Tuesday, March 16, 2010

No Offense

"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool." - Brigham Young

The older I get the more I see the wisdom of this quote. There is never really a good reason for getting offended. Excuses - yes. Reasons - not so much. Today I have two good reasons not to be offended by things that would normally seem a little rude.

First of all: I'm never inviting my blogging friends over to my house. There is a good reason for this, so you should not be offended:

Last night I dreamed that 5 or 6 of you came over to my house. The house was huge and old. The neighborhood was creepy and for some unknown reason there were about ten random relatives (who don't exist in real life but I knew them in the dream) in the same large reception room as I seated my friends in. This made chatting awkward.

But it doesn't matter how awkward talking would have been anyway because NOBODY was talking at all (except for the relatives who were across the room).

Instead, everyone was silently watching me as I balanced on a stool and straightened a painting on the wall (or I believe I was actually hammering something into the wall with a shoe, how dream-like). By the time I realized I had been doing this for many minutes I looked around to find that my blogging friends had left.

Then an hour or two later I found out that one of you had remained and had been sitting silently among the relatives. I only learned this when she got up to leave.

I think this dream comes from two sources. a) I really wish I could go to the Casual Blogger Conference, or more likely just meet up with some of you guys in an even more casual setting, and b) I am very aware that I am not a very conscientious hostess and it obviously weighs on my mind.

So that's why you shouldn't be offended if I never invite you over. That and also because I live a little too far away.
Normally when someone says they hate you it is at least a little unsettling. I've learned recently to not let it get to me. Here's why:

Recently Aaron started shouting, "I hate!" Whenever he's frustrated. Now hate is not a good thing, but up until recently it was just the expression of frustration, like when David was a little boy and got mad, he would say, "Alcohol!" as if it was a swear word. Same thing with Aaron and the "I hate!"

Recently he started adding nouns at the end. The first time he said, "I hate daddy!" I was a little shocked. Then the next day he said "I hate mommy!" We've been working with him to teach him that this is unkind and makes people sad and to find a different way to express his anger or frustration.

Still, I knew for sure today that I should never take it personally if Aaron ever says he hates me. Before his nap today he said, "I hate Sally!"

Sally is the cute girl car from the movie Cars. When my mom brought toy Mater, Lightning McQueen and Sally for David when she came last week, Aaron immediately fell in love with Sally. He pretty much declared her his own. He takes her everywhere. He definitely doesn't hate Sally.

Sally has been missing for almost 24 hours and he was frustrated that he couldn't have her with him during his nap. That's why he said, "Oh no! I can't find it! I hate Sally!"

And that's why I know "hate" doesn't mean "hate" to Aaron. It means, "oh dear!" (which he also says regularly).

And thus I am coming ever closer to not judging or being offended by people's actions or motives. You just never know why people say or do some things!


AndyPandyJackaDandy said...

You are so funny! I am going to remember this when my kids use that "H-word" and make myself feel better.

But seriously, being offended is so easy and also, so easy to avoid. My brother in law's favorite thing to say is "I wanna be rude" in place of when people say "I don't mean to be rude, but..." Because usually what you are about to say is rude, and just putting that before what your going to say doesn't really change that fact. Plus, it's way funnier.

Susan said...

I am soooo offended that you dreamt that your "family" was so terribly rude and difficult to have in the same room as your chosen blogging friends!! So offended I just have to say... I HATE!

(kiss that nephew for me! And the one who's disrupting your sleep just often enough to give you weirdy ol' dreams!)
p.s. I would so love to be witness to your terrible hostessing, and to have Aaron say "I hate Aunt Su" while I'm there!

Kimberly said...

What a crazy dream! And I don't care if you would just ignore me the whole time, I still want to come over. =D

And the offense thing has been weighing on my mind a lot lately. I figure I'm not going to get offended unless someone wants to offend me, but even then...why give them the power, eh? Good thoughts!

CaJoh said...

I don't think I get offended. And I think I understand your reasoning. I know that my wife would never want any company over other than those she knows very well.

I sometimes wish I could attend a conference, but always have to worry about how to pay for such an event.

I can't bring myself to believe anybody who says they Hate you. Frustrated, maybe, but not hate. So glad that you can see through the emotion and recognize that it is frustration and not anger or hate that motivates some people's words.

Thanks for sharing,

Alison Wonderland said...

My kids tell me they hate me on a pretty regular basis. I'm not saying that it's a good thing or that I encourage it but it also doesn't hurt my feelings (my pride maybe, that they're not obeying the previous requests that they not talk that way, but not my feelings.)

Melissa Bastow said...

I hammer nails in the walls with a shoe too!! At least I used to - back when all of my sunday shoes had those horrible hard, wide, cheapy heels on them that ALWAYS slid in the snow. Those heels were only good for one thing - hammering nails. I think this is why I always check for traction when I'm buying anyone shoes. My husband thinks I'm just weird; but no, you can see I'm clearly just traumatized by my childhood sunday shoe heels.

I'm not going to invite you to my house either - but mostly because I don't want to clean it. I wonder if it offends anyone that I don't think their visit is worth pulling a mop out for?

MelancholySmile said...

I love hearing about people's dreams-- they're so odd, and yet always seem to make sense on some level. Love the image of balancing on a stool while hammering something into the wall. I think I feel like that in every social situation in my life!

Kazzy said...

I have submitted my name as a volunteer at the CBC, since I am cheap. Now I need to decide if I will pay the 155 to attend if I don't get in as a volunteer.

I would love to see you there, but I know that is impossible.

The "hate" thing is funny!

charrette said...

LisAway! I've been gone for so long I didn't even realize you were back!

I'll just throw in a quote from my mother in law:
"If someone throws down an offense, don't pick it up!"

I also have a friend in our old ward who said it took her 50 years to figure out that most people don't usually intend to offend when they say something that comes across as a zinger to us. Realizing that their intentions were kinder generally softens the blow.

--Oh, and I love the funny words your kids say for swear words. (Although he might eventually want to substitute something for Hate...I'm glad you're giving him time and allowing him to figure that out on his own.)

Lara said...

The "alcohol" thing has me cracking up. Love it.

You are a wise, wise woman. And that doesn't offend me at all. :)

JustRandi said...

Seriously? If I ever come visit you in Poland I promise I do not want to sit around and stare at you in your drafty old dream living room.

I want you to show me your whole town!!