Saturday, June 8, 2013

Don’t take offense

I’m calling people out on a phrase that is uttered far too much: “Don’t take offense, but…” What often follows is something pretty offensive. And if, as the receiver of such a comment, people get upset, the speaker of the offensive comment defends what they said by stating, “I told you not to take offense!” 

I’ll openly admit I tend to use analogies to help understand the world around me. Some people are annoyed by this—though I’m not sure why. In the case noted above, an analogy would be person A telling person B, “Now, don’t get hurt by this,” and then slapping person B upside the head. When person B says, “Ow!” person A response, “I told you not to get hurt!” 

I’ve been accused of being overly tactful when trying to speak to people about a concern. I even had one employee tell me, “Just tell me what’s wrong. I can take it.” I guess I tend to go with the concept of “A soft answer turneth away wrath.” (Found in The Bible, Proverbs 15:1) 

For full disclosure, I have to confess that I’m guilty of sometimes not keeping my tongue in check when I get really frustrated. 

My wife and I were married for nearly five years before we had our first daughter. It wasn’t that we were waiting, it’s just that for whatever reason it took us five years of trying. (We ended up with four lovely daughters, so I can’t complain.) 

One day at church, an older, bald gentleman sat down by me and said, “You’ve been married a few years now, right? When are you two going to have a kid?” 

Without hesitating, I responded, “When are you going to join The Hair Club For Men?” 

He looked startled for a moment. “It’s none of my business, is it?” 

I pointed to my nose. 

He got up and walked away. 

Maybe if he would have started his comment with “Don’t take offense, but…” I wouldn’t have gotten upset. 

Oh, who am I kidding?

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