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Why people take offence

http://theconversation.com/why-people-take-offence-131736

theconversation.com

Why people take offence
Most of us have felt offended at a remark made by a close friend or a random comment on our social media. Even worse, the chances are that we have experienced the shock of hearing that others were offended by our comments - despite the fact that we had no intention of hurting them.

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Feeling Offended

Taking offence is an experience of negative emotions triggered by a word or deed which conflicts with what is expected or believed to be correct, suitable, moral and acceptable behaviour.

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Kinds Of Expectations

  • Foreseeable expectations are those which we assume others will know based on our interpersonal relationship with them and feel offended when we see it is breached.
  • Reciprocit...

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A Sense Of Entitlement

Believing in our values forms our identity and provides us with a sense of entitlement to feel offended because we feel these 'sacred' values should be respected. 

This is amplified b...

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Changing Perspective

If you want to avoid offending someone, you can start by seeing the problem with the other person's point of view and finding out the root cause of the problem, understanding that there may be:

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Taking offense

Taking offense

Most of us have felt offended at a remark. However, we have probably also experienced the shock of finding out that others were offended by our comments, even if we had no intention of hurting them.

We take offense at explicitly rude language directed at us. We also take offense at what was meant or implied by a comment.

Three types of expectations

Our expectations are mostly formed in the context of our relationships with others. When they are breached, we tend to feel offended.

  1. Foreseeability expectations. They drive us to expect others to predict the potentially negative impact of their words and actions: "I did not expect to hear this from my friend."
  2. Reciprocity expectations. They are based on hoping that our favours or kindness are returned in kind.
  3. Equity expectations. They are about our desire to be treated fairly and equally.

Taking offense outside personal relationships

We often take offense outside our personal relationships—for example, a comment on Facebook that ridicules or questions something we find important or of value.

We use our values and beliefs to make judgements. Our belief in specific values may be an important part of our identity and explains why we take offense when those values are not respected.

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Swear words

By definition, swear words are offensive. If a word, over time, ceases to be offensive, then it falls out of use as a swear word.

We will often use swear words to vent some emotion. Swearing also centers on taboos. Around the world, swear words will tend to cluster around certain topics: lavatorial matters, sex, religion.

Swearing benefits

  • Swearing helps mitigate pain.
  • Those who speak more than one language, report that swearing in their first language carries a bigger emotional punch.
  • A few blue words, uttered in a good-natured way, indicates and encourages intimacy.
  • A recent study suggests that people who swear are perceived as more trustworthy.

Learning to be assertive

Being assertive means learning to manage your energy, plan your approach and craft your message in a way that maximizes potential for the other person, to be open to receiving and accepting it.

Acknowledge and don't react

  1. Make it known you noticed that underhanded insinuation by pausing and directing your attention to it.
  2. Calmly state you will revisit what they said, the action they took or the decision they made at another point. And you don’t ask it as a question; you make a statement.

Pause and reflect to gain clarity

Give yourself space to come to terms with what you experienced before being able to consider what action to take next.

Get clear on your values. It’s important that you understand within yourself first, the nature and reason behind the battle you choose to fight.