Are We Mean or Helpful When We Say "No Offense"?

6 years ago

Uh, Mom, your hair looks really weird like that, NO Offense.

Uh, Mom, Aunt Weezies chicken is wayyyyy better than yours, NO Offense.

Uh, Mr. Clint, you have huge nostrils, NO Offense.

Uh, Mom, your bottom is kinda big, NO Offense.

Do you ever remember talking like this as a kid? If you just throw in a “No Offense,” anything can be said and no one’s feelings should be hurt.

Serious boy pointing

When my kiddos say these things, I am not sure how to respond. They are trying to be honest, but in their heart of hearts, they know it might be mean. So do they opt to NOT say it or just throw in that phrase?

It made me wonder also: Do they get this from me?

I am a pretty outspoken gal. I do, however, consider others' feelings before I speak. Do they say this because I speak my mind? Or, maybe it’s because they hear other people, adults even, saying things like this.

Uh, hubby, you’re really packing on the pounds, No Offense.

Uh, neighbor, your yard is looking pretty shabby, No Offense.

Uh, pastor, that was a really boring sermon, No Offense.

Uh, son, that project is not so great, No Offense.

Now, I don’t say anything like this, but do I ever imply it? Do I ever think I am entitled to share my opinion with the world? I think that is the big difference between us adults and children. We know a better way to say it. Sometimes, they don’t.

As parents and -- even more importantly -- as moms that is our job. We have to take a hard, long look in the mirror. Are we the people we want our children to grow up to be like?

Ewww, that stings, right? Well, it stings for me. Let’s be honest: We all work hard to be the best humans we can be. But do we focus too much on the really bad things and not the actual words that come out of our mouths? It is quite easy for us to sit piously proud like a peacock and say, “Oh, I never swear or I never scream and yell.” But are we doing just as much damage as that with the things we do say?

I think there is an unwritten level of disclosure that comes with relationships.

If you are a mom at my kid’s school, I would NEVER tell you that orange is NOT your color. However, if you are my girlfriend that I lunch with weekly, I might consider telling you. Or I would never think of telling a man I work with that his front porch looks like it is taking on an addition. But I have no problem what so ever speaking that truth to my spouse.

What??!! No, really what??!!

Yup, that is how we think. We believe that based on proximity to person, we are entitled to share our wisdom about their epic failures.  This is where our kids get it! Ouch again. I know, but the truth hurts. They hear and see us interacting with the people in our lives.  They pick up the subtle and not so subtle hints we throw out. They are pretty perceptive little bug gars.

I believe it is high time for us to really consider what we are thinking and then saying to others.  Our words are a power tool for good and evil. Now, before you start tossing crumpled up paper at your computer screen and yelling, “Yeah, whatever," hear this: I am preaching to the choir, this I know. As I mentioned earlier, I believe in my heart of hearts that we are all trying our very best to love one another. We want to care about and for our fellow man. We want to keep them from making huge mistakes and looking like fools. We want to be honest, and we know that might sting sometimes. I think the best we can do is remind ourselves, our kids, and our loved ones that we really do love them and want the best for them.

That should soften the “No Offense” blow just a bit!

Something to ponder.


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