A: Your friends were being assholes. Leaving aside the question of whether it’s ever possible to use that particular word in an appropriate way (I don’t believe there is), the fact that your friends responded to your measured criticism by repeating an ableist slur gleefully and in an attempt to make you upset says a great deal about their respect for you. There’s a significant difference between using coarse or vulgar language, which has its uses, and using demeaning terms to dismiss other people as less than worthy, particularly in a way that’s stigmatizing and reinforces a hierarchy of value. What your storytelling friend said was cruel and demeaning, and the rest of the group responded to a gentle rebuke by wallowing in further cruelty. They made the wrong choice.
Oh you are so right here. Also as someone who has suffered from depression I know only too well how the condition can hinder ones ability to fully consider another’s needs.
However what I want to talk about is your point around ‘trying to get a discussion onto a bigger dimension than you and yours’. When in social situations like supper with the girls I find there is the usual pattern of how was your day and catching up one recent events then things predictably go to children and family life. This can bore me senseless after 10-15 minutes so choosing a convenient moment I will bring the conversation onto something more interesting like a current world event or occurrence, some members of the group will pick it up and comment, I immediately respond and try it steer it further but always within 1-2 minutes someone will find a moment to bring it nicely back to kids and family and thats the end of that. I have pondered over this recurring pattern and I know its not because my friends are unaware /uninformed I conclude that many people don’t want to move out of their comfort zone of what immediately effects them and thier’s. As for me I must find more like minded people before I don’t die with boredom.