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Be slow to be offended

Wednesday one of my daughters flew in from Seattle for a job interview in northeast Iowa. That made us a family of three sharing two vehicles for several days. She wanted to use my van Thursday for errands and to meet a friend for lunch. Wednesday evening I told her she could drive me to work but that I had a 9 a.m. meeting so I needed to be on time.

She was still on Pacific Time and had dealt with a canceled flight on her way to Iowa, so I wasn’t surprised that she was still asleep when I was ready to go to work. I drove to work. At 9 a.m., my cubemates made no move to go to our meeting. I asked why. We were notified yesterday we don’t need to attend, they said. One suggested I knew because I responded to the cancellation email. I asked her to look at the email and see if I was a recipient or had responded; I wasn’t and didn’t.

Being offended is often an initial reaction
Should my daughter be offended because I didn’t wake her up?
Should I be offended because I didn’t receive the email canceling the meeting?
Should my daughter be offended because she had an unexpected 5-hour layover in Denver?
Should I be offended because one of my coworkers thought I knew our meeting was canceled?

We were probably offended in varying degrees. The crucial question is what did we do? Being offended can lead to anger triggered by stress, frustration, fear, annoyance, resentment or unrealistic expectations.

Be slow to be offended with these steps:
Build a sense of self-worth
You are more easily offended when you feel insecure. Listen attentively to advice, complaints and criticism rather than looking for someone to blame.
Look for the intent
When you feel offended, think about the other person’s intentions. Frequently, you’ll discover the actions were an oversight or offered in an effort to help.
Respond slowly with reconciliation rather than revenge
It is easy to react quickly to offenses. The conversation can escalate from one caustic remark to another. Civility doesn’t mean you put up with rude behavior. You may want to tell the offender how the action made you feel. You don’t need to escalate the situation by involving other people.

Judge each situation carefully
Everyone feels offended at times, but not dealing effectively with your feelings can create relationship problems at work and with family and friends. Is a response necessary?

When you let emotions dictate a hasty response, you relinquish control of yourself and of the situation. Be slow to be offended.


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Should you be offended I didn't get up in time to take you to work? I felt bad that I didn't even attempt to get up.

As for the flight, I padded in extra time. Some of the other people on my flight didn't. They scheduled everything close and so they missed the wedding, cruise or meeting they were flying to.

The root of offence is often not meeting expectations. I try to keep inmind my options so I don't feel offended and without alternatives when things don't go as planned.