Saturday, 21 February 2015
I really don't know where they're coming from. I don't share their attitude at all. To my mind, sensitivity to what others think, and to the effect my opinions and behaviour might have on them, is part and parcel of being a human being.
That doesn't mean I'm a slave to other people's views. It doesn't mean that if someone criticises me, I immediately backpedal and apologise and rush to satisfy them. It doesn't mean that if they come up with some totally bigoted, ignorant, intolerant diatribe, I'll bury my own views and mutter something harmlessly neutral.
But it does mean that although I like to express my views as honestly as possible, I'm considerate of how others might react and I won't be deliberately provocative or taunting or dismissive merely for the sake of it.
It also means that if someone has views diametrically opposed to my own, I won't just dismiss them out of hand as ignorant nonsense, I will at least examine them carefully to see if there's any truth in what they're saying. Because even the most prejudiced individual can have unexpected insights into something I haven't really thought about.
And it means that if I know someone's feeling vulnerable, or hurt, or distressed, I'm not going to upset them even more by saying something they wouldn't want to hear even if they were feeling more resilient.
As Ursula said, if people don't care what others think, how come they're all ears if what others are saying is in their favour - if it's flattering?
Who are they kidding?