am I going to be offended?

Isn’t it interesting how easy it is to accidentally offend people? Sure, there are offensive sins that are outright contrived, but so many of the things people do to us, or we in turn do to others, are done without malice or intent.

In short, we usually offend people simply because we’re thoughtless idiots.

The other day I was visiting with an old friend and found she was getting together with a mutual acquaintance for a night out. I’d run across the gathering because I was in the process of inviting people to one of my own, the hostess included.

“Oh,um…I’m going to Vicky’s that night, you know…it’s a girls’ thing…”

Awkward. Especially when it happened to me twice in a row for the same party. The first time I figured it was probably a small private affair, no biggie. But getting a double rejection from two of our shared friends? My heart plummeted.

In no time flat I felt sick with the 7th grade Outcast Flu. Had I done something wrong? Hurt her feelings? Was it the heels? Cause I can totally wear flats to fit in. (Okay, that’s a lie, but whatever.)

Then the first twinges of “she hurt my feelings” started to set in. That’s when I called Jason. I gave him the rundown and sat on the other end of the phone, stuffing my face with Hershey Kisses and licking my chocolate covered wounds.

“Honey,” he said gently, “Don’t do this. Don’t let yourself get offended for something we’ve all accidentally done. Are you telling me you’ve never forgotten to invite someone to a play date or a girls’ night? I’m pretty sure you’ve offended plenty of people, just in the 12 years I’ve known you. Have a little charity, forgive it, and get on with your day.”

And that was that.

The strange thing is, four sentences from my husband was as good for my soul as a visit to the chiropractor is for my back. Of course he was right, how did I forget that very simple answer? I get to choose how I’m going to feel here, and I don’t have to take offense.

Whatever her reasons for leaving me off the list were, they didn’t matter, even if her intentions were down right hurtful (something I seriously doubt). Jesus didn’t say, “Forgive the people who accidentally hurt your feelings,” He said to get over all of it, even the nasty and intentional rejections, or the slanderous comments.

Loving people isn’t as easy as saying it out loud, but saying it out loud sure does help. It isn’t hard to find a friend to commiserate with, someone who encourages our feelings of anger and frustration. Instead, the next time someone pricks your feelings, look for the person in your life who will pull you back onto the straight and narrow.

It’s a one way path, make sure you’re following the right trail guide.



  1. So true. I am not a very sensitive person, and I have the best of intentions. But for some reason, I always say the wrong thing. I’m grateful for people who graciously forgive my stupidity over and over.

  2. Love this, Annie. Seriously. And how easy is it to then feel offended by the person who seems to have no sympathy for you, but tells you that YOU need to be better. Awesome that you weren’t. And true that we all need friends who will help us out like that. And we need to be humble enough to listen to them.

  3. Read What Happy People Know! A Brain surgeon wanted to know if we had control over our thoughts and actions. So for years he monitered his patients. We have a quarter of a second, that we can decide if a loud bang is a car back firing or a gunshot. When we slip on a banana peel, we have a quarter of a second to decide if it’s funny or we get mad. That quarter of a second we choose to be offended or not. We can control our behavior and we can control our feelings too. He said most people don’t know we have this power. So we go through life flapping in the wind. That quarter of a second is our Agency! xoxo Wise hubby!

    • annie valentine says:

      Melanie, I will take your comment with me the rest of my life, buy the book, and teach it to my children. Thank you!

  4. Here’s the thing, once you allow yourself to be offended, you are making the decision that you have no control over yourself. You’re giving up your freedom of choice to someone else…and over what? It’s not worth giving someone else control like that and it’s not worth worrying your pretty little head over, either. Who cares if you inadvertently did do something? That’s their deal, not yours.

  5. I often feel the same way—the 7th Grade Outcast Flu can be painful. But I try to realize that more often than not people aren’t intentionally rude, they are just thoughtless. It seems like people my age especially don’t go out of their way to do inclusive things, create fun events etc. so even though I feel like I’m being left out—in reality there’s rarely much to be left out of.

  6. Can I still be a little angry sometimes? 🙂

  7. When I found out via a close friend’s blog that I hadnt’ been invited to a Christmas party at her new house, I was upset at first.

