It is not difficult to become offended by what we hear – or imagine – are insults directed at our person, particularly because as humans our diversity means that different things piss off different people. Words and gestures in one culture may mean something positive, encouraging. In other customs the same words could be curses. It pays in delicate situations to know which words not to use – to hold your tongue when you are unsure of how your words will be interpreted – as much as it is helpful to speak openly when you know that certain words must be heard.
There are those who find swearing insulting to their ears. There are those that find piety to be a violation. Others cannot abide defiant women, advocating a woman’s submission because it demonstrates ‘respect’. It is interesting that some people find insulting the idea of outspoken women, as if a woman’s word cannot be taken as seriously as a man’s in a man’s world. Rudeness, on the other hand, is insulting to everyone, on every level. Usually, rudeness is not necessary – it is a choice, a kind of thoughtlessness. Like it is a choice not to respond to it.
The way it usually goes is that this one insults that one, and that one retaliates. Anger is generated. Then this one spits more insults and that one impacts them. Anger intensifies. That one then vents again with a poisonous diatribe in an attempt to annihilate this one. Tempers flare, faces rage. And then with a concerted effort one side – either this one or that one – decides not to respond to the provocation. In a moment, the conflict is over. No matter your own anger, your fury, your hatred – you cannot force a disciplined mind to fight.