I need to make sure you are not going to be mad when I tell you something. Again, this insecurity is all on me, not you.
And, of course, in a few cases, there are some really evil people out there who just want to make you feel bad. They want to put you down, and they’ve realized that adding the words ‘no offense’ helps them make people feel bad about themselves more than angry, which works for them! In this case, you can hear, I’m an asshole, and I want to spread my negativity.
Lastly, there are just some straight up airheads that use popular sayings just because they can. These sayings are not used in the right context, and these people don’t care. It sounds cool to them or they are not consciously aware of the words that come out of their mouths, so they preface everything with ‘no offense’ or other silly sayings like it. In this case, you can hear – I’m not articulate enough to say something that makes sense.
In any case, don’t let these words (or the person saying them) bother you.
And, if you are saying them, you may want to start thinking about how you are coming across to other people.