Fluff and Also Personal! Is "Cross Your Fingers" Offensive?

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Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427
Fluff and Also Personal! Is "Cross Your Fingers" Offensive?

Of course, it's hard to read tone over email. However, I get the feeling that I somehow offended a relative of mine by them to "keep their fingers crossed" for us in a cheery email about selling our house. They replied that they do not cross their fingers, they pray. I found it odd to point this out, unless they were offended by my asking for crossed fingers instead of prayers (I don't typically ask for prayers, which they know, and to me "keep your fingers crossed" is just an expression that means "wish us good luck" not an actual request for crossed fingers.)

I don't know if this is even a debate so much as a question to my religious friends - is asking for crossed fingers instead of prayers offensive? Or, as I'm leaning towards, were they just sniping at me for not being religious myself (this happens a lot in my family.)

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Of course, it's hard to read tone over email. However, I get the feeling that I somehow offended a relative of mine by them to "keep their fingers crossed" for us in a cheery email about selling our house. They replied that they do not cross their fingers, they pray. I found it odd to point this out, unless they were offended by my asking for crossed fingers instead of prayers (I don't typically ask for prayers, which they know, and to me "keep your fingers crossed" is just an expression that means "wish us good luck" not an actual request for crossed fingers.)

I don't know if this is even a debate so much as a question to my religious friends - is asking for crossed fingers instead of prayers offensive? Or, as I'm leaning towards, were they just sniping at me for not being religious myself (this happens a lot in my family.)

Interesting. Doesn't offend me at all. Like you, i think its just a phrase to mean 'wish us luck'. I don't think its meant to be taken in any sort of literal sense, in which we actually expect people to cross their fingers in hopes that it, by magical powers, creates good fortune for others.

People use superstitious phrases like that very lightheartedly these days...i would see no sense in taking so seriously as to have to respond "Actually...i don't cross my fingers, i pray" LOL

SID081108's picture
Joined: 06/03/09
Posts: 1348

Um, not at all offensive and that type of reply would annoy the hell out of me (as someone who prays). It's a perfectly normal message, just like saying "send good thoughts my way" or "wish us good luck", as you said. It would be one thing for the relative to reply something like "hoping the best and praying you sell quickly!" or something like that, but the way it was worded, or to be offended by it in any way, is crazy to me. It's just hyper-sensitivity, or maybe trying to make a statement that they think will make you interested in their religious perspective when in reality, it's just a bigger turn-off.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

That is something I would say/have said many times even though I believe strongly in prayer. If I were to say that to my mother she might correct me and say I would rather pray, but it would not offend her and she would not be rude about it. Or others might say "I do not believe in luck but I will pray for you."

Me personally I would not think it was rude though to point out that you do not believe in crossing your fingers if it was said in a polite way. Sort of like if I asked you to pray for me, you might nicely say "I do not pray, but I sure will be thinking of you".

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Me personally I would not think it was rude though to point out that you do not believe in crossing your fingers if it was said in a polite way. Sort of like if I asked you to pray for me, you might nicely say "I do not pray, but I sure will be thinking of you".

Yeah but if someone were to ask someone to pray....i would think they literally were asking me to pray, which is kind of different. Because then you really can't do what they are asking if thats not something you believe in.

But when someone asks you to cross your fingers...they aren't literally asking you to cross your fingers. So you don't have to really inform them that its not 'something you do'

I think it would have been a lot more normal for the person to just respond "I'll say a little pray for you!"

Its no biggy.. Alissa's story is just a weird way to respond

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Me personally I would not think it was rude though to point out that you do not believe in crossing your fingers if it was said in a polite way. Sort of like if I asked you to pray for me, you might nicely say "I do not pray, but I sure will be thinking of you".

Yeah but if someone were to ask someone to pray....i would think they literally were asking them to pray, which is kind of different. Because then you really can't do what they are asking if thats not something you believe in.

But when someone asks you to cross your fingers...they aren't literally asking you to cross your fingers. So you don't have to really inform them that its not 'something you do'

I think it would have been a lot more normal for the person to just respond "I'll say a little prayer for you!"

Its no biggy.. Alissa's story is just a weird way to respond

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Yeah, if they had just responded "I will be praying for you" I would not have thought anything of it. (Just like when people ask me to pray for them, I never say "I don't pray." I just say "You will be in my thoughts" or something like that. Because I'm not trying to make a big point over something innocent.) LOL My family.....SMH

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Son of gun! I keep accidentally locking threads! Sorry!

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Or, as I'm leaning towards, were they just sniping at me for not being religious myself (this happens a lot in my family.)

This. I get it, too. I'll say something like that, or, "Keep good thoughts for us," and inevitably at least one person will reply, "I will pray for you instead." :rolleyes: I know that's what you will do, but I'm not going to *ask* for it, kwim?

ETA: And sometimes when I'm feeling snarky, it's hard to resist the urge to reply to that with something like, "Please sacrifice a chicken instead because it has a better chance of working," or simply, "Don't bother."

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

Very strange. I have never heard of a religious person objecting to that saying. I agree it is just like saying good luck or break a leg.

When we were kids we used to have a saying that we would say to verify we were telling the truth. Smile

Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a thousand needles in my eye

Joined: 05/13/13
Posts: 34

How odd! As light hearted as "cross your fingers!" is I can't imagine being offended by it, or offending anyone with it. It isn't as if you requested a shout out to Satan for luck.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

I do know people who would think saying "Wish me luck" would be equivalent to "Pray for me". I think it has a similar intent of wishing someone well. Neither one IMO is meant as an insult.

MissyJ's picture
Joined: 01/31/02
Posts: 3218

They were sniping. Sorry you have to deal with that.

Heck, I think I even posted something on here the other day offering positive thoughts, prayers, crossed fingers, good vibes, and anything else which would "help" bring good fortune (or in this case strong "sticky" for Susan's bean.) I certainly meant no offense nor would I have if I had picked just one.

My personal pov is one should take / offer a show of support in the spirit that it is given and "accept" it according to one's own beliefs - preferably without being *offended.*

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

It was a jerk move.

Nothing offends me about "cross your fingers". I say it.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

NEVER heard of someone thinking that. So weird. I have heard someone say "you are so lucky" and another say back "Not lucky, just blessed"
In fact, I think our pastors wife said something the other day about crossing our fingers and saying a prayer because she wants to be transferred to a different school in our district

wierd