COLUMN: Some people are just insensitive

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 12:17 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 25, 2010

There is one thing you can count on in this world whether you want to or not. It doesn't matter if times are good or bad, if the weather is hot or cold, if you are feeling great or recovering from a nasty illness, in every crowd you can depend on at least one person being present: One who is insensitive to the feelings of others.

Recently, I was having lunch with a woman who was struggling with marital difficulties. She was still in love with her husband, which was making decisions painful for her. A friend of a friend at the luncheon leaped right into the conversation and said, "Big deal, just get a divorce!"

The other woman jumped up from the table in tears and headed for the bathroom. The offender looked around the table with an expression that read, "Did I say something wrong?" No one bothered to respond.

One would think with the country so divided, people would give more thought to what they are saying before opening their mouths, but this is not so. It's as though some people are just realizing they have the right of freedom of speech and they can't miss any opportunity to use it. These folks have never encountered a problem that can't be fixed in 10 seconds.

Nothing seems to please these individuals more than stirring up trouble. They can't resist commenting on issues they personally have no knowledge of. I have several friends who are single parents and are dealing with teenagers who are giving them problems. It's amazing how many people who have never been single parents and are totally unfamiliar with the situations are able to hand out unsolicited advice on the subject.

Personally, I go out of my way to avoid discussing politics on social occasions. I'm aware of any number of people who have lost friendships because of politics. Surprisingly, some people love to get people all riled up and in a fighting mood on that subject. They can't rest until they get people at each other's throat. In spite of the fact that hurt feelings result from these arguments, the ones who implement these rifts find it exciting.

I've come lately to the conclusion that there are people who find peace and harmony boring. When there is not enough action going on, they are willing to do anything to ensure that they have a good time. I don't think these kinds of individuals appreciate the fact that some people have a terrible time recovering from having their feelings hurt. They either don't realize or are indifferent to the fact that some never speak to each other again after they have a fight.

Maintaining the peace is just not a priority for everyone. With the number of serious problems we face as a society, it shouldn't require any superior knowledge to know that we will have an easier job solving some of these problems if we are unified. Many of the issues we face affect all of us. I think it will probably be years, for instance, before we come to grips with the many things this gigantic oil spill in the Gulf has caused. Instead of fighting over petty things, it seems to me it's time to get serious about the big evils that are threatening to destroy our way of life.

It's interesting how fast people manage to get together to destroy something and how long it takes for them to unite to build anything. There are many who look for the negative in everything their opponents present and deliberately kill great ideas that would benefit the world simply because they dislike the person who offered it. This kind of toxic environment contaminates the person as well as his perceived enemies.

It's no wonder our problems multiply. In our determination to make enemies of other people, we make ourselves captive to maintaining the process. The effort it takes to search for opportunities to make other people miserable is time lost in making ourselves more content. If we find we can't win for losing maybe we should have figured out a long time ago that we are playing the wrong game.

Perhaps, if we keep on fighting each other long enough, we can sit back and watch the planet die. Boy, that will help our side win the argument, won't it?

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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