You’re offended? Well it’s your own fault!

Nearly every week I am involved in some kind of disagreement about something or other. This is not surprising, I have many differing views and opinions that not everyone agrees with. This is perfectly fine. I cherish, relish, and enjoy the debate and discussion these disagreements bring. However, what often happens and annoy’s me greatly during these disagreements is some self appointed guardian of online morality or political correctness complains to be offended.

Well I am sick and tired of these complaints, and I want to say here for the record that if you are offended during any disagreement we have it is entirely YOUR own fault, and you need to take a long hard look at yourself and your morals a little more closely.

The usual complaint of offence is often about a so called of lack of respect, or the tone of conversation, or langauge used. However, more often than not claims and out crys of offence are simply an attempt to divert attention away from the point at issue being discussed. If someone claims offence it should not divert the discussion away from whats being discussed and it should NEVER, EVER be assumed that the offended party is therefore correct or has won the arguement, or that they deserve an apology, or even any recognition of their so called distress. As the late, great orator Christopher Hitchens said…

Being offended is a choice, and one that many choose to make far too quickly, far too easily. I dont offend easily if at all, go ahead try it, many have tried and continue to do so. They will try to illicit a response or reaction with some stupid comment, jibe or even personal insult. This usually just tends to amuse me, it can at times piss me off if its from some certain pretentious and obnoxious individuals, and I do occasionally retaliate to them. But their attempts never offend me, if I take offence then these knob heads have the upper hand, and I will never let these fuckers have that.

To state you are offended during a disagreement or any discussion is completely irrelevant and meaningless, it adds nothing. I have had these tactics of others being offended employed on me many times, usually by those in so called authority who really should know better, and it used to put me off and throw me from my chain of thought and usually stop  the discussion/disagreement. This is exactly what the so called offended person/party wants. Well it doesn’t happen anymore. If someone is offended by anything I have said, or how I have said it, I don’t care that much, and I will continue to argue the point at issue. This may appear harsh and uncaring, its not, its just the rules of discussion.

Comments like “I don’t like your tone” or “I think you have a terrible attitude” even the good old fashioned “you need to show some respect” are simply ignored and disregarded. It must be remembered that respect is a two way street, and most who say I should show them some respect, usually have fuck all respect towards me.

I have now learnt the rules of debate and I am now able to stick to them, more or less. Sure I’ve made some mistakes in the past, losing my temper and attacking others, as well as falling foul of the logical rules of debate. But I have learnt from these. Being able to disagree without being offended can be tough, and it takes time to develop a thick skin, but once you can, it helps you progress enormously. It can mean that you learn from those you disagree with the most, and I disagree with a lot of people.

A tool that has helped me with this is Crockers Rules. By following these rules it means you agree to be succinct, direct and blunt in the exchange of information. It means you accept that frankness, brevity and even perceived rudeness is sometimes necessary for the exchange of information, especially on social media, where nuances and tone are hard if not impossible to convey or interpret. When two people with different views/ideas debate following Crockers Rules it can be a quick and frantic exchange that to the outsider it can appear rude, harsh and argumentative.

However, using Crockers Rules is not an excuse to act like an arsehole all the time, or to deliberately go out of your way to be direct, blunt or try to offend someone just for the hell of it. I would also say that where you dont have to use Crokers Rules such as in face to face discussion then don’t use them.

If you are having a discussion with someone with differing views then the common rules of debate should always be followed, and the logical fallacies avoided. Below are a couple of pictures to remind you of these….

But there are times when the other party in the discussion just won’t follow the rules and soon reverts to the good ol’ logical fallacies and ad hominem attacks. So what do you do?

Well, first of all congratulate yourself for winning the argument, and tell the other party how they have failed to follow the rules of discussion and thats that, end of debate/discussion, move on. However, if they persist with more fallacy’s, try to ignore them which can be difficult, but usually they soon get bored and disappear. If however they don’t, I usually find a quick sharp ‘will you fuck off‘ followed by explaining how you will not be wasting your time or energy in any further with them usually does the trick. Failing that there is always the block or mute button on most social media sites.

So I hope my experience of online disagreements helps you avoid some of the logical fallacy’s as well as the usual tactics that others can employ with you. I also hope that the next time you feel yourself becoming offended, either by me or anyone else, that you will now pull yourself together, act like a adult, and try to continue to discuss the point at issue.

As always, thanks for reading



15 thoughts on “You’re offended? Well it’s your own fault!

  1. Adam, great post! Love the diagram. In my experience, #1 is becoming a bigger problem all of the time. We seem to have a problem working through a series of issues systematically. When making a point about issue #1, the other party will often interrupt to bring up issue #2. I have recently learned to patiently listen while the other party talks about issue #2, then as gently as possible, go back to issue #1. “Can we talk about that in a minute? I am not sure we resolved issue #1, did we?”

