Author Topic: when someone pretends to be offended  (Read 3445 times)

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AllTheThings

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when someone pretends to be offended
« on: January 07, 2013, 01:31:04 PM »
How would you respond to a person that you strongly suspect is just pretending to be offended for attention, to embarrass you, or to cause some kind of trouble?

Ex: Someone tells you that something you said or did offended them, but they themselves have recently done the same thing.

Or they just seem to get offended about everything you say, but don't have a problem when others do the same thing.

Or they have a history of taking things out of context and getting angry about it.

Such a person is probably more likely to confront you loudly.

Assuming that outright not speaking to them ever again isn't an option, how would you respond to this? Would you apologize anyway just in case they are offended for real this time? Or apologize just to get rid of them? Or would you actually call them out and tell them that you have noticed what is going on, and that you think they are just doing this for attention?

bopper

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Re: when someone pretends to be offended
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 01:38:04 PM »
This is too general...if someone is offended at what you say, and not others, then they have some sort of issue with you.
Generally there is some way to get away from them.
If not, you have to not let them get to you.

"I will make note that you are offended by X, and will make sure to note it again the next time you or Others bring it up."

TurtleDove

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Re: when someone pretends to be offended
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 01:55:51 PM »
I think we need more information, but generally I would do the "I'm sorry you were offended - certainly not my intent."  Dependeding on the situation I might call out the inconsistencies in the person's behavior and "offended" status.  Mostly, though, I would refuse to engage with such a person. Among my biggest pet peeves are people who are constantly offended, and yes, looking for offense.  Even when someone is trying to offend me, it rarely works, because I simply don't care about the opinions of people who don't like me for whatever reason.

AllTheThings

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Re: when someone pretends to be offended
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 02:04:48 PM »
I think we need more information, but generally I would do the "I'm sorry you were offended - certainly not my intent."  Dependeding on the situation I might call out the inconsistencies in the person's behavior and "offended" status.  Mostly, though, I would refuse to engage with such a person. Among my biggest pet peeves are people who are constantly offended, and yes, looking for offense.  Even when someone is trying to offend me, it rarely works, because I simply don't care about the opinions of people who don't like me for whatever reason.

This post isn't really about any situation in particular, but I do know people who do this a lot. Most of them are unfortunately family, which means I can't avoid them completely unless I am willing to stop seeing other relatives who I like. The last time I can remember that someone did this to me personally was when my grandmother got angry at me for saying "what the hell?" in her presence even though she herself says this all the time. My dad called her out on it for me, so I didn't actually have to do anything in that situation.

CluelessBride

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Re: when someone pretends to be offended
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 02:11:04 PM »
Without specifics this can be a hard one to answer. There are a ton of things that are okay when one person does them, but not okay when someone else does them because of the relationship.

For example, lets say I'm at work and I do something silly/stupid but not harmful.  I can say "Oh, I'm such an idiot!"  My work-BFF could also say, "Ha, you are such an idiot!". But if my boss or another random co-worker who I don't really interact with were to say "Ha, you are such an idiot!" I would find it inappropriate and possibly hurtful and offensive depending on the tone.

Because I'm allowed to tease myself. My friends can tease me. But if we don't have a teasing relationship, then its more mean spirited.


It's also possible that something is okay going one direction, but not okay going the other direction. Like it would be acceptable for my boss to address me about my wardrobe as it pertained to establishing a dress code, because he gets to set the dress code. But it wouldn't be okay for me to address him about his wardrobe (barring extreme circumstances), because he gets to set the dress code.

And finally, sometimes things are similar, but not the same. Different tones, slight differences in phrasings, substituting apple for orange - these things can often make a big difference on if something is okay or offensive.

So the first step is being really honest with yourself about whether it's really the same or not. And also about whether it is/could be offensive.

ETA: saw your update. I think saying "what the hell" is a great example of something that can be okay or not okay depending on the circumstances. Said angrily to someone vs. said generally at the cosmos. Said in front of young children vs just adults. Now, if all things are equal it's also a small enough thing that you could probably just shrug it off. Or look confused and say "but Grandma, I learned it from you!"

bah12

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Re: when someone pretends to be offended
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 02:13:39 PM »
I think there are all sorts of reason why someone may seem hypocritical about being offended...where sometimes they are and sometimes they aren't.  These can range anywhere from having a personal issue with you to not holding themselves to the same standard.  And how I handle it would depend on the specific incident and my relationship with that person. 

