As my children can tell you, I have a couple of pet peeves. Any sentence that begins with “no offense but…” is definitely one of them. I am a patient woman (mostly) but one of the things that really drives me crazy is when people say things knowing that the words about to come out of their mouths is going to hurt or offend the people around them. I tell my kids all the time, if you have to start your sentence by saying “No offense but,…”, then you probably should just stop talking there. Am I wrong here? In my mind when you begin by apologizing that is acknowledging the fact that you know you should not say what you are about to say.

Now it’s one thing when you are 10 or 12 but when I hear a grown man, like Kanye West, use the “no offense but…” and then suck the joy out of an amazing moment from a 19 year old girl I am truly appalled. I know that he didn’t say those exact words but was the sentiment any different? He interrupted her speech and started out saying one thing, (I’m so happy you won) and ended saying something entirely different (I’m disappointed that you won) and very hurtful. In my book that’s just as good as “no offense” or “I don’t mean to be rude but”. That goes beyond rude; in fact I believe it’s down right selfish. I guess his song is right… that’s a big ego. 

Rudeness happens most often when there is a lack of thoughtfulness or filter in our behavior; an unconscious misstep born out of our own self-centeredness. We are all guilty from time to time of not taking a moment to think about the impact our words or actions will have on the world around us. From talking loudly in a restaurant to cutting off the car next to you in traffic, it is usually a crime of thoughtlessness not intent. But when you take the time to preface your behavior with an apology for its offensiveness; it becomes clear that you have thought about its impact quite carefully. You have already taken a moment to consider how hurtful your words might be and then chose to say them anyway. That’s not rude, it’s mean and arrogant.

If Kanye West didn’t want to offend Taylor Swift then he would have sat in his seat, applauded for her win, and found an appropriate venue to express his disappointment in Beyonce’s loss. But he didn’t really care if he offended her. He placed his desire to be heard and his self righteous belief that his opinion matters more than, in this case, everyone that voted for Taylor Swift to win. It was selfish. And it is that kind of ego-centric behavior that happens often in relationships leading people to conflict and dissatisfaction. In our narcissistic need to be heard immediately, many times individuals knowingly step on the feelings of others, especially those closest to us.

It requires maturity and an ability to regulate your own emotions to stop yourself from making your perspective the only one that matters. Too often in couples, each partner is vying for a platform on which to be heard. They fight and push (figuratively) to take center stage, much the way Kanye West did on Sunday night. This need to have our side heard at all costs usually costs people the very thing they want most, intimacy and validation. Healthy relationships, with your spouse, friends, or adoring fans, requires you to constantly weigh your desires against the impact they have on others. Whether you’re Kanye West or just a husband or wife trying to heard, its important to remember that your opinions are no more (or less) important than than anyone else’s. To truly be heard and understood, we all must do a better job of expressing ourselves in a way that respects the value of those around us. And if you can’t do that, it’s usually best to keep your mouth shut.