  2. Thanks Very much Adam

    I’m taking your advice on board and bored of play arguing games, they are not for me. I have better things to do which are my patients and family.

    Please take care and thanks for your hard work.

    All the very best to you and your family.


    Yui, very happy simple physiotherapist😄

    Date: Sun, 20 Sep 2015 14:32:05 +0000

  3. I think your rules of engagement for a debate are very fair. Not that my opinion necessarily counts of course.
    The main issue with debate is people being unable to differentiate between them as a person and their views.
    People find it very difficult not to think a disagreement or the loss of an argument is a slur on their character or even more serious, their intelligence. The latter often being related to ego.
    How many times do we see a debate stoop so low as to attack a person’s character or become pedantic. I am sure people will read your post above and notice your spelling of so has four o’s it. The pedant may use this at a later date.

  4. Having found this through the @massagefitmag I feel as if I’ve stumbled upon a gold mine of awesome! Thank you for posting this, I’m always interested in discussing topics with friends and classmates, maybe this can help guide some of the more sensitive topics.

  5. Interesting comments, especially about it being for the greater good of the discussion and the rules/logic of good debating. I wonder though… would you blame a patient for say believing that pain from stretching is a bad kind of pain?

    Health beliefs and what offends us are very similar – both are formed from the societal and family contexts to which a person is exposed, in addition to their own experiences. In the case of stretching it feels uncomfortable so they stop, in the case of online offence they feel upset/uncomfortable/as though the point of the conversation is lost on personal attack and therefore ask for it to be stopped or point out what is happening to end that feeling. Patients disengage if you don’t explain it because it hurts and they don’t believe it will make them better. Likewise, if you don’t stop and correct these beliefs – either with education/explanation in both cases or as far as an apology – people disengage, which would disrupt and ruin further chances of further discussions and debates.

    How do you stop this from happening and losing out on the variety of opinions and view points?

    • Hi Helen

      Good questions, of course I don’t blame patients for their beliefs right or wrong. I’m not that judgemental.

      If their beliefs are incorrect in line with the evidence or my clinical experience then challenging and changing them has to be done cautiously

      It’s not just exercise that needs graded exposure, but education also.

      Going in like a bull in a china shop judging and criticising is NOT what I do not what I suggest or recommend. But it must be remembered that critique is not the same as criticism



  6. there is never a good reason to be rude or cruel. If you have a good idea, a valid point, a relevant comment, then just make it. Yes it could be abrupt but abrupt is not rude. No one “must” be rude or mean. If you are it’s a mask for a weak or bad argument. If you offend someone because YOU ARE offensive it is YOUR fault not theirs. Own up and take responsibility for yourself. If someone takes Unnecessary offense just bc they don’t like your idea or simply disagree with you, they are being dishonest or they have a weak argument- they are wrong. In that case you still have no reason to be rude. Why? Your point is made and anyone really listening with an open mind will understand that.
    I’m sick of bullies claiming the “right” to be rude and offensive. No one has that right and it undermines any valid point you may be making. It is a crystal clear sign of a weak character.

    • You have misunderstood the point and message of this post.

      There will always be bullies, idiots and ignorant people out there. But you have a choice to be offended or not by this prats.

      You are right offending anyone just for the sake of it is not right or good, but I am NOT suggesting it insinuating this.

      Rather if someone does offend you, it’s YOUR choice to be offended. I’d rather not be called all the things I am daily, but it won’t stop, but it doesn’t offend or bother me anymore as I choose not to be



  7. In an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins said you may not change someones mind by calling them an Idiot but you might change the minds of the people listening in to the conversation. This strikes me as being very relevant in todays connected world where loads of people listen in without participating in the debate.
    Having said that, I think sometimes being called out as an idiot can change your mind.
    Being offended was certainly the slap with reality I needed. I had not long been qualified, when another Physio told me my favourite treatment du jour probably didn’t work for the reasons I thought it did – if it worked at all!. I conflated his critique of my treatment with a personal attack, and became extremely offended. I took offense although he didn’t say anything particularly offensive, I certainly wouldn’t be so precious now.
    But, he made me think, and over a period of time I came to realize he was right.
    The world needs more Adam Meakins’s because even if the PTosaurs do remain stuck in the Cretaceous there are the lurkers (like me) and the interested bystanders who read stuff like the ‘Dinosaur gate’ saga and use it as a learning opportunity. We can all see the appeal to authority, and bullying tactics, and failure to critically evaluate outdated modalities for what they are.
    Keep it up Adam.
    Ps – looking forward to seeing you in NZ for the shoulder course.

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