“Humans are nervous, touchy creatures and can be easily offended. Many are deeply insecure. They become focused and energized by taking offense; it makes them feel meaningful and alive.”
I believe we should be offended by things like mistreatment of people, animals and the environment to name a few. But lately, I have noticed an increasing number of people who are easily offended.
I saw a recent Facebook post where a friend used the term “folks” at an event and their waiter acted offended and asked her not to use that term again. Really?!
I bet you have examples of Easily Offended People (EOP) in your life.
Why are people easily offended? Here are my thoughts.
First, I think they like drama.
I blame TV for some of this, especially reality shows. The “Real” housewives are EOP and definitely NOT real. However, there would be no show if someone wasn’t offended and acting out, after all, drama boosts ratings.
EOP have someone or something to take issue with and that means they are upset or angry a lot. My guess is they are the same people who say “I hate drama!” but drama keeps showing up.
EOP also like to go on rants to prove how much they’ve been wronged. How many times have you seen those social media posts? DRAMA!
I don’t have drama because I choose not to even entertain it.
“To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.” ~David A. Bednar
Second, I believe being an EOP makes them feel powerful. THEY would never use the word “folks” so they get to feel superior. Although, I think it’s a facade for a feeling of inferiority.
Third, when someone is easily offended it immediately stops the conversation. It’s a wall that shuts out any intimate, authentic connection because we’re walking eggshells trying not to offend.
I find it’s virtually impossible to cultivate a friendship or intimate relationship with EOP because I’m constantly having to apologize for something I said or did.
However, EOP are unwilling to forgive and seem to love holding grudges. At times, we may not even be aware that we’ve offended them. We may be stunned that something trivial, such as using the word “folks,” or an equally benign comment, was offensive to them.
If you’re an EOP, you’re probably offended by this post and have stopped reading by now. Or, you are crafting a rant to post on social media or in the comments below.
If, by chance, you are interested in changing, I recommend you seek out a professional, either a therapist or a coach. They will help you learn why you keep this pattern of behavior in place and help you shift it.
I imagine the weight of carrying around all your offenses must be draining. Think about the time and energy it takes to look for things to be offended by. (You’re probably offended because I ended the sentence with a preposition:).
Let go of the Dark Side and join us DOP (Difficult to Offend People)! I promise you that life is glorious!
If you’re dealing with EOP, I don’t have much advice. Should you have the courage and bandwidth to call them out on their shiz, then do it. Just know that there will likely be DRAMA. They will be offended and not talk to you and may even talk shiz behind your back or post something on social media.
FYI- If your EOP is a waiter then I recommend you be polite, you don’t want something unfortunate to happen to your food.
You need to decide if it’s worth it to keep EOP in your life. If you’re honest, they probably weren’t a great friend to begin with so no big loss.
“Everyone is so offended all the time. The new police force that we weren’t told about: the moral police. No qualifications, no training, no understanding of actual morality, but they have a degree in the art of being offended.” ~Karan Johar
Personally, I try to avoid EOP. I find them draining and too much work so I practice what I call, “bless and release.” In other words, I send them a hit of compassion and release them to the Universe. When I encounter them or another EOP, I am polite, keep the conversation light and quick, and quietly wish them well when we depart.
If you decide to continue to walk on eggshells around your EOP, you might consider limiting interaction. It’s also not a good idea to be around them when you’re tired or stressed as they will likely trigger you and could end up in drama (do you see a pattern here?).
I want to live a happy life so I choose not to be easily offended and these two practices make it possible:
- Forgive everyone, everywhere, everything
- Assume best intentions
That’s really all I’ve got. If you liked this post, please share and post any other advice or tips you may have on dealing with Easily Offended People, I promise not to be offended.
It can be difficult to watch people struggle, especially someone we love and care about. Our first response is likely to want to fix or save them.
However, consider the following:
- In our struggles are lessons. If we rescue others (or wait for rescue), they (we) can miss the lesson that is waiting for them (us). That lesson may keep them (us) from making the same mistake over again.
- When we practice taking responsibility for our lives, we learn that we are strong and resilient as we come out on the other side. We not only rob someone of that feeling of accomplishment when we rush to rescue, we keep them from building their self-confidence.
- We are not the Happiness Police. It is not our job to make sure everyone around us is happy.
Sometimes we need to be unhappy or angry or frustrated or …insert feeling here… Sometimes we need to let others be in and work through their stuff.
- Rescuing creates dependence. Are we afraid if this person becomes independent they won’t need us anymore? Do we get our self-worth from taking care of them? We need to address our motives when creating this dynamic in a relationship.
- Rescuing and trying to fix sends the message that they are not capable of taking care of themselves.
What CAN we do?
Let them know that they are not alone and the door is open if, and when, they need support. It’s up to them to walk through that door, it’s not our job to carry them through.
Allow them to practice asking for what they need rather than trying to figure it out for them. Be empathetic, listen and try not to “fix” their problem.
What if YOU are struggling?
Ask yourself, “What do I need to process these thoughts and emotions?” Then practice reaching out to someone who is “holding the door open” and make a request for support.
It’s amazing what happens when we are given the space to feel how we feel with no judgement.
I’m reminded of the story about a butterfly. (Take a moment to read Paulo Coehlo’s version of the story below)
If we want to fly, we must first be willing to struggle out of our cocoon.
What’s harder, sometimes, is we must allow others to do the same.
The Lesson of the Butterfly
December 10, 2007
By Paulo Coelho
A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it. After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still.
The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon, thus releasing the butterfly. However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled.
The man continued to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away. Nothing happened; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shrivelled wings, incapable of flight.
What the man – out of kindness and his eagerness to help – had failed to understand was that the tight cocoon and the efforts that the butterfly had to make in order to squeeze out of that tiny hole were Nature’s way of training the butterfly and of strengthening its wings.
Sometimes, a little extra effort is precisely what prepares us for the next obstacle to be faced. Anyone who refuses to make that effort, or gets the wrong sort of help, is left unprepared to fight the next battle and never manages to fly off to their destiny.
(Adapted from a story sent in by Sonaira D’Avila)