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“No offence, but…”

A more realistic view of what “no offence” means.

There are a lot of phrases I hear in everyday life that drive me up the wall. Nonsensical, useless phrases that offer no help, advice or useful information in any way. I think some are more of an Irish thing, while others are universal. Either way, they don’t go down well with me. Here are eight of the worst ones in my experience. Please refrain from saying them if possible.

No offence but…[I think you’re a bitch]
No offence only ever seems to be uttered before something highly offensive is said. As if saying “no offence” takes the harm out of the offence.

I’m not being funny but…
More of the same. It’s usually followed by something insulting, never remotely funny. Who even said you were funny?

Don’t panic/cry/worry
A stupidly irrelevant command. Crying, panicking and worrying are not generally emotions we can control at the drop of a hat. If I’m crying because I’m upset, you telling me not to cry will not stop me from crying. It’s not like you’re going to run into someone who says, “gee, thanks! I never thought about simply not crying!”

Be careful
Another command I don’t understand. Do you think I was purposely being reckless?

Careful now…

That cough will go into your chest
What does that even mean? A potential chest infection? First of all, who are you, because if you’re not my doctor and I didn’t ask for your opinion then why are you even telling me that? What do you expect me to do with that information and how do I prevent the apparent inevitable?

Those radiators need to be bled
What?! That’s like growing pains for humans. It’s the standard response when anything is wrong that doesn’t have a clear answer. My neck is sore…growing pains. I have a headache…growing pains. I’m throwing up…growing pains. Any problems with the radiator? It must need to be bled. Apparently.

They’re probably not in the tree…

It’s always in the last place you look

Anything you lose will always be in the last place you look because you’re not going to keep looking for it once you’ve found it. I’m not trying to be difficult or a smart arse, I know when people say that they mean ‘the last place you’d think of looking’ but again, if you’re unlikely to think of it you can’t just make yourself think of that place. Besides, if the last place I’d think of looking for my keys is the dishwasher, it doesn’t mean they’re likely to be there.

What did you do that for/That wasn’t very smart was it?

The least helpful thing anyone could possibly say when you do something stupid like injure yourself. You might do something painful like step on an upturned plug. When someone asks what happened and you tell them they think it’s appropriate or funny to tell you what a stupid thing that was to do. They might ask why you did it in the first place. I know it’s sarcasm, and they think they’re hilarious, but in no uncertain terms, this makes me want to hurl the plug at their head and then tell them “it wasn’t very smart” to have their head in the way when I threw the plug.

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