All of us have perceptual frameworks, ways that we see the world and the people in it. We tend to assume that others think, act, believe, feel, and speak the way we do.
But they don't.
We project our expectations and our meanings on them, then get upset when they don't fit in our box.
The first step to non-reactivity is to realize experientially that how we process only applies to us, and the meanings other people put on things, words, events, emotions, and thoughts might be completely different from ours.
Connecting with people from a place of calm, peace, and stillness helps us see and accept how others truly are.
We each have our own ideas of what things mean, the way things are, the way people are, and what the words and actions of people mean. Sometimes the meaning we give them is not accurate. Individualized emotions, meanings, and perceptions are intended here.
Society has created perceptual frameworks that define "how things are", so that everyone in that society or culture can more or less agree about reality. This is where 5 equals 5, and where the idea arises that words have meaning - a specific meaning that speakers of that language agree upon.
So we are dealing with both.
And sometimes an individual does not use society's definitions of something either. A person I know, who is just barely on the autism spectrum, has a lot of trouble understanding that his definition of words and phrases isn't the same as society's definitions of those words and phrases.
But a person doesn't have to be autistic to adopt different meanings.
The point here, and in the relevant sections in the book, is that when someone says or does something that seems offensive or rude, perhaps something else other than malice or rudeness is behind their words and actions.
So instead of reacting to the perceived offense, we respond with peace and calm, and hopefully we can sort out our differences.
We just need to remember, or try to remember, that others may be seeing things through a very different lens from yours; certainly they express things through the filter of their own experiences and perceptions.
Step back, and allow. You've got this.