Nobody Cares If You’re Offended – Here’s What You Need to Know
Man, that title just hits you in the face, doesn’t it? It is unapologetically raw and maybe even rude. Hell, some people might even say it’s offensive to be so crass. This is such a perfect topic to talk about – especially in today’s divisive and politically charged, social-media fueled, attention seeking society.
Nobody cares if you’re offended.
Let’s explore this with some context. If you’ve ever been on the internet (well, beyond this site), you may have had the unfortunate experience of wandering into the comment section on a news article. Be advised – don’t wander into any comment section like this. Ever. They have nothing of value to add. Save yourself.
In this episode, we’re going to hit some of you with the hard truth that your opinion doesn’t matter. You might get your feelings hurt, but it’s for your own good. Let’s talk about why nobody cares if you’re offended, and what you can do about it. [Subscribe Here]
It seems like only yesterday, Black Panther came out in theaters. A movie with an all African-American cast. Oh man, such a great movie. Well written, expertly directed, and created to keep us interested while avoiding CGI overload.
More importantly to some, however, is the complete and utter lack of Caucasian actors. Online pundits, critics, and twitter worked their opinions up into a frothy mix so potent, nobody could escape the rhetoric. They were offended at the lack of inclusion. They demanded explanations. Some even went so far as to issue a boycott of the movie.
This is just like the issues with the Gay Pride Parade (and Pride Month) being challenged with a “Straight Pride Parade” in proposed for later this summer in Boston. People are so offended, something needs to be done to fix their dissatisfaction.
Ready for a hard truth?
Nobody cares. Nothing needs to be done to quell their perceived injustice.
Steve Hughes is an Australian comic that sums it up perfectly in his bit featured below. Forgive the resolution – it’s terrible, I know. Listen to the words. They’re the most important point anyway…
Look, there’s not a huge difference between something –or someone– being offensive and being rude. How we react to it, however, is drastically different. When someone is rude, we will often think, “man, that was rude. Screw that guy.” And then go about our day.
When something is offensive, people feel like it deserves immediate action to be corrected. That’s simply not how this works. You are allowed to feel offended. You are allowed to feel like something or someone is rude. You can even feel like you are owed an apology. You might even deserve one. But it doesn’t make a difference. The truth is, people are allowed to be rude or offensive. It’s their freedom to do so.
Sure, they are free to do and say whatever they like without legal consequence, but social justice is often faster and more ruthless anyway. The issue with social justice is that it can be swift and hasty, but also strengthened by other loud and offensive opinions.
When one commenter decides something is offensive, he or she will often get others to join in on the fight. Petitions will be created signatures will be collected, and suddenly what was someone’s unpopular opinion has now become a national news story that needs more attention and action.
Another Hard Truth:
You are not entitled to your opinion being the law of the land.
Another perfect example of this is the final ending in the Game of Thrones saga. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything, I have yet to watch the show. What amazes me, however, is how quickly people assembled and put their opinions and signatures to work to “demand” the final season be completely redone so as to satisfy the disgruntled viewers.
That’s crazy, but you know what’s worse? The cast members that came forward criticizing the petition (which now has over a million signatures) were raked over the coals as also being part of the problem.
Here’s what this looks like, if we change the current context and relate it to something more personal:
You and your wife are having a cookout. Neighbors and friends arrive and everything is going well. As the night begins to wrap up, neighbors are expecting the kids to go to bed and the adults get to relax poolside. Quite quickly, the kids are sent off to bed, but the pool lights are turned off.
You two are exhausted after a long week and long afternoon with all the commotion, so you’re shutting things down for the night. You’re not being rude or confrontational about it – you’re simply starting to wrap the night up and send people on their way.
A neighbor expecting to use the pool gets in your face and calls you terrible hosts. You’re amazed –who wouldn’t be?!?– but you tell him to please drive home safely. He continues to tell you and the remaining people at the party that your sudden change of plans is unacceptable, and your lack of accommodation is offensive. Another neighbor joins in.
This is crazy, right?
Suddenly, another neighbor weighs in and defends you, your home, and your decision. Now, the first group –they’re a group now, by the way– turn their efforts to belittling and chiding the defending neighbor. Suddenly, you find yourself taking a step back in your own home, trying to figure out how this happened, and how to fix it.
This might sound ridiculous, but people do it all the time. It may not be in a home or in a neighborhood cookout, but it happens all day, every day. People are confronted with circumstances they either do not like, or did not expect, and demand swift corrective justice.
We need to knock that shit off.
Look, I am judging you for doing this. I am unequivocally shaming you if this is something you do. You do not deserve everything to go your way, and you are not entitled to justice if someone or something is offensive or rude to you.
** This is completely different from cultural or systemic oppression or marginalization. These are much larger institutionalized issues and are not even remotely the same as a personal offense. I want to make sure I address this before I get any oppression comments. **
If you want to build a life and legacy you can be proud of, begin immediately taking responsibility for your actions and your reactions to data and circumstances around you. Don’t allow yourself to feel your personal offense is the “only opinion that matters” – causing you to create mountains out of mole hills that have no bearing on your existence.
If something is truly appalling and/or offensive to you, I invite you to explore your options before resorting to making a scene and becoming “that guy.” Ask yourself some questions:
- Is this truly offensive or just rude?
- Is this systemic and needs to be addressed on a larger scale, or am I just pissed off that I didn’t get my way?
- Are there any details I may have missed that would make this situation different / make me feel different?
- Does this personally impact me, my life, or the life of my immediate friends or family?
- In a group of 100 random people, would more people find it offensive, or would they find it rude?
- What happens if you walk away instead of picking a fight?
Again, I want to make sure you understand I do not ever mean to discount real issues being faced by those marginalized in today’s society: LGBTQ+, people of color, women, immigrants, et. al. The purpose and message I’m trying to get across here is this:
We are spending more of our time arguing about Starbucks cup designs, saying ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’, bathroom signage, and political commentary, than we are making our lives better.
The best advice I can give you? Turn off your TV. Read more personal improvement books (sprinkle in some Stoicism). Speak with more emotionally intelligent people. Create something that adds to your life, rather than taking something from another’s. Reduce the amount of noise you allow, and you’ll find that very little offends you. You’re just not that interested in the little bullshit anymore. You’d rather focus your hard-earned energy on the big issues for big reasons.
You can do this. You deserve it. And this, my friend, is something you are entitled to.
Go boldly. Everywhere.
P.S. If you’ve just discovered the blog and podcast, welcome to Season 3. This season is all about cutting out the crap and building a bigger, better life. We’re going to explore real estate, marketing, design, marriage, travel, and the stories you can’t afford to ignore any longer. Welcome.
Alright, hit me with the comments. Are you easily offended? Are you offended now?
Do you know someone that gets offended easily and makes a big stink about it?
Leave a comment below so we can connect!