I've wrestled with how to reply to this, thought against replying, and decided it would eat me up if I didn't.
I agree with your philosophy RainbowGirl, awareness of what we say and how we say it is of paramount importance. The difficulty we have here, is that we do not know each other as well as we would like to think we do. No matter how much we try, it is nearly impossible to truly know someone whom you only 'see' by what they write on the internet. One cannot look into the eyes of their companion to see the reaction to one's words; nor can one judge another's reading ability to govern how s/he will read comments written.
I know I have offended people in here, I know others have offended me, but that is the way of life is it not? Are we talking about intentional rudeness? I think not. I think we are talking mostly about unintential comments or phrasings which may have the power to inadvertantly hurt someone else's feelings. Plus (Brad made a good point about this...) add to that the very real idea that we are also speaking of some overly sensitive people, who do indeed seem to get offended at the slightest remark that isn't flattering (is that not to be expected on a site dedicated to, and comprised of, artists?)
Am I to spend extra hours deciding whether or not to enter into a discussion on the forums for fear that what I have to say may offend someone? Am I to just quit responding completely? am I supposed to water down my responses so much that all I ever say is "nice job"?
If so, what then is the purpose of Passions? If I cannot feel at home here, say what is on my mind and in my heart, using the same social courtesies I would use in the real world, then what is the purpose?
Do I promote or condone rudeness? Certainly not.
Can I excuse unintential harshness? Absolutely. That is afterall a human frailty, and we are still human. In fact, I could accept and forgive unintentional rudeness much easier than I can forgive oversensitivity. Being oversensitive seems just a tad more arrogant to me...
Okay, that said, let me say this. Some folks just may not understand that what they are saying, or how they are saying it, may come across as rude. Not everyone was raised in an environment that placed emphasis on politeness. In life we work and interact with these people and have a few, but not too many, difficulties. If it is someone we care about, we guide them in efforts to have them recognize and alter their socially abrasive behavior (perhaps a little more guidance and a little less complaining would go a ways in relieving the tensions).
Okay, anything else? Well, since we are on the subject... Does anyone know what empathy as opposed to sympathy is?
Often times we try to make another feel better by telling them "I know just how you feel" "Oh, I've been there" or "I've been through the same thing and I feel for you" or something of the sort.
Take a moment to think about what you are saying, think of yourself, your life, and your circumstances, then think of the person you are speaking to and what they are saying. Then tell me if such comments, although well-intentioned, are not rude, or demeaning. Does it not trivialize a person's pain or depth of feeling to so casually jump in and assume you've 'been there, done that'? Is it not even slightly selfish to jump in to try and share someone's pain (ie; spotlight - for lack of a better description)
I wonder if, a teenage boy, who's girlfriend of 6 months has just dumped him can truly say "I know just how you feel" to a lady of 40 something, who's husband of 20 years just left her... perhaps the better thing to do would be to just lend your support, rather than try to become a partner in their pain.
I'm done for the moment. I'm sure I've offended someone, so let me hear it.
Yesterday is ash, tomorrow is smoke; only today does the fire burn.
"Everything is your own damn fault, if you are any good." E. Hemmingway
[This message has been edited by JP (edited 09-18-2000).]