i used to take everything personally. easily offended, i would cry if someone looked at me cross-eyed. even at work. it was embarrassing having to excuse myself in a choked voice, hurry to the ladies’ room, lock myself in a stall and muffle my sobs at this or that look someone gave me or something they said about my personality, my height, my tone of voice, my naivety, my family… it was exhausting.
relief came when i was about 21. during one of these “choking on my tears” sessions, a co-worker told me, “wendy, you better learn to develop a thick skin, or you won’t make it very far in this business.” of course at the time i was working for an a/c company, where most of my co-workers were men, and while they were usually respectful, several had criminal records and the personalities to match, all were hard-drinking, and as salty as sailors. but i took that advice to heart.
i slowly learned that most people aren’t out to offend me, the world DOESN’T revolve around me, most people DON’T care about my feelings, and i CAN ignore the cussing and swearing. i developed a thick-skin, learned to assert myself, and when i stopped to think about it, realized that my offense meter is actually pretty high – i’m not easily offended…unless i choose to be – usually when people misuse proper grammer and spelling.
what freedom! of course, along with this realization i learned that many other people have low offense meters…and my straight-forward, assertive personality lays them out like swatted flies.
i do believe that growing up means things like developing a thicker skin, understanding that the world doesn’t revolve around you, and realizing that most people (myself included) do not (well, not usually, anyway) sit around dreaming up ways to offend others. most of us have better things to do with our time. such as hold down a job, raise a family, attempt to find our way out of the maze of consumer debt, and debate politics and religion.
while i try to employ a certain amount of tact (within reason – MY reason) in my own speech, i refuse to try intuiting what’s going to offend others, apologize for my own thick-skin, or my “call ’em as i sees ’em” approach.
so grow up, get a life of your own, develop some common sense and a thicker skin, act like the adult your birth certificate alleges you are, and quit trying to make everyone around you as miserable as you seem to be.