“No offense, but…” is a typical phrase used in connection with loaded statements made about others without wanting to appear openly aggressive. If the person at whom the negative statement is aimed subsequently complains or fights back, a common response is “I’m just kidding,” “can’t you take a joke?” or “boy are you sensitive!”
Of course, it has nothing to do with being overly sensitive, and everything to do with rejecting such comments and standing up for oneself.
If the original comment wasn’t intended as a barb or insult, the person who made it should go ahead and clarify that. Misinterpretations can happen and there’s no use letting things fester. But if the comment was meant as an attack, the best thing to do is be mature about it and apologize…and stay away from the defensive phrases that are just likely to dig a deeper hole.
For a discussion about this in relation to teenage girls, see Rachel Simmons’ Huffington Post article.