Thursday, September 18, 2008

Most Useless Phrase/Mini-Rant of the Day: "No Offense!"

THE most useless phrase in the English language, in my opinion, is "No offense." (see also: "Don't take this the wrong way, but...") Really? Cause when you have to preface whatever you're about to say with that, you really do mean 'Yes offense." Some examples: "No offense, but your boyfriend is not cute." Huh. So, I really shouldn't feel bad that I'm with someone who is not up to your physical standards? Sure. "No offense, but your blog is boring." Hmm. Thanks for the constructive feedback, buddy! It's nice to know you appreciate my hard work.

Am I being too sensitive? Yeah, maybe. But the thing is, it's just not a nice thing to say. And like I said, totally useless, as the phrase is just a thinly veiled excuse for you to be rude. You can be more tactful when disagreeing with someone's opinion of something. Yes, I would like for you to tell me when I'm being a complete a-hole or something important like that. No, you don't really need to tell your girlfriend her favorite pair of shoes are fugly. Sometimes it's ok to not share your opinion, as valuable as it is. So... let's be a more tactful, sensitive-to-others type of people and retire that phrase from our everyday vernacular. No offense, but I think you're an insensitive idiot when you keep using that phrase. Wait, are you mad that I think you're an idiot? But I said no offense!!


Anonymous said...

I agree - for similar reasons. I'm fine with the sharing of the opinion even it's a little rude. I just don't like how "No offense" somehow allows to speaker to pretend that they are not being possibly inappropriate. Better to be upfront about it and acknowledge that what one has to say is likely to bother the listener.

Along the same vein, the phrase "To be honest" or "Frankly speaking" irks me too. Why this needs to be said by some people makes me wonder if they normally have such a tendency to be dishonest that they have to preface their truthful statements with this warning.

There's this one other phrase that bothers me, but I can't remember what it is.

Everyone should just learn to speak considerately and honestly. Or just take a two minute course in giving constructive feedback.

Burmese Medical Association of North America said...

While on the subject of non-constructive [and vengeful] feedback: my now-favorite and definitely most memorable feedback from one of the training sessions my coworker and I gave read as such:

[Canadian trainee] Not much.

How rude!

sang said...

Sadly to say, I do say those words "no offense". Sometimes followed up with "Really don't take this the wrong way, but".