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Ask Shifra

Something Different... Answering questions and making curious observations (online) since 2005.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Well *I'M* Offended!

Warning: Rant Ahead

Do you know anyone who salt and peppers his or her conversations with the phrase “no offense?” Well I do, and frankly I find it quite ineffective to say the least!

To me the phrase “no offense” means that while you are aware enough to know the statement you are about to make may very well offend the person to whom you are speaking you still feel the need to plow ahead, damn the consequences! You’ve got to crack a few eggs to make an omelet and if feelings are going to get hurt and people are going to be offended by your remarks then they should just suck it up because what you have to say is just that important.

Here is a helpful hint:
If you find yourself using the expression “no offense” as a preface to your statements more than say... once a week (rather than as an apology after realizing that you said something that might have been hurtful) you may want to consider editing your speech a little more carefully…um… no offense.


At 5:12 PM, Blogger and so it shall be... said...

No offense, but what the hell are you talking about?

At 5:14 PM, Blogger and so it shall be... said...

"To be honest with you," especially when used to preface almost every statement, is a pretty suspicious thing to say.

It's such an innocent verbal tick, but really makes me wonder nonetheless.

At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a girl in my elementary school class who used to preface many of her comments with "Not Meanly, but.." followed by something mean.

At 12:03 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

No offense, but that's only sometimes true. ;)

For instance, in this case, I'm saying it to show that while I disagree with you, I do not mean any offense by disagreeing. See?!

The problem is that some people have taken polite terms and used them to couch really nasty comments or to make it seem like the statement they're making (which they shouldn't be!) is really okay.

Some people use it for requests: "Can you please [insert outrageous favor that would be seriously inconvenient here]? It would be sooo nice of you. Please? Thanks! [insert big fake smile]"

At 5:05 AM, Blogger rockofgalilee said...

it's like saying nicht shabbos garecht and then talking about things you shouldn't talk about on shabbos.

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Elie said...

The "nisht a'shabbos garecht" analogy is perfect; people use both that and "no offense" as a kind of magic formula that let's them feel free to break the normal rules of propriety.

My wife and I were just chatting this morning about a related topic - how to properly give someone constructive criticism that they likely will not want to hear. It takes tremendous sensitivity as well as a strong enough prior relationship so that the recipient will know the remarks are not simply insults, but intended to help them. Cerianly, just saying "no offense" accomplishes nothing!

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Scraps said...

[thumbs-up to Shifra]

At 2:25 PM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2:25 PM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

One can always use the handy "nisht lashon hara gerecht" expression, and then feel free to say whatever the heck you feel like about the neighbors, rabbi, teachers, shul president, neighborhood yenta, etc.

At 6:39 PM, Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Shifra, thanks for this post. Watching our speech (AKA shemiras halloshôn) is such a difficult, and overlooked, task in life. We rarely hear moralizers address the aspects of shemiras halloshôn that are not exactly connected to loshôn horo` itself. Thank you for raising our awareness.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Sometimes i feel tempted to preface things i say with "yes offense, and..." ;-)

At 1:07 PM, Blogger orthomom said...

LOL! I know exactly the type. Saying "No offense' doesn't give you the right to procced to offend.

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