"I don't mind" vs. "I don't care"

Are these the same thing or is there some subtle difference that I'm missing? To me "I don't mind" is what NTs say when they don't care, whereas I just say it like it is. People always seem slightly taken aback when I say I don't care, but it's honest—maybe too honest.

Examples: What would you like for dinner? Which shops would you like to browse in? When would you like to book a holiday? How would you like the flower girls to have their hair at our wedding?

  • I think you're right - "I don't mind" just seems to be the softer way of saying "I don't care". I think it's a very British quirk :)

  • Haha you have hit the nail on the head.  I say ' I don't care' on a daily basis and get in trouble for it.

    I'm just a black and white sort of person. I care or I don't. Venn diagrams of my world are very simple. 

  • All these questions flare up my pda and I just want to cover my ears and say 'wibble' 


  • Are these the same thing or is there some subtle difference that I'm missing? To me "I don't mind" is what NTs say when they don't care, whereas I just say it like it is. People always seem slightly taken aback when I say I don't care, but it's honest—maybe too honest.

    Examples: What would you like for dinner? Which shops would you like to browse in? When would you like to book a holiday? How would you like the flower girls to have their hair at our wedding?


    "I don't mind" can mean that someone is interested either way regarding a choice or choices being made by someone else, and "I don't care" can mean that someone is not interested in another person's choice or choices ~ and is therefore more likely to be considered as being dismissive and offensive. 

    Or in other words, "I don't mind" involves more the heart or feelings being invested in the wisdom or thoughtful governance of one or more other people in terms of their decision making processes, and "I don't care" involves then not caring for which involving little or no feeling for others feelings or thoughts.

    "I don't mind" can as such be considered warm-hearted or considerate, and "I don't care" cold-hearted or inconsiderate, therefore.


  • I've noticed that my daughter gets very offended if I say I don't care instead of I don't mind. I guess it could sound like "I don't care about you or what you're doing". Semantically it's very similar though! Childminder and child carer is pretty much the same thing!

  • I've had Bob Geldof's the Great Song of Indifference playing in my head now for a couple of days. Great video with that too. 

  • I think  is partly right...

    "I don't mind" is 'softer' but there is an implied 'caring' e.g.

    Wife: "I'm going out with my work friends on Friday, is that OK?"

    Husband: "I don't mind"

    = permission for / acceptance of the 'going out' and implies that the husband won't be upset - Wife goes off happy...

    vs.

    Wife: "I'm going out with my work friends on Friday, is that OK?"

    Husband: "I don't care"

    = implies that the activities of and/or presence/absence of the wife holds no importance to the husband - liable to result in a row...

    BUT - tone of voice & body language will radically alter these 'general' interpretations...

    "I don't mind..." suggests that you are accepting of / deferring to someone else's choice/opinion etc.

    "I don't care..." suggests that you are dismissive of / attach no value to the thing in question

    There are no hard & fast rules though... I tend to say "I don't care..." because:

     - black/white thinking

     - I have a habit of using 'extreme' language (I love/hate/don't care, things are amazing/terrible never 'nice' or 'ok' or 'I don't mind')

     - It's a damn sight clearer than trying to use woolly 'NT' language where the words are less important that the mysterious 'non-verbal' cues of tone of voice, body-language and facial expression.

    But that's just me...!

    Interestingly (well, interesting to me) this seems to be a common question asked by non-native English speakers e.g. https://www.gonaturalenglish.com/what-is-the-difference-between-i-dont-mind-and-care-in-english-conversation/?fca_lpc_skip=13918

    I guess in a way neuroatypicals ARE effectively non-native speakers of their 'mother' tongue as we aren't 'typical' speakers of that language, hence the high rates of cross-cultural relationships for NAs - 'oddness' is put down to cultural differences before neurological ones...

  • Hey :) 

    The way I see it, 'I don't mind' means that you're acknowledging the situation but happy with any outcome, whereas 'I don't care' implies that you aren't interested in the outcomes, or even the situation. But only direct people will use 'I don't care', as it's not seen as politex

    Much love <3