A couple months ago, I was talking with some friends. We got into the conversation of “so-and-so called me weird and I was offended.” To be clear, I am neither so-and-so nor the offended individual.
That being said, my other friend (and no, I do not only have two friends) said “’weird’ isn’t an offensive term, it’s ‘strange’ that you have to look out for.”
I was confused. What was the difference? That being thought, I said, “Where does the word ‘different’ fall in all of this?”
One friend said, “It doesn’t.” And the other simply ducked, thinking “different” was about to fall on us.
Anyway, the debate continued and “weird” and “strange” were further analyzed, argued over, and pulled apart on the operation table of discussion. In the end, there was no common consensus, and the views were thus:
Friend 1: Weird is a good term. Strange is a bad term. Different is still hanging over our heads.
Friend 2: Strange is a good term. Weird is a bad term. How high is different? And if it hits us, will we die?
After months of thinking about it, I have come to the conclusion: Neither Weird nor Strange are good terms. You don’t call a person weird or strange unless you are trying to emotionally damage them, if only for a few seconds.
This brings me back to “different.” I have been called all of the aforementioned words on multiple occasions, all with good reason, but only one was ever meant to be washed down with a good connotation. Guess which? Different. I have come up with the meanings of these words.
A kid likes to lick slugs: Weird.
A brick starts to fly: Strange.
A person with bright blue hair: Different.
See? There is nothing wrong with a person with bright blue hair. I personally think it’s cool. If you called that person ‘weird’ or ‘strange’ it would hold a negative connotation and not necessarily be true. You call them different? True (they have blue hair which most people don’t) and it does not necessarily hold a negative connotation. Sure, if you say ‘different’ in a negative way ( imagine a teenage girl saying “eww, she’s so different”) it can be offensive, but it doesn’t have to be.
In the end, that is what I came up with. If in doubt, say ‘different,’ unless you’re trying to be mean. If you’re trying to be mean, maybe reevaluate yourself. It’s never nice to be mean ( I know it sounds like a cat poster, but it’s true.) Remember Thumper’s dad from Bambi?
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Food for thought.