Make Room For The Stuttering

What If You Offend Someone?

Posted on: November 3, 2011

Recently, I posted a piece about procrastination and stuttering. The topic had been discussed on Facebook after another blogger wrote about procrastination, using stuttering as an example.

Many people in the stuttering community were offended with the blogger’s comments, as they appeared to casually associate stuttering with procrastination, which has negative connotations.

This does not come as a surprise, as there are constant negative uses of the terms stuttering or stammering in the media. People who actually do stutter often get frustrated with the resulting poor perception mainstream then has of people who stutter. It is often thought we are lazy, intellectually impaired, nervous or just plain weird.

What does come as a surprise (and a pleasant one indeed) is when a blogger takes some time to reflect on how his words may have been perceived, and writes a thoughtful response on what to do if you have offended someone, whether intentionally or not.

That is the case with Mike Reeves-McMillan’s post titled “What To Do When You Offend Someone.” In this post, he writes about some of the push-back his guest post (on another blog called Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life) got from people who actually stutter. Some of us, me included, were annoyed to see the term stuttering used in such a way that it could be potentially misinterpreted.

Mike does a great job in his post explaining what you should do when you unintentionally offend someone. He did not get defensive, he did not inanely apologize, nor did he minimize feelings. He reflected that sometimes a writer will say something that triggers a backlash, and when that happens, the best thing to do is acknowledge, validate and respond.

He also reminds us that we cannot own other people issues or feelings. That is not healthy. We have enough of our own stuff to deal with.

I was pleased to read Mike’s post, and share it here. Like I said on my original post, stuff like this keeps healthy dialogue about stuttering, and other issues, alive.

Always a good thing!

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1 Response to "What If You Offend Someone?"

Pam, I really liked this post and also read and commented on Mike’s post. It’s a good reminder that it really doesn’t make any sense to take (anything if possible!) personally. And if we do, we are only doing it to ourselves, because only we can be responsible for our feelings.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2017.