What does it mean to offend another or others? To offend by definition is to cause someone or a group of people to feel upset, irritated, annoyed or resentful about your spoken, written words and/or actions. It can also be deemed an illegal act. Some offenses are accidental and unintended, while others are direct and intentional. Whichever way it comes, it is wrong, unpleasant, improper and wounds the individual or group that receives it. In this article, I explain various ways you can avoid being offensive. Everyone throughout their lifetime have and will offend others unintentionally or intentionally. This article focuses mainly on how you can significantly reduce incidences of warranted offenses and how to rectify them when they do occur. You cannot always control what offends others, but you can more importantly take some necessary steps to be more knowledgeable and perceptive on what constitutes an offense and how to relate to others in a morally sound and socially acceptable manner. As well as, you can correct situations where you have knowingly or unknowingly offended others once you become aware of the offenses.
Here are some elements that are deemed outright warranted offenses:
Speaking verbally or in written form in a way that does not take into consideration the other party's feelings. Relating and imposing your own opinions and feelings about the other party's character or behavior. Speaking or writing in a hostile, derogatory and disrespectful manner to the individual. Lying to or about the person in or out of their presence. Using profane words to curse at the individual. Also raising your voice while speaking and making bold/highlighted words in written form to depict anger, demean and/or interrogate another. Furthermore, asking questions that are unfair and unjust to manipulate the other person's responses, decisions or choices. Talking negatively about the individual in front of others or when the individual is absent through spoken or written form. Lastly, but not least, when the person is speaking - constantly speaking over them by interrupting and not allowing them to complete their sentences and thought.
Listening is very subtle and yet can be used as another impacting offence. For example, you listen to the other party only to hear what is necessary to prove your point and in turn interpret what was said by giving your own meaning to it. Also walking away suddenly and not listening to the individual when being spoken to. In other instances, turning a partially deaf ear to the other person when he or she says things that you disagree with. Another offense is listening to only respond and answer questions that you think are worthy of answering and deem fitting. Last but not least, having other kinds of selective hearing - claiming not to understand the other party's language or reasoning, etc.
Acting in offence comes in many forms such as using body languages and expressions that stir up anger and annoys the individual; Also ignoring the person's presence by pretending that they are not around or talking to you. Acting in offence can also be transcended to a deeper level of offence whereby you can be classified as committing an illegal act such as denying the individual of their rights and entitlements; outright stealing from the person and lying about it. Making the person a victim to satisfy your own appetite and desires. Hitting the person to get their attention and cooperation. The list goes on and on. The bottom line is offences should never go unnoticed. One needs to be in tune with how he or she communicates and relates to others. The other party, once mentally stable will - most of the time show signs of an unfavorable response immediately or a little while later when an offence has been committed.
What should be done once one becomes aware that he or she has committed an offence to another?
You should first, take the time to understand and rectify the offence by answering a few questions: Who was offended? What is the offence? Why was the party offended? What spoken, written words and actions are needed to correct the situation? Once these questions are thoroughly answered, you should move on to address the situation by acknowledging your wrong. Then state your understanding of the offense you committed and humbly apologize to the wounded party. You should also explain to the hurting party that you have made a conscious decision to change and will refrain from committing such offence again. Next, compensate the individual - if such compensation is warranted. Finally, be consistent from there on to develop a better track record of conduct. The ultimate goal is to hopefully restore trust and mend the relationship or to empower the other party to move on peacefully without holding a record of wrong that you committed.