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Disregard the Following...

Updated on March 23, 2009

Disregard the Following...

By Wes J. Pimentel

Here’s an exposé on yet another oddity found in the realm of human behavior. I am presently addressing unnecessary disclaimers. While some disclaimers are valid and totally worth uttering, others are just a pathetic attempt to conceal confrontations.

You ever heard someone say, “No disrespect, but…” Sure, we all have. Sayings like this are all too common. I’m not quite sure why we allow people to get away with it, but I’m thinking it has something to do with our party-like national culture. Nobody wants to be a party-pooper. It’s like ‘I’m going to confront you by expressing a criticism, but please don’t express displeasure.’ Bullshit.

The weird thing is that right after saying, “No disrespect but,” they’ll say something totally disrespectful like, “your wife is really BIG!” Thanks, respectful guy. Thank you for, once again, reminding me of how fat my wife has become. As if it’s not bad enough this poor schmuck has to bed down with a wildebeest every night. Now he’s got Mr. Spineless calling him out about it, and he can’t even retaliate because of that damned disclaimer! If the victim says, “Shut your trap, asshole,” it makes him look like the bad guy. Nice move.

“With all due respect” is just a variation of the first example. You have to watch out for this one. It’s extra sneaky because it sounds all official. If someone says this to you, be on alert. They’re about to blast you. This one is highly favored by uppity subordinates trying to usurp authority from their superiors. As soon as you hear this, be ready to strike. No matter how good the kid’s idea is, I say you chop him down and put him in his place. A concession today means resignation tomorrow. Make an example out of him. That’ll show those innovative little bastards who’s boss. Still feeling creative junior? I didn’t think so. If you’re going to tell me I suck, don’t hide behind unnecessary disclaimers. Just say it.

By far my favorite is the old “I don’t mean to be rude, but…” right before something like, “what’s wrong with your son?” or, “this tastes like shit,” (after sampling your cooking) or, “your mom is a real bitch.” While these people are formulating these abrasive statements in their minds, they know how rude they’ll sound – hence the disclaimer! If what you are about to say isn’t rude, there’s no need to make a feeble attempt to soften the blow.

The ones that really get me are the disclaimers where the person intros what they’re about to do by stating they’re not going to do it. Confused? Me too. They go like this: “Not to cut you off, but…” as they interrupt you; or “I don’t mean to criticize, but…” right before they criticize something; or “not to change the subject, but…” as they change the subject. See what I mean? This behavior does not make you polite, it makes you a liar; a double liar. You’re lying about your intentions for speaking and you’re presenting a falsely considerate image of yourself. If right before you slap me in the face, you say, “Not to slap you in the face or anything, but…” it does not make the slap any more pleasant.

If you’re prone to interrupting, criticizing, and changing the subject, you’re an asshole; regardless of how often you tell people you don’t mean to do it. I like my jerks out in the open. Just cut me off, change my subject, disrespect me, and criticize me. Don’t tell me you don’t mean to do it. If you didn’t feel like doing all that shit, you would simply refrain from it. The truth is they just want to get away scot-free.

It’s a pretty simple concept. If you don’t mean to be rude, don’t be. If you do though, have at it! Drop your inhibitions, shed all the bullshit social programming, and fire at will. There’s no need to hide behind these cowardly statements, like your mouth is not under your direct control. Some people might get their little feelings hurt, but at the end of the day, even these softies will respect you, because they know you’re a straight shooter. They know when you get that look in your eye they’re about to get sliced, and you’re not going to apologize for it.

PS – Don’t email me about how these tips backfired on you and you got fired or divorced or something. I am simply an advocate for honesty. I’m not holding a gun to your head. If you can’t handle the social responsibility, just leave it alone.



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    • Schwag profile image

      Schwag 8 years ago from Clarksville, TN

      What if your wife is fat? You can't just smack a guy for making an objective observation.

    • Proud Mom profile image

      Proud Mom 8 years ago from USA

      Seems you've got things covered quite well here, schwag. But I would like to interject that no matter what disclaimer the guy uses, any husband had better hit the guy THERE for calling his wife fat!!!

      I have to go recover before I can read anymore. There's not enough Detrol on the planet!!

    • Schwag profile image

      Schwag 8 years ago from Clarksville, TN

      C.C. - OK, you're experiencing mild symptoms, but I think you'll be fine. Try this; the next time you want to change the subject, just say, "Alright, I'm changing the subject..." It's very liberating. That should start to clear it up. Then, you can move on to bigger projects, like when you want to interrupt a stranger, like a worker at a store, you might want to try, "Excuse me, I'd like to interrupt you..." It's great! Let's start the revolution!!

    • profile image

      C. C. Riter 8 years ago

      “not to change the subject, but…” I have been guilty of that. Mostly with certain long-winded individuls who just go on and on about nothing, like my wife. Good stuff here, thanks

    • Schwag profile image

      Schwag 8 years ago from Clarksville, TN

      Cris A - Thanks for the comment, but I must respectfully disagree. These social norms are nothing more than an insidious evil that needs to be stamped out. A confrontation should be just that. If you don't have the balls to just say it, as MR. RUBENHOFF proposed above, then don't.

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 8 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      For the sake of argument, i think these "disclaimers" are said to forewarn the other person of what's coming. They make the rude remark "seem" less rude for the other person's not taken by surpise, at least not totally. :D

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 8 years ago from United States

      You are right on. All these disclaimers do nothing but telegraph their opposite. They say in capital letters, I AM GOING TO OFFEND YOU NOW. Why not just come out and say it? You're wife sure got fat! What the hell is wrong with your kid? What is this, horesmeat? Now, shut up so I can talk!