Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

If a person says something and another person hears it and takes offense, or feels insulted, for whatever reason, is it always the speaker's fault?

Asked by Dutchess_III (45307points) February 13th, 2019
25 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

Even if the hearer takes offense because they completely misunderstood what the speaker was saying, is it still the speaker’s fault that the hearer has been offended?

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chyna's avatar

Do you really want to go there @Dutchess?

KNOWITALL's avatar

No. Miscommunication is very common, it’s no one’s fault per se, unless they intentionally tried to cause offense. It happens here all the time, we’re online, can’t see facial expressions or verbal inflections, so I try to clarify before I get upset.

ragingloli's avatar

Offence is taken, not given.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sometimes it’s meant to be given.

rebbel's avatar

If I feel offended, I try too figure out if I understood it correct.
If I eavesdropped I can be feeling offended, but can’t act on it.

snowberry's avatar

These days it’s quite fashionable to become offended at people you don’t like. The news is full of it and some people are starting to try to enact laws against causing offense against other people. That’s stupid, and just plain nuts.

Life is too short to allow other people to ruin my life. Therefore I choose to go through life unoffended. I choose it, rather than choosing to be offended. It’s a lot more fun and a lot less stressful.

ucme's avatar

The offended person is always at fault, grow a pair you precious little thing.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@snowberry Agreed but progress can be painful. It should level out after 2020. Maybe.

kritiper's avatar


elbanditoroso's avatar

It is practically NEVER the speaker’s fault. It is the fault of the listener (the one who is offended). People choose to be offended.

Demosthenes's avatar

No, it is not. If the hearer misunderstood, they should acknowledge that misunderstanding rather than double down on it.

If the issue is not a misunderstanding, then the speaker might want to understand why what they said offended the hearer, and the two can go from there because it can get complicated (say the speaker used an offensive term but didn’t know it was offensive, or say the speaker did know it was an offensive term and considered that someone might get offended, but didn’t care, etc.)

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I am so agreeing with you all. Sometimes the speaker actually means to offend, but I think “offense” is mostly caused by misunderstandings. But, then, there are some people who seen to live for misunderstandings to happen or something.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Insults can certainly be deliberate. 10 minutes of random reading here should bare out the truth of this.

trailsillustrated's avatar

No. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Perhaps said speaker needs to listen more, talk less.

Yellowdog's avatar

@trailsillustrated Actually things get SUCKED into a vacuum, but the rest of your point (the speaker should listen more, talk less) is excellent. People should be more empathetic and think first.

In high school journalism, radio broadcasting, and even in scouts, we were taught to be very careful about how to address certain topics and avoid controversy or offense if its just for sensationalism. In college, we were taught that controversy and offense sells newspapers

ragingloli's avatar

Now that is just PC Snowflake talk.

jca2's avatar

I think some people are just looking to get offended. I just saw it on the “vegetarian” thread. One person said they’re a vegetarian but they eat fish and sometimes turkey on holidays. Then when it was pointed out that they’re not actually a vegetarian, they got offended and upset.

seawulf575's avatar

Unless there was tone with the statement or it was so poorly worded, offense is not warranted. Communications is a two-way street. People take offense because they want to, not because it was meant. When someone says something to me, if I take offense, I first give a moment’s pause to determine if offense is warranted.

seawulf575's avatar

So with all the votes here that the listener is usually at fault, how do we explain all the outrage in the news all the time that someone used the wrong gender pronoun or some other equally innocuous gaffe?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, the other day I got into brief disagreement with a young lady on Fb via PM who was insisting that HPV was a form of cancer. I explained that it was a virus, and the virus can cause the cancer. Boy, did she get pissed! Her aunt is an oncologist so she (the girl) knows everything. She called me a liar and a fool and told me to go to medical school! She meant to insult.

snowberry's avatar

@Dutchess_III Right. She meant to insult, but just because that’s what she meant, you didn’t have to receive it. You could have told yourself that she’s so emotionally compromised that she goes around making an idiot of herself all over the place. She probably does too! I don’t think I’m far off the track on this one.

Aethelwine's avatar

So with all the votes here that the listener is usually at fault, how do we explain all the outrage in the news all the time that someone used the wrong gender pronoun or some other equally innocuous gaffe?

This is where the speaker comes into play, @seawulf575. Some people intentionally misgender others because they don’t understand and don’t want to understand. They are adamant that there are only two genders: penis and vagina. God doesn’t make mistakes. I will be offended by this because it is intentional and harmful. If a person makes an honest mistake, like I do at times by accidentally misgendering my child, there should be no offense taken.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Not necessarily, but one should always bear responsibility for their words.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@snowberry of course that’s what I did. She was a silly girl. Not worth wasting any emotion of any kind on. I thought she’d be glad to hear that a rumor that someone from Mexico actually developed a cure for HPV was true. She was not glad. She had a need to be outraged everyday and she lost her shit.

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