For my own pleasure I have been reading English grammars. Take a minute and let that sink in. Consider its meaning before entering a field whose primary concern is language. Can one's desires be so twisted that grammar is a good time? Yes, but I digress.
Grammars are exciting because they have a name for everything: superlative, independent clause, dangling participle. Wouldn't you like to be a dangling participle? Not when you feel the fury of the grammarians against you. Who has known anger if not the anger of one teaching grammar to insolent fools?
In all their brilliant categorization, naming and delineating the way we speak, I have yet to find the name of this phenomena; when the speaker says something meaning to be truthful but in fact he deceives his audience and himself. I know what you're thinking, self deception is not a matter of grammar but psychology and you may be right. However, the specific instances of self deception I am referring to are very idiomatic, that is, we use specific constructions of words to signal our listener (and presumably ourselves) that we are about to attempt to deceive ourselves and them. How, you may be wondering, can we have a construction of words that tells us we are about to deceive ourselves and yet still be legitimately deceived? Oh, the wonders of the human person. In case you don't follow I will illustrate.
The first of these expressions is, "No offense, but..." When these words are spoken the listener can be certain that they are about to be offended. The beauty of this expression is that typically neither the speaker nor the listener are expecting an offense to occur. But it always does. Don't let movies deceive you either, through the use of brilliant writing this expression has been used without offense. Yes, in a make believe world that is possible, but I have yet to see it work in real life. And yet, it always seems like it works. This is because "No offense," must always be followed by the phrase "None taken." "No offense, but the only people I have ever heard say things like that were idiots." "None taken." It is the coupling of these lines that gives it the appearance of validity and yet it is impossible not to take offense. If there was no possibility of offense then the line itself would be unnecessary. What we want to be saying is, "This may sound offensive to you but if you really understand what I mean it isn't." But in fact what we are saying is, "I am about to say something offensive but I am going to make you look like a jerk if you act offended." The listeners response could be taken at face value, ie they are not offended, when in actual fact they mean, "I am not going to take the bait by acting offended thereby making me appear rude when you were the rude one. Instead I will put on a happy face so the conversation can continue in a pleasant manner but in my heart I hate you. No offense."
There are many expressions that are similarly used so we can deceive ourselves but still say what we want. "Not to..." is a popular one. "Not to dominate the conversation," means "I am going to keep talking, but I am doing it in a way that makes it seem like I feel bad for not listening while also making it impossible for you to stop me without being a jerk." Similarly "I don't want you to..." or "You wouldn't think me..." allow us to do/be something while making it wrong for anyone to criticize us. "You wouldn't think me a pig if I finished your fries, would you?" "I don't want to seem insensitive but, gosh, get over it." Of course we don't think you're insensitive.