It’s not the one you’re thinking. This one is my own personal peeve: the word “Nope.”
I have several issues with it, starting with the fact that when you hear it, 90% of the time it’s bad news. My second issue with it is that it’s flippant, curt and even insensitive, if the “nope” deliverer knows their response has the potential of bringing you down.
Before you color me hypersensitive, please hear me out; in my 56 years I have seen more than my share of negativity connected to this hybrid word. Most people who respond with it think it makes them seem cool, aloof, blasé or indifferent; but truthfully, it comes off as rather rude.
One of the first times the semi-rudeness of this word sort of resonated with me was actually a time when it wasn’t directed toward me, but had a lot to do with me. My boyfriend at the time relayed to me an incident from earlier that day where he had called my apartment to talk to me, but I wasn’t there. My roommate Bob (who he had yet to meet in person) answered.
Boyfriend: Is Kelly there?
Boyfriend: Do you know where she is?
Boyfriend: Do you know if she went out of town for the weekend?
Pretty obnoxious, right? (For the record, this roommate was an Aeronautics major at San Jose State who had book smarts, but was lacking somewhat in people skills)
“Your roommate sounds like a real asshole,” the boyfriend expressed to me later that day. (the boyfriend turned out to be an asshole as well, but it had nothing to do with “nope.”)
The word “nope” later hit a raw nerve with me when I was at a department store in Orange County CA, back around 1990. I asked a 20-something man who worked there if they had any more Krups cappuccino-espresso makers in stock besides what was on the shelves (I was looking for a certain color).
“Nope,” was his take-it-or-leave-it-esque response, delivered with more of a smirk than a customer service-friendly smile.
I was a bit put-off by his flippancy; but me, being how I was at that age, said thank you (whilst camoflaging a slow burn) and wound up purchasing a basic black model of the coffee maker.
Since then I have noticed the word thrown out with abandon, from all walks of life. A simple “No,” “I’m sorry, no,” or “No, however (insert solution here),” and other, more polite forms of “no” all seem to have been thrown by the wayside and replaced by ”nope,” resulting in it becoming my least-favorite 4-letter word.
One thing I have noticed more times than not about the abusers, however, is that they all seem unhappy and/or frustrated, and they want to make damn sure you don’t get a break, either. To me, “Nope,” reads, “No, and tough luck!” That’s my experience, anyway.
So here’s where I have come up with a potpourri of solutions: If it’s a friend, relative or coworker who tends to overuse the word, I, a) either keep those negative types at arm’s length, b) simply avoid setting myself up for that redundant, curt response, or c) politely call them out on it.
Yeah, call them out on it — but that’s usually in those rare times when I’m feeling a little feisty, confrontational or easily annoyed.
In regards to surly salespeople or anyone else in the service industry who use “nope” in response to a similar situation as my aforementioned department store encounter, I may be prone to write a letter to management. Fortunately in this electronic age, when shooting off a complaint or giving a bad review are at our fingertips, I have noticed a lot less “nope” usage where customer service is concerned (leading me to believe that perhaps I’m not the only one bugged by the word). And as proactive as I can be, it’s not my intention to get people in trouble so much as it is to get them educated on decent conduct.
First world problems, my annoyance with the word “nope,” right? Perhaps, but there are certain words that don’t bother me that may put a bee in someone else’s bonnet. Take for instance, women who hate being called “Ma’am,” or who cringe when someone refers to her and her friends as “You guys.” Neither of those references bother me in the least.
I just happen to be a ma’am that perceives the word “nope” as flippant and rude at times; that’s all, you guys.