Is it Rude to Say I Don’t Care?

“I don’t care.” 

We’ve all heard the term and probably used it ourselves.

But, was it rude to say I don’t care?

Read on below and discover the interesting truth!

Is it Rude to Say I Don’t Care?

Generally speaking, it is relatively rude to say “I don’t care” to someone. However, there are tons of exceptions to the rule. 

But, for the most part, there is almost always a better way to phrase things than saying I don’t care. 

If you are talking to family or friends, there are a few times you can say I don’t care and it not be perceived as rude. 

At work, on the other hand, saying “I don’t care” is actually a typical answer to standard questions from other staffers, about stuff that makes no difference to you (like who gets the first break).

How Rude Is it?


On the rude meter’s scale of 1 to 10, saying I don’t care rates 8

While there are indeed times in our lives when saying that you don’t care about something is more than acceptable and justifiable, more than often it is not.

In other words, most of the time people say “I don’t care”, and it is said in a rude or otherwise uncalled-for way.

Why is it Rude?

The circumstances in which the saying is used determine whether or not it is rude, because when most people say “I don’t care”, it is exactly what they mean.

For example, if someone is pouring their heart out to you about something, and you reply with I don’t care, it is more or less rude any way you look at it (because you could say something more caring or understanding).

On the other hand, saying I don’t care at work when the assistant manager asks you what color crew shirts to order, isn’t a big deal or rude, it is just a fact (you don’t care which color, and leave the choice up to your subordinate).

Common Questions

What does it mean when someone says “I don’t care”?

When someone says I don’t care, it is typically exactly what they mean (or what they want you to think they mean, at any rate). 

If said in a professional context, it is not necessarily rude at all. During a personal conversation, depending on the context, saying I don’t care is hurtful and rude.

Is it rude to tell someone “who cares”?

It is more than rude to tell someone who means something to you that you don’t care… because you really do care. 

That said, telling someone you don’t care about something you truly don’t care about isn’t exactly rude, though it may come off that way regardless, depending on the context of the conversation.

Is it wrong to tell someone you don’t care what they’re saying?

It is only wrong to tell someone you don’t care what they are saying if it is your job to listen to/take orders from said person. 

In other words, if you tell your boss or parents that you don’t care about what they’re saying, you are being rude. If you tell some random person on the street the same thing, it isn’t necessarily rude.