Hey, I take offense to that!
August 1, 2008 9:20 AM Subscribe
Which communication styles can I use to avoid offending people unintentionally?
posted by sixcolors to human relations (21 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
For someone who rarely namecalls, brags, yell, or use a lot of sarcasm...I somehow offend a lot of people. The two most common complaints is that I'm too "curt" and make insensitive comments. I really take issue about being too curt. I don't understand what's bad about giving short and straightforward answers to questions. I really dislike giving long answers, and I like to keep my communication simple, but I want to find a way to do so that will be more welcomed by others.
As for the insensitivity issue, I don't know where to start. I think there's some things getting in my way of communicating more sensitively.
1. Not having the experience of interacting with many different types of people, when I was younger. I find it hard to adjust to different norms and values, or worse, sometimes I'm not even aware of them. An example, a few years ago, I really offended someone (person A) by telling another person (B) that they should apply to person A's college because it's less selective. According to person A, I was implying that her college was somehow inferior. I understand how it could be taken that way, but I what meant was person A's college had reasonable admission standards and affordable tuition. Where I come from, "less selective" means opportunity, not inferiority. Person A was raised around a lot of high-achievers and valued competition, me not so much. The first time I started interacting with those type of people on a regular basis was grad school, which is quite recent. But, that's just one example, I get into similar confrontations, with different types of people.
2. I'm not very emotional, and I almost never get offended. I was offended by something I read on another discussion board day before yesterday, that was the first time I've been offened in three or four months. With most people it seems like a daily thing. It's really difficult to understand what's offensive and what's not, when I'm really hard to offend, myself.