When telling someone a statement of fact (i.e. something you know, without a doubt to be true), if they respond "maybe", which to me suggests the possibility that you are wrong, is this rude?

Likewise, if you offer an opinion, and the usual response to your opinions from a particular person is also "maybe", again intrinsically questioning your opinion, is this rude?

  • Are they being rude, or are they showing themselves up as unthinking, or are they simply uncertain because your facts differ from the "facts" as told by others? Rudeness is in the eye/ear/mind of the beholder.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jul 19 '15 at 18:20
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    It can mean that they simply cannot verify what you have said, or have not had time to "process" it. You really need to get the meaning from the tone of voice and the entire context.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 19 '15 at 18:20
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    @HotLicks - Yes one of the constant impediments to answering questions about intent is the impossibility of portraying intonation in text. A simple word like "Maybe" can be pronounced in many ways and thereby have many nuances. Jul 19 '15 at 19:20
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    What it means is that they don’t believe you but they don’t want to categorically say that you are wrong so they politely give you the benefit of the doubt.
    – Jim
    Jul 20 '15 at 2:53
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    @ab2 - Yes, it means that there are some people who will be incapable of being offended, even by you.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 20 '15 at 3:12

They are being polite.

Be very careful with truth and "without a doubt".


Either they're wrong, in which case they're being rude, but they don't realize it, or you're wrong, in which case you're being rude, but you don't realize it. A little more humility all around might not be such a bad thing here.

  • 1
    Why is it rude to be wrong?
    – Barmar
    Jul 20 '15 at 16:17
  • Sorry, I didn't mean to say it's rude to be wrong, per se. It's "rude" to be wrong and dismissive of the person who's right, in that an outside observer will think that whoever's wrong is the one "at fault" for the suddenly tense relations. Jul 20 '15 at 16:19
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    It is not rude to hear a statement which sounds doubtful to you and, in a reasonable fashion, express that doubt. This has nothing to do with whether the statement ultimately proves true or not.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 17 '15 at 23:18

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