Offense Taken

Bleary eyed, I stumbled into the living room this morning and stepped into a nice, wet pile of cat puke.   Colorful words floated from my mouth as I deterred one of the Bassets from devouring it.   As I composed myself and cleaned it up, I went to throw the paper towel away and noticed that the trash was overflowing.  Apparently, cat puke and overflowing garbage are invisible to the rest of the family.   I must have superpowers.

The rest of the morning was greeted with a barrage of emails as I am trying to schedule interviews and photo shoots for upcoming features in my column.  One email stood out to me.  They were suggesting a home of a friend and while I welcome that, there were three words that I literally can’t stand, “no offense, but….”.   The women stated that this home is far superior to any home that I have featured and I suppose to soften the blow, she used those three words.   The problem with saying “no offense, but” is actually really offensive.  It doesn’t excuse one from being rude.  It also doesn’t make me warm and fuzzy.

Bailey uses that disclaimer all the time when he is throwing someone under the bus, which is normally, my husband.   Our response is always, “offense taken” and we laugh it off, but in this particular situation, it really isn’t funny.   We have encouraged him to change his delivery, but so far, he really isn’t interested in our opinion.

There are so many disclaimers that are used, like “don’t take this personally” or “don’t take this the wrong way”, that people feel like it is going to soften the blow of being honest or sharing an opinion.  The reality is I will probably take it personally, while taking it the wrong way, and it will probably be offensive to me.    Just because the insult or rude comment is dressed up in soft semantics, doesn’t make it less harmful.

So, I responded to this disguised insult with a “thank you” for their home suggestion even when I wanted to write an litany of reasons why her email was offensive.   Today, keeping in mind that if it isn’t kind, necessary or true, then I probably don’t need to say  or write it.  That, my friends, is the biggest superpower of all.

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