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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

You have the right not to take it personally

This post began when I read Randy Cassingham’s post:

“Why is it that anyone thinks they’re entitled to go through life without ever being offended?”…

Anyone who is offended by someone wishing them a “Merry Christmas” needs to chill — just like anyone offended by wishes of “Happy Hanukkah” or “Fabulous Festivus” or whatever. And certainly no one should be offended by “Happy Holidays” as somehow being “anti-religious” since surely everyone knows what the origin of the word “holiday” is, right?! All of these wishes are someone saying something nice, so for someone to take offense and insist they “should” say something different is just being a jerk. …

…Saturday night I was wished Happy Solstice. Thank you! I’ve been wished Happy Hanukkah (thanks!), Merry Christmas (you too!), Merry Secularmas (heh! Thanks!), and more. Why should I be offended by someone being polite? I’ll go so far as to say those who choose to be offended by others being polite have a problem, not the people doing the greeting. The world would be a better place if we chose to appreciate differences, rather than be offended by them. What a boring world it would be if we were all the same.

During the holidays there is an increased ability to hear things that are well meaning inquiries into the state of your life “How’s your dissertation coming?” or inquiries into important, but embarrassing issues: “How’s the job search coming?”  In many cases (probably not all) these are attempts to connect with friends and family they don’t see often on some level beyond asking about sports and the weather. Hard as it may be, they should probably be taken as expressions of interest (but not answered if you don’t want to).

So just chill. It’s –1 degrees out now in Chicago, so it should be easy.