"What" is in no way offensive. Neither is "if". But together, their usage in everyday language has potentially catastrophic consequences.
"What if I try and fail?"
"What if I share my ideas and someone steals them?"
"What if I don't buy a gun to protect my family?"
"What if I speak my mind and I'm laughed at?"
"What if?" prevents risk taking, creativity, individuality, and advancement. It promotes the cultural melting-pots that lead to conformity and the rat race. When you ask "what if?" in this context, you are justifying to the world your choice to avoid taking risks by pointing out the potential bad outcomes. You are choosing to bitch out and draw others to your cause; to feel secure in your insecurity.
Stop asking "what if?" in the negative context. Start asking, "Can you imagine if I achieve this?" or start asking risk/ reward or empowerment-based questions such as "what if I avoid taking the risk and I miss my life's calling?"....
- "What if I ask her out and she says no?" turns to "what if I chicken out and this was my potential wife?". That's an action question, asked by someone who is about to seize an opportunity!
- "What if I don't buy a gun?" turns to "what if my family is injured because I buy a gun?"
Don't bitch. Enrich.