Who It’s Okay to Insult

A comprehensive list of who it is Not Okay to insult and name call: 

And a comprehensive list of who it is Okay to insult and name call. 

I’m heartbroken over the tone and words used by people when talking to and about other people.  I’m shocked at the DMs from strangers people share on Twitter that include death threats and horrid language. I’m distressed at how our aggressive and demeaning our dialog on social media, in the news media, and even in person sounds day in and day out, especially in recent years with the tensions we are facing.

It is not okay for a human to insult another human—no matter who they are, no matter the level of disagreement, no matter the difference of opinion—it is never okay. Language matters, and how we speak about and to each other is one way we can honor or tear down each other’s inherent dignity. 

So the next time we are angry at a leader, disagree with a political party, get frustrated by a differing opinion on social media, or are in conflict with someone in our life, how about we choose a reframe? 

“I disagree with you on that point, would you be open to discussing this carefully so we can learn from each other?”

“I’m getting angry as we talk, can we take a break and come back to this when I feel more calm?”

“I’m angry at the rules my governor has put in place. I respectfully disagree with him/her, this is hard for me. And I acknowledge that we are all struggling and the situation is complicated.”

“I disagree with that line of argument, but I want you to know I respect you and care about you.”

“I’m frustrated by (politician) and find it difficult to listen to him/her. I choose to stay respectful in my words and not insult her/him.”

“I disagree with (public figure), but I’m going to be careful in how I express that disagreement.”

“This conversation is making me really angry, I’d prefer not to keep talking about it right now. Can we talk about something else?”

“I’m realizing this is a hard topic for me, I think we are better off putting a pin in the conversation.”

“What you said made me angry, and I need to process that anger.”

“I think I need to express that I disagree with that, but that doesn’t change that I care about you.”

“I don’t agree with you on that; can we work to find common ground together?”  

Let’s change the tone of our country, our states, our cities, our neighborhoods, our relationships, and social media. All it takes is one careful conversation at a time. Let’s value each other and uphold each and every human’s dignity with words that are careful. In the times we are living in, we need kindness and care more than ever!