No offense, but I am getting on my soap box today.
One afternoon last week my 8th grader Mary came home and told me her lab partner turned to her during class and said, "No offense, but I really don't want to work with you."
The next day seven-year-old Dorothy got off the school bus and shared that after hearing her rendition of Tomorrow from Little Orphan Annie, her classmate said to her, "No offense, but that sounded horrible."
Though it has its place, saying "no offense" before a statement does not give a person license to drop a verbal bomb.
What's next? No offense, but...
---I am superior to you in every way.
Not long ago, I was telling a friend what a pistol my four-year-old Silas is. After describing several of his antics and my responses to them, she simply said, "He is the baby," then quickly added, "No offense."
"None taken," I said, as I know she was just trying to help me see Silas from a different perspective, telling me as a friend. Being the baby of eight myself, I got it.
It all comes down to teaching kids manners; reinforcing plain, old-fashioned common courtesy. Instructing kids on what is appropriate to say to someone and urging them to check their motives for saying it. And reminding them that because people have feelings, it is not acceptable to say everything and anything that pops into their heads--no matter how much better it might make them feel.
No offense, but if we don't remind them, who will?