• Christopher Tanner

“I’m Offended” An Overused and Useless Statement


No topic, when handled correctly, is above mockery and ridicule. For some reason there are a lot of people in society today that believe “I’m offended by that” is a valid point, as if the other person should immediately stop what they are doing or saying based on disagreement alone. Being offended does not mean that one is right nor does it mean that others should stop what they are doing.  It is the last line of defense that people tend to use when they are unable to come up with valid reasons for their argument. It’s similar to people using faith as an argument for mythology. As comedian Louis C.K. said, “Offending people is a necessary and healthy act. Every time you say something that’s offensive to another person, you just caused a discussion. You just forced them to have to think.” Discussions are good for humanity; it’s how progress takes place. Sometimes people are going to be offended, but life goes on.

This does not mean that people should start running around doing whatever they can to offend people just because they enjoy hurting others feelings. It is important to note that there are many people out there that are like this. That is why it is important to present good ideas in a meticulous manner. As individuals it’s important for us to learn how to separate those with a negative intention from those with a positive one.  If one has a point to bring up, then do so, as long as there are good reasons for it. If someone disagrees then let a discussion take place. Each side has the opportunity to present their case and then let the facts of the matter speak for themselves. One cannot always worry about whether they are going to hurt other people’s feelings, especially when talking about issues on a large scale. Sometimes it is just going to happen, specifically when discussing issues such as human rights, because there is always an oppressed and an oppressor. That is why it is important for people to understand the difference between words that are intended to cause harm and words that are intended to create discussion.

“I’m offended” is often used in a passive-aggressive manipulative manner. It’s a phrase people often use when they want to keep the status quo, even if the status quo is not good for society. It is just another form of censorship, similar to people saying “Because I said so.” If something is truly offensive then give the reason as to why it is offensive. Simply being offended is not a good enough reason for someone to make accusations and demands. If there is not a good reason as to why they are offended then maybe it is time for them to look inward and see if there is anything internally that they could look at in a different way. (See more here.)


Life is tough. There is no way around this fact. So why then do so many people make life tougher on themselves? Being offended is a choice we make, not a physical reaction. Emotions are what we experience as a result of the actions we take and the environment we live in. Sometimes there are things beyond our control that have an effect on our emotional state. The one thing that we have control over is how we respond to those emotions. What purpose does being offended serve? How is the situation going to improve if one has already made the choice to withdraw from open and constructive discussion?

People often use the phrase “I’m offended” so they can avoid the difficult and turbulent internal struggle that will follow if the discussion continues to challenge their deeply held beliefs. Instead of peeling back the layers of these beliefs like a chef preparing onions for a stew, too many people would rather avoid the onions all together because of fear. Fear of what the layers may bring, fear of what the layers may say about them, and/or fear that they will not be able to handle the story the layers have to tell. How are we ever to grow as individuals if we choose to avoid things because we are afraid? What kind of examples are we setting for our children and the next generation? If we allow fear to control us individually, then how the hell can we ever expect humanity, a large collection of individuals, to learn, grow and improve?


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