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Does the phrase "I had no idea..." tend to sound hostile to you?

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One person I work with sometimes tends to say this a lot whenever a small issue or problem happens. For example, in calling about a bill that was double-paid, person will say, "I had no idea this was the same bill." It always seems "testy" to me, especially if this is a text, not a verbal conversation. I'm wondering if I'm just being touchy or if that sounds a little testy to other ears. :)

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I use the phrase when it applies.  But I could see how it might be taken in context to mean "why didn't somebody tell me this"?

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I don't think it's hostile unless it is drippingly sarcastic.

 

Ex.  "I had no idea that algebra was so completely useless that high school students should not be bothered with it."

 

Or, "I had no idea that raising the price of gasoline could impact the poor."

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I could see it might be a little testy in a certain context.  I don't think it necessarily is though depending on the conversation. 

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No. I hear it as synonym for "I did not know" or "I did not realize".

Why should that sound hostile?

I think I hear it the way SKL said; "Why didn't somebody tell me?!"

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Just ignore it, because obviously, now she knows. Doesn't matter whether she feels she needs to deflect blame, or thinks she's so important that everyone should have informed her of everything MUCH sooner, or is just simply saying it (with no agenda) because it's true...she didn't know, but now she does, so proceed from there.

 

The only reason to try to figure out why she says "I had no idea," is if it's YOUR job to share information with her and you might not be doing that correctly.

 

:)

Edited by Tibbie Dunbar
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If it's your job to convey the information, then I guess it could read as slightly hostile, like a mild rebuke? But not generally. Without a pretty specific context I wouldn't have ever thought that.

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Just ignore it, because obviously, now she knows. Doesn't matter whether she feels she needs to deflect blame, or thinks she's so important that everyone should have informed her of everything MUCH sooner, or is just simply saying it (with no agenda) because it's true...she didn't know, but now she does, so proceed from there.

 

The only reason to try to figure out why she says "I had no idea," is if it's YOUR job to share information with her and you might not be doing that correctly.

 

:)

I like this. This is the measure of the situation. I am being hyper-sensitive because of the person.

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One person I work with sometimes tends to say this a lot whenever a small issue or problem happens. For example, in calling about a bill that was double-paid, person will say, "I had no idea this was the same bill." It always seems "testy" to me, especially if this is a text, not a verbal conversation. I'm wondering if I'm just being touchy or if that sounds a little testy to other ears. :)

It must sound that way to you because of your experience with this person. 

 

On its face, it does not sound testy. 

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No. Unless the tone is distinctly testy I would view that as a neutral remark. Maybe a bit defensive. Perhaps coy and insincere if someone is claiming not to know something they ought to know ("I had no idea it's not ok to ask prospective employees if they are pregnant" or some such nonsense).

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Since it seems like this person uses the phrase a lot, it seems to me that the person:

1) is not very good at his/her job & is pretty clueless

2) is using this phrase as a defense mechanism to avoid getting in trouble

 

I would just tend to ignore it after awhile & continue to impart information as needed. I would stay neutral, not worry about the tone, & continue to shift the stuff back to the person for correcting/rectifying as needed. Maybe the person will eventually get a clue that it is twice as much work to do the work twice. Duh! If not, then see #1 above. :lol:

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To me, yes.

 

The reason defensive language bothers me is because it assumes the other person was attacking in some way.

 

If not asked for an explanation or not attacked/accused then don't offer excuses.

 

If being attacked or accused then "I had no idea" has its place.

 

Just my two cents on a pet peeve!

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I have a problem with this phrase with one particular relative, because when he says he had no idea, it really means he knows exactly what's going on, but doesn't want to address it. It's a very passive aggressive phrase, which sounds hostile to me.

 

With other people, not so much.

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My guess is that this is your sister-in-law, and like I am with one of mine, everything she says is filtered through all of your past bad moments.

So I have a sister-in-law who I always think is performance parenting. She probably isn't, but because she has done petty things over the years, I see her in that light all the time. I know it's not right, but she really just rubs me the wrong way.

Edited by Caroline
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citing the example you gave -

it sounds defensive.  (I see hostile as more aggressive offense.) are they normally fairly clueless and perhaps dealing with a sense of inferiority in their level of competence?

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My guess is that this is your sister-in-law, and like I am with one of mine, everything she says is filtered through all of your past bad moments.

 

So I have a sister-in-law who I always think is performance parenting. She probably isn't, but because she has done petty things over the years, I see her in that light all the time. I know it's not right, but she really just rubs me the wrong way.

Good guess. ðŸ˜

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citing the example you gave -

it sounds defensive. (I see hostile as more aggressive offense.) are they normally fairly clueless and perhaps dealing with a sense of inferiority in their level of competence?

She generally seems to think she should be advised of every little thing, whereas I just see work that needs to be done and I do it so it doesn't sit there undone. So, for example, the tax paperwork came in for our now-defunct company. Seeing it there and knowing there is a deadline for filing, I just sent them in. But then she came by the office intending to do the tax filing, but it was already done. So here comes her stock phrase, "I had no idea you sent the taxes in already." So I guess it inconvenienced her that I filed them but didn't inform her; meanwhile, I just did them because only I go to the office regularly anymore and didn't want to leave them sit there and lapse.

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Once in a while, appropriate. Used often , it's hyperbolic and childish. But not hostile .

Edited by poppy

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She generally seems to think she should be advised of every little thing, whereas I just see work that needs to be done and I do it so it doesn't sit there undone. So, for example, the tax paperwork came in for our now-defunct company. Seeing it there and knowing there is a deadline for filing, I just sent them in. But then she came by the office intending to do the tax filing, but it was already done. So here comes her stock phrase, "I had no idea you sent the taxes in already." So I guess it inconvenienced her that I filed them but didn't inform her; meanwhile, I just did them because only I go to the office regularly anymore and didn't want to leave them sit there and lapse.

That I would interpret as a little more hostile. More like, "Why didn't you tell me you filed those? I wasted my time and it's your fault." At least that's how I would hear it. I don't think you're off base.

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