Post # 1
Another post got me thinking about this. Often on the Bee, there’s a post asking if something is rude or worth getting upset over. It seems like there are two kinds of rudeness – the kind that is intended to be mean, insulting, or hurtful, and the kind that happens when people don’t know certain social rules or don’t give enough thought to how their words/actions will affect others.
I usually try not to get too worked up over things if they’re just inconsiderate. I mean, who among us hasn’t accidentally done something that could be considered rude or thoughtless? I certainly have. Unless it’s a recurring pattern of selfishness (see today’s bride- and mom-zilla posts, ha!), it doesn’t seem worth being mad about. Life’s too short.
But if it’s actually cruel or spiteful, that’s a different story. It’s like the difference between not inviting a spouse because you didn’t think about how that would feel to the people involved, vs. not inviting a spouse because you dislike him or her and want to send a message. Or wearing white to a wedding because you don’t realize that you’re not supposed to, vs. wearing white to a wedding to try to take attention from the bride. Same actions, but vastly different motivations.
I started thinking about things this way a few years ago, and I realized how relaxing it is not to take things personally if they’re not meant to be personal!!
Is this a distinction that you try to follow? Is it hard sometimes? Do you think there are exceptions?
Post # 3
There’s definitely a distinction. It’s hard since every situation and the circumstances around it will vary, it’s so much easier said than done. I will be honest and admit that sometimes I take things personally that I shouldn’t, which I think has to do with my personality of caring too much what people think sometimes, which I’m working on (I hear as you ger older this gets less too). It’s just important to try not to jump to conclusions and take into consideration the factors before making the judgment.
Post # 4
@star_dust: Oh yeah, it’s definitely a process!! I’m not perfect about it by any stretch. It’s more a goal I’m aiming for, and I’m trying to be more mindful of it.
It is really hard when you care a lot what people think of you – i’m completely the same way. But I’ve found that taking this approach is actually really helpful with that. I ask myself, “Is this really about me?” Since the answer is usually “no,” I can then be reassured that whatever happened, it wasn’t because someone was thinking badly of me. Does that make sense?
Post # 5
I have a bad habit of taking things personally that aren’t personal at all. I try to take a step back and let it go like you mentioned, but I’m not always very good at it. I think you’re right about it decreasing stress in your own life, and I’m working on it.
Post # 6
This is really hard, because we aren’t mind readers so we can’t automatically assume when someone is trying to hurt us versus just being absentminded. I always try to be aware of my actions on others — if I assume I’ve inadvertently hurt someone, I work intentionally to rectify the situation as quickly as possible.
I think it falls on our shoulders to kindly and succintly let others know when their actions harm. This also applies to the significant relationships/marriages we’re all in. Using I-statements, we can say “You know, when you said X, I felt hurt/sad/angry”, etc. I-statements have been shown to be effective in communicating hurt without unnecessarily making the other person defensive.
Post # 7
Its easy to “read” too far into things! We are our own worst enemy lol
Post # 8
@MrsEdamame: Agree completely.
Post # 9
I agree with you. I do think sometimes in some cases, people aren’t really even offended they are just posturing and claim offensive on principle just for the sake of it.
Post # 10
- Wedding: September 2012 - Mother of the Bride's residence
I’m terrible at not taking things personally — a lot of the conflict I encounter with people is becasue I feel wronged over something I, really, just misunderstood as being intentionally mean. I’m going to try to keep this in mind!
Post # 11
@mightywombat: I’m with you. In fact I try to always first give anyome the benefit of the doubt and just assume that he/she just had no idea. It saves me from being upset a lot. I am not naive, I do watch for patterns of behavior. But even then, if someone is trying to offend me, what they want is a reaction, right? Gently educating them on how their actions may be perceived as rude or hurtful makes me feel better about the chance of repeat offenses. When it happens again, we all know who’s the ass.
For example: I hate it when brides seat the dates of their wedding party apart so the head table is exclusive. But where will I be sitting at my Future Brother-In-Law and FSIL’s wedding? Alone with no one to talk to because the only people I’ll know are my fiancé and his parents. He tried to gently ask why they would not consider anyone else’s feelings and seat us apart. “Well she’ll be with Bill’s girlfriend!”. (Never met her, but it’s true the poor girl will be in the same predicament as me). Anyway, clearly it’s about them, not anyone else. I’ll just go and get rip-roaring drunk on their dime, without anything else to do. 🙂
Post # 12
I always assume that people aren’t trying to hurt me. I’ve always figured that people have better things to do than to sit back and try to think of a way to hurt me on purpose. At least, I know I have better things to do than thinking of how to hurt others. I guess there are people who don’t have better things to do than hurt people on purpose, but those kinds of people aren’t worth my time to worry about or get upset about.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m perfect at turning the other cheek and ignoring an act of rudeness. Sometimes people need to be reminded of their manners, and sometimes I do get hurt.
Post # 13
@almostmrsj: Ugh, so annoying!! I’ve been there – or, more accurately, Darling Husband has, when he was seated with the groom’s father’s buddies from dental school (seriously – he didn’t know a single soul at this wedding other than me) when I was at the head table in a wedding once.
But you’re totally right to just roll your eyes and get over it. 🙂
Post # 14
Well, I lived in NYC for a decade, LOL.
I think Manhattan taught me pretty fast that it’s much easier to ignore and keep moving.
(But I did have to move back to California when one day I yelled to a guy to fuck off across 6th Avenue and realized that as much as I tried to cultivate my zen, I was just too damn angry.)
Generally, the vast majority of people that are rude/offensive don’t really know it and in that case, I pretty much shrug–usually the infraction, whatever it is, has no real-world consequences.