You're offended? Well that's your own fault!

Nearly every week I am involved in some kind of disagreement about something or other. This is not surprising as I have many strong and different views and opinions that not everyone agrees with. But believe it or not I relish and even cherish these debates and disagreements. However, what does annoy me greatly during these disagreements is when some pompous, self righteous, self appointed, guardian of online morality and political correctness claims to be ‘offended’ at something I’ve said or how I’ve said it.
Well to put it mildly I am bloody tired of these complaints, and I want to say here for the record that if you are offended during any disagreement we have, or anything you see me say, or anything you see or hear on social media or the internet it is entirely YOUR own fault, and really you need to take a long hard look at yourself.
The usual complaints I get from some ‘snowflakes’ is about my tone, my language, or my so called lack of lack of respect. Well tough. The fact is that not everyone comminucates or expressess themselves the same, and it would be very boring if we did. Language and communication is vastly diverse, wonderfully broad, and is based and formed on cultural, environmental, and personal factors. Deal with it.
However, more often than not these crys of offence by the ‘powder puffs’ are often only an attempt to divert attention away from the point being discussed. Usually those who claim offence disagree with my views and want me to change them, when I dont they get offended or want me to shut up.
If someone claims to be offended it should never divert the discussion away from what is being discussed and it should NEVER, EVER be assumed that the offended party is correct, has won the argument, 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 people choose to make far too quickly, far too easily. I dont offend easily if at all, go ahead try it, many have and continue to do so. They will try to illicit a response or reaction with some comment, jibe or even personal insult. This usually just tends to amuse me. But don’t get me wrong sometimes it can piss me off, especially its from some pretentious and obnoxious guru or so called expert, but their attempts me never offend me. The way I look at it is if I take offence then these knob heads have the upper hand, and I will never let them have that.
To state you are offended during a discussion, debate, or even a disagreement is irrelevant and meaningless, it adds nothing to your argument. Stating you are offended actually demonstrates that you are incapable of controlling your own emotions and so expect others to do it for you.
I have had, and will continue to get many people tell me I have offended them. Usually I find it comes from those so called authority who really should know better. These claims used to throw me from my chain of thought and usually stop the discussion in its tracks. This is exactly what the so called offended person wants.
Well it doesn’t happen anymore. If someone is offended by anything I have said, or how I have said it, I tend to ignore it and continue to argue the point at issue. This may appear harsh and uncaring, its not, its the rules of debate.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 ignored. Respect is a two way street, and most who say I should show them respect, usually have little towards me.
Being able to disagree with someone without being offended can be tough, and it takes time to develop a thick skin. But once you can it can help you progress enormously as it means 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 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 person in the discussion just won’t follow the rules and reverts to the good ol’ logical fallacies and ad hominem attacks. So what do you do? Well, first congratulate yourself for winning the argument, then point out to the other party how they have failed to follow the rules of discussion and how this is now the end of debate/discussion. If they persist try to ignore them which can be difficult, but usually most soon get bored and disappear. Failing that there is always the block or mute button on most social media sites.
So I hope my experience of online disagreements and dealing with those who have been offended 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 may feel yourself becoming offended, either by me or anyone else, that you will pull yourself together, get a grip, and try to continue to discuss the point at issue.
As always, thanks for reading



  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
    To: [email protected]

  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.

    • Thanks for your comments and, if and pedant does complain about my spelling/ grammar, I simply will not take offence, There are many more important issues than that!

  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.

  8. Crockers rules. Thanks for posting these I have not been exposed to them before. My thoughts…in this post truth era when people make decisions based on their own opinion and how they feel about something rather than the facts, or logic, a true discussion or debate is hard to come by. One can hear it in the contemporary vernacular “I feel like….” , ” It feels like….” People seem to place so much stock in how they feel.

  9. My favourite discussion with religious door knockers…
    1. Them: “Christ is true, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah… “.
    2. Me: “Nope, it’s not true”.
    3. Them: “Blah, blah, blah, blah… “.
    4. Me: “Nope, it’s not true”.
    5. repeat steps 3 and 4 until either side gives up.

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