A good rule of thumb is that if a statement or action could be offensive, regardless if the person I'm saying it to has said or done the same thing, then I try to refrain.  In other words, hold yourself to a high standard, even if others wouldn't.  If you're talking about someone that gets offended at everything you say and do, regardless of what it is, then it's a personal issue and should be addressed as one.

Jovismom

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Re: when someone pretends to be offended
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2013, 02:20:25 PM »
I would examine my own behavior and if I was honestly sure that Iíd done nothing offensive then Iíd let her umbrage slide off me like water off a duck.  You say you canít avoid them so just be coolly polite.  If the person starts lecturing Iíd just excuse myself and remove myself from the area.  I donít play games and I refuse to engage with people who do.  Iím also not going to offer even a token apology if I have nothing to apologize for.

Morticia

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Re: when someone pretends to be offended
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2013, 02:34:40 PM »
I knew someone who was very controlling, and taking offence at nothing was his stock in trade. It kept his victims off-balance, and afraid to say anything wrong (or almost anything at all). Really, if possible, avoiding people like this is the best strategy. Otherwise, yes, water off a duck.
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JenJay

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Re: when someone pretends to be offended
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2013, 02:49:53 PM »
I had a coworker like that. I tried a couple of times to explain that he'd misunderstood me, realized he wanted to be offended, dropped it and took care not to talk to him again unless I had to.

citadelle

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Re: when someone pretends to be offended
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2013, 04:16:23 PM »
Is the action or statement actually offensive? Would a "reasonable person" be offended? If so, then I do think it is best to refrain.

For example, in some circles, "blonde jokes" may be deemed hilarious, but they are still offensive under a reasonable person's definition.*

*If you disagree that "blonde jokes" are offensive, let's not debate it here.

Jeremy

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Re: when someone pretends to be offended
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2013, 04:31:35 PM »
I normally reply with "duly noted", then go and talk to somebody else.  I know a few people like this, and try to avoid discussing anything but the weather with them.  They're not very pleasant to be around.

Lynn2000

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Re: when someone pretends to be offended
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2013, 05:17:21 PM »
I like CluelessBride's examples. There are so many situations this encompasses that it's hard to give specific advice.

I think if you suspect the person is just pretending to be offended to get a rise out of you or to get attention, the best thing to do is to ignore them. Continue with your conversation as if they haven't spoken; change the subject; talk to someone else; leave the room if they won't stop bringing it up. Don't give them the attention/reaction they're looking for.

If you want to have a longer conversation about it, you could go with, "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't think you would be offended by that because I've heard you say it so many times/Cousin Bert was repeatedly saying it in front of you yesterday and you didn't seem offended." Say this in a sincere tone, not defensive, with an expectant ending--if they have a legitimate reason to be offended by this particular instance, this is their chance to explain the nuance to you. And if they're just grumping, and don't have a legitimate reason, maybe they will feel uncomfortably put on the spot, as they should if they're going to chastise you for no reason.
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LilacRosey

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Re: when someone pretends to be offended
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2013, 05:20:12 PM »
I don't understand why someone would lie about something like that if I offend someone I feel bad and apologize!, LilacRosey

AllTheThings

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Re: when someone pretends to be offended
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2013, 05:46:15 PM »
I like CluelessBride's examples. There are so many situations this encompasses that it's hard to give specific advice.

I think if you suspect the person is just pretending to be offended to get a rise out of you or to get attention, the best thing to do is to ignore them. Continue with your conversation as if they haven't spoken; change the subject; talk to someone else; leave the room if they won't stop bringing it up. Don't give them the attention/reaction they're looking for.

If you want to have a longer conversation about it, you could go with, "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't think you would be offended by that because I've heard you say it so many times/Cousin Bert was repeatedly saying it in front of you yesterday and you didn't seem offended." Say this in a sincere tone, not defensive, with an expectant ending--if they have a legitimate reason to be offended by this particular instance, this is their chance to explain the nuance to you. And if they're just grumping, and don't have a legitimate reason, maybe they will feel uncomfortably put on the spot, as they should if they're going to chastise you for no reason.

I really like this idea. It allows you to not bow down to people's attention grabbing antics while still allowing for the possibility that there is a reasonable explanation.

AllTheThings

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Re: when someone pretends to be offended
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2013, 05:47:26 PM »
I don't understand why someone would lie about something like that if I offend someone I feel bad and apologize!, LilacRosey

Some people really like attention or making themselves out to be a victim. I wanted to ask about other options because apologizing to someone who is out to cause problems will only encourage them.