I don't say that to be mean. I say it because it was bound to happen. Sooner or later we [probably] all say things that may offend someone else, even if it wasn't our intention.
That's the case here. It was not my intent to offend. I didn't even know the other person was having a bad day. He was laughing and joking with the rest of us in the group.
FAAACTUH: I poke fun at myself, I kid around with others and sometimes I am a bit sarcastic. But my sarcasm isn't to be mean. And normally, I do it in an obvious way (or what I perceive as obvious) so that they know I am only kidding. Like I said, though. I can also take it. I figure if I dish it out, I HAVE to be willing to take it.
For example, typically when someone teases me, I usually reply with, "As if that's my only problem." I wasn't always so laid back. But I suppose I finally came to a realization that it is not worth it to get upset or easily offended over the little stuff. Besides, I learned life is a lot more funnier if I can laugh at myself. Not to say I never allow my feelings to get hurt. Because on occasion I have and on occasion I do; mostly when I am tired.
As far as joking around goes, I am a big proponent of knowing your audience. For example, I probably wouldn't be sarcastic during a job interview or a funeral or someplace where it would be inappropriate. And typically I only venture into that side of humor when I really know the person well. However, my [often mis-interpreted] humor can sometimes manifest itself if I am feeling anxious around certain people, especially if I feel like I do not fit in. It can also kick in as my way of dealing with someone who completely irritates me.
Anyway -- back to the incident. He was laughing and joking in the group and he made some funny comments, one after the other actually, that really set up some nice comebacks for the rest of us. I thought we were all engaging in banter. There wasn't anything in his demeanor that led me to believe he was feeling anything but enjoyment.
Then -- 2 nights later -- in a text he tells me that *I* made him "sad". That he was feeling like the group was "kicking him while he was down." Immediately I said sorry. I told him that I was sorry we offended him and that if we would have known how he felt, we would have left him out of the joking around bits. I thought that would be the end of it. But no.
He proceeded to go on and on about it. It got to the point wherein I felt like he was trying to make me feel guilty about the entire ordeal.
I finally explained that sometimes I use humor and sarcasm in a new setting when I am anxious or when I am with really good friends because we know each other well enough to take it. I wasn't trying to make an excuse, only explaining the situation. I couldn't figure out why he couldn't let it go after I had already apologized. I think by this point I had texted "I'm sorry" at least 2 more times, so a total of 3!
His response to my explanation was more or less a line of questioning regarding my relationship with God. He basically said I should be praying a minimum of 2 times per day and reading my scriptures daily and that God could help me overcome such unhealthy habits.
Yep. You read that right. Am I wrong to think he was trying to manipulate me into feeling like a bad person because I UNINTENTIONALLY offended him?!?!?! Good grief! Oh and FYI -- personality traits are not the same as bad habits.
Like, how in the world would he even know how often I prayed or studied?!?!?! I wanted to bob my head and retort, "You don't know me!"
Instead, I politely but firmly replied that while my level of faithfulness is not his business I value my relationship with God and feel that I am in a good place, doing the best I can in this moment of my life, especially with everything I've got going on. I further explained that I will not allow the power of my happiness to be given over to anyone, and that I have finally come to a point in my life wherein I love me!
Yep. Ain't no shame. I love the person I have become!
Not to say I never make a mistake and I have things I am always trying to improve upon. I believe we can always be learning something. But using humor as a way to cope with life is how I do. It is a part of me. I come from a long line of story-tellers and funny people. It's in my genes. Not.Even.Kidding. Not that I am always funny either. Just saying... it's who I am and I LIKE it.
So, NEWS FLASH: I will NOT apologize for being me.
I did offer this as a solution: "I think it would be best in the future if you speak up and tell us if something is bothering you and I will know from now on that you are sensitive to sarcasm and I will refrain from using it. I think this is the only way we can successfully be friends."
His response was that he was "ditching" me as a friend but that he just wanted to give me feedback on my friendship abilities first, "just like a teacher would critique you on your writing," he wrote.
WHAT.EVER. Dude... seriously? Let me fill you in on a little secret. I WANT feedback from my teacher. In fact I PAY for it -- with Tuition. It's my way of ASKING for it. I don't recall ASKING you for Friendship feedback. Plus -- have you seen my FB friend list? Not exactly a shortage in the friend department. Not bragging. Just sayin'...
Oh - and one more thing... He was so bent on trying to "punish me" and make me feel guilty, that he couldn't even see how his accusations about me and my religious faithfulness might be offensive.
I think about all of the times I have been offended in my life. Most of the time I never even bring it up to the other person, because after I take some time to cool down I ask myself what their intentions were. And more often than not, I come away believing that people do not intend to offend.
People are just people. We all have different personalities. Some appreciate sarcasm while others do not. Some want to coddle and be coddled while others (ME) find it smothering. Some like to be blunt and to the point while others find that too harsh and mean. We have different personalities, ergo the likelihood of any one of us offending someone else exists.
Only once did I feel like someone was just lashing out to be mean and she continued to do it over and over. I finally called her on it. She ended up apologizing, for which I thanked her, and then - here is the key - I let it go!
Bottom line. I believe that if we get offended, it's our choice to take offense. Often times the knee-jerk reaction is not the best path. My knee-jerk reaction would have been to tell this guy that he had some nerve acting all self-righteous and how dare he question something so personal to me and who does he think he is and isn't he just the pot calling the kettle black, after all he just offended me!!! But I didn't say those things. I am no longer irritated and I do not hold grudges.
Truth be told, I think he was feeling like crap cuz things in his life aren't going his way at the moment. I suppose he needed someone to take it out on, someone to blame. Might as well be me, right? I will say this though... I do not like drama. And Man-Drama is even worse. Bleh.
So where does that leave us? To be or not to be offended? The choice is yours.