    Then I realized it was one less present I had to worry about.

    Yea for perspective!

  8. I love your husband’s response. I guess that’s why men are not supposed to be the emotional beings and we are supposed to be the nurturers, huh? They see things in black and white and it helps to have that perspective when we are emotional. Thank you for sharing this. I have been feeling bad for days because I think I accidentally hurt someone’s feelings and I feel SO bad. I’m sure if your friend knew she hurt your feelings she would feel bad too. 🙂

  9. Loved this today. It is so true! One of my biggest soapboxes ever for lessons. I like to ask, why we would give someone who disrespects us, or doesn’t even like us, the power to determine who we are, how we will react and even whether or not we will worship God. Since I heard this somewhere, I don’t have as many problems with being offended as I used to. Thank you for sharing today.

  10. I really wish my husband would take that point of view instead of sometimes supporting me in my loss of rationality. It IS very hard to extend grace to people that have hurt you. (I am the person that’s never invited, but the first to call if someone needs help. I guess God gives me a lot of opportunities to show my grace!)

  11. As this has happened to me (and more hurtful, to my children) I give myself permission to be sad. I put a time limit on it (maybe a week, maybe a day, depending on how sad I am) and then GET OVER IT! It is tough!! On the otherhand, I try not to do this to other people, if you’ve been invited or were at a party that someone else wasn’t at, I think it is the ultimate of rude to bring it up and talk about it in their presense. I’d hate to pass on the icky feelings (though I know I’ve done it a multitude of times, darn!)

  12. I think we have all been there, and it is hard sometimes to let it go…but it is also so freeing 🙂
    Good post, with good reminders.

  13. I know that when I have found I have hurt someone’s feelings I always feel sick inside, because I never wake up in the morning and think “I think I’ll go be mean to so-and-so today.” It’s just me being a thoughtless idiot. So, I try to keep that in mind when my feelings are wounded; however, sometimes that is easier said than done.

    Wise words from a wise husband. He’s a keeper.

  14. I am always grateful I married a guy who can see the right thing to do, even when it is really really hard. Cuz I am a vengeful spiteful grudge holder. It’s nice to be nice.

  15. You’re a smart lady, Annie. And you’ve got some sort of ESP because your last couple entries have been very fitting for me.

  16. All true. There is this great quote from Kurt Vonnegut on why people love stories, and the main idea is “Stories have drama. Real life doesn’t. We want our lives to be like stories. So we create drama where none exists.” It’s a ‘being human’ thing, not a ‘being a drama queen’ thing. We all do it, and it’s important to ask ourselves, “Am I just writing myself into a story here?”

    If the answer is ‘yes,’ then I just take a step back and cut myself out of the narrative. Really simplifies my life!!

  17. this had me laughing hysterically…except for the fact that it was very sad.
    I think IT IS the heels…no one carries off stilettoes the way you do girl with the skinny jeans and the gorgeous face. Quite being so intimidating. Put on some polyester pants and slippers for crying out loud.

    I am almost 60…AND STILL get my feelings hurt. I think God gave me extra nerve endings in my feelings just so they’d sting anytime someone looks at me cross eyed.
    Also…did Jesus really say that” “thou shalt forgive those who unintentionally forget you and exclude you and look at your cross eyed”
    I thought he said “Take thy vengance upon those who unintentionally do not include you in their social life and circles. Take thy stilettoes in thy hand and bash in their brains, for such brains are iniquitous (sp) and bear no good fruit….only brown banan gupe. However, do not take full delight in such an act, but only do so because it is a commandment-eth.”

  18. this was music to my soul today, something i needed to be reminded of … thank you

  19. thanks for reminding me…

    and sometimes, well most times…i feel i’m on the other end of this. i’m always trying to plan something, and when i extend the invitation to someone over and over and over because i don’t want them to be left out, yet they can’t make an effort to join, even though they want to, i simply stopped inviting them, because i was tired of excuses…is that so mean!? i am mean. what am i saying!?

  20. momof8 says:

    I would love to have you come hang out with me! I have cheesecake. Does that help?