"No offense, but...." I spend quite a bit of time with my friend Anita's boys and I'm noticing they use this phrase all the time. "Bonnie, no offense, but your handwriting was terrible when you were young." "Bonnie, no offense, but I liked your old house better." Sometimes they make me laugh with things like, "No offense, but I like pepperoni pizza more than cheese pizza." Like I'm invested in their pizza choice!
So here's my question. Does saying "No offense" open the gate to saying anything I want to say? I'm fairly certain the answer is no, but sometimes I hear myself or others use this phrase and kind of smile at the implication--
"No Offense Intended" really means what I'm about to say isn't nice, but since I've called an audible prior to saying it, it's your fault if you are offended.
Here are some other phrases I use and what I really mean when I use them:
"With All Due Respect": You are my superior/friend/respected neighbor but you haven't got a clue and I am politely pointing this out to you.
"Bless Her Heart": Batty old fool.
"To Be Totally Honest": I'm usually lying when I speak with you; this time I'm not.
"Present Company Excepted": Same category as With Due Respect or No Offense Intended, depending on the intention of the comment.
So, with all due respect (present company excepted), I will be totally honest here. I smile to myself a lot when I use or hear others use these phrases.
No offense intended....