Where’s my imaginary twin?
The last few months, I have been doing a lot of introspective thinking. I have been quietly (well, as quiet as a talker like me can) listening to others, hoping to learn a bit. After sitting on the sidelines, processing, not blogging (oops), I am ready to discuss my observations. There has been an overwhelming theme invading my life, through friends, social media, even Mike.
The dreaded go to, ever popular and increasingly powerful word, offend.
Before beginning this article I looked up the dictionary definition.
Offend: Verb. Cause to feel upset, annoyed and resentful.
UGH, I don’t like any of those words! Who wants to be annoyed, resentful, or upset?
Apparently, a large number of people. Since being offended has been a predominant nuisance, skulking behind every tree I skip by, I thought I would take a closer look. My findings? The verb “Offend” is being vastly overused, and in my humble opinion, largely misused.
Mike is typically my go to in all areas of grammar, wrong definitions (see http://ranchandsyrup.com/2013/02/20/my-grammar-bes-ebonics-gin-tonic-and-chronic/) Whenever he explains an annoying misuse of a word, I always ask him for an example to ensure:
2. To see if I can pat myself on the back for not being the guilty party. That being said, examples are my favorite way of furthering my point.
Examples of correct and incorrect uses of being offended:
- “Hey Mari, your dress makes your butt look huge. Don’t worry though, your makeup looks fantastic!”
- I’m offended!
- “Mari, your rant about women’s rights was really offensive. You should really think about what you say.”
Luckily, neither of these are real, but you catch my drift.
When did different opinions elicit the term offensive? Politics tend to be the most often referenced, but religion is the same hot button. Of course, offended parties tend to span the usage across even the most trivial areas including table manners, music, television etc.
Not only are people offended, they are encouraging me to be offended. The other day I was chatting with a friend who prefaced with, “I am sorry, I don’t mean to offend you”, before making a statement. Her statement was not my personal belief, but certainly not offensive to me. If I chose to be offended every time someone said, did, or acted in a way not perfectly aligned with my beliefs, I would be offended most of the time. Why? Because everyone is different! Do you know anyone who believes EXACTLY the same as you, in all areas? I don’t. The chances of knowing someone who agrees with every sentiment in your life is slim to none. And yet, so many people are unconsciously seeking their imaginary twin.
Why are we so afraid of living peacefully with differing opinions? Why is it a “Cause to feel upset, annoyed and resentful”?
Unfortunately, I do not have the answer. I have ideas, but would like to hear your opinions. More to follow…