Actually, it's almost impossible.
Because of that, I tend to not understand when others get offended.
I try to be a courteous person, but I'm probably pricklier than your average bear. Some people consider this a charming character quirk. Some people, not so much. It's definitely possible for me to give offense without intent, and when that's brought to my attention, I'll apologize. (Unfortunately, it's going to sound a lot like one of those non-apology apologies -- "I'm sorry you were offended." Double unfortunately -- if I didn't actually intend to offend you, that's all you're going to get out of me. I'm not one to apologize just for kicks and giggles.)
But for the record.
If you read something I write on this blog and think, "Hey! That's about me!" -- it almost certainly is not. (You can go ahead and get your panties in a twist, however, since I would never deny anyone that experience. Righteous indignation, it's a helluva drug.)
If I specifically name you - Diego, Hannah, Lulu, or one of my many other pseudonyms - then yes, it's about you. If I refer to another blogger by name - Mormon Child Bride, Gurrbonzo, Boob Nazi - again, it is about you. When I say "Sarah Palin," I mean Sarah Palin. When I say "Ashley from The Bachelorette," I mean Ashley from The Bachelorette. When I say Spence, I mean exactly that darling pupperlup.
But if I just write, "Sweet mother of mercy, what is the deal with people who use their iPhones as a hymnal in church?" Or, "people who cut you off in traffic?" Or, "the boring?" it's just because I've noticed enough pretentious idiots, bad drivers, and lamesters behaving the exact same way to call them out en masse.
So ... long story short, if you find yourself thinking that this biotch Ru has specifically dedicated an entire blog post to you and you alone ... eh, probably not.
(Except for this post. Though to be fair, while this is about one person* specifically, it's about Internetland generally.)
For the most part, I don't believe people intend ill will toward others. More than that, I think that coincidence is always more likely than conspiracy. I don't spend much of my time thinking negatively about others, and I imagine the same goes for you.
I know the Internet makes paranoid freaks out of us all. I even once emailed Mormon Child Bride (notice how I'm naming her directly?) to double check that I hadn't accidentally stolen one of her jokes. (I hadn't.)
So when in doubt, remember this: No one is talking about you.
It was true in junior high. It's true now.
Do you know why?
Because we all have better things to do with our time. For reals.
And if telling yourself that doesn't work, and you remain completely, 100% convinced that it is you someone else is talking about -- just email them and ask. I guarantee that you're going to be reassured that they had no idea that their words were going to be taken that way and no offense was intended. There may be even some nice chuckle times. I can't guarantee it, but it's likely.
* In this one case, I won't name that person, but she knows who she is, since I have (a) tried to clarify my joke on my blog; (b) offered three separate blog comments on her blog trying to explain the misunderstanding, all of which were promptly deleted; and (c) emailed her in an attempt to mend fences, though she is determined to believe I was deliberately rude.
So here's my apology for all of InternetLand to see: "I'm sorry you were offended. When I say 'Cathy comic strip wannabes,' I mean those who are two-dimensional enough to only talk about chocolate, weight gain, and dating on their facebooks, twitter, and blogs. Like Cathy, from the decidedly unfunny comic strip Cathy. I definitely don't mean people who like drawing comics in general."
I'm also sorry-- but a little more impressed -- that I managed to offend you, even though you acknowledged you didn't understand what I meant by the statement "Cathy comic strip wannabees." Internet hat trick, friendos -- a misinterpretation SQUARED.
(In case any of you all were wondering, yes, it does kind of blow my mind that after ranting to a ridiculous degree about twitter, the only thing I managed to do was offend someone who likes to draw comic strips. C'est la vie.)
As a final note -- I don't need to be told that my posts are negative. Jeez, what about me ranting in the last two years about bad dates, Sarah Palin, annoying Mormons, True Blood, pet owners, parents, Ayn Rand, Project Runway, writer's block, billable hours, ABC Family, anti-feminists, censorship, bar exams, and contractors gave anyone the impression that I wasn't a negative person? I am super negative. I aspire only to be funny as well.
Truth in advertising, my homies.