When dealing with the kink community, one important thing (among oh so many) to keep in mind is this: rules of etiquette here are somewhat different than those in the vanilla world. I will not say the rules are changed completely, because it's not like you've entered Bizarro World (although sometimes it can feel that way); but the rules have definitely altered.
Things that were okay before, perhaps even expected before—a hug hello, a kiss on the cheek, even something as minor as a handshake—can no longer be taken for granted. On the other hand, big no-nos in the vanilla world—complimenting a woman on her sultry look, sending out an invitation to negotiate a little play later—are fine in Kink Land.
Things can get confusing.
It's easy to make mistakes.
And we all make mistakes. We're human, we're not perfect, right?
Some imagine people's mistakes as a secret bucket they're keeping, often hidden behind their backs. As long as their bucket doesn't get full, they're okay. But once the bucket reaches critical mass, and begins to overflow, the person now has too many mistakes in their bucket—and they are no longer worthy of your friendship.
I don't think of it like that. I think the mistakes people make—and remember, we all make them—becomes something like background noise. We all carry around our background noise with us wherever we go.
Some people's background noise is very faint, and barely noticeable. Some people's is louder, but it is not so unpleasant to take; you can still have a nice conversation over it.
And some people's background noise is so annoying, so ear-pounding, you just have to walk away.
The thing about background noise is, we all have different levels we can take, and different kinds of noises we find disturbing. What you find too troublesome to accept, completely intolerable to your own ears, your friend might not find so bad. And what they recoil away from, you may decide is not bothersome to you at all.
Keep in mind, it is the same exact noise.
The difference lies in the people hearing it.
Now, obviously there are some noises that no one can take. The human eardrum can only handle so much pressure before it pops. People who have allowed their background noise to rise to that level...I'm sorry, but you're in trouble. You're going to have to tone it down.
But I think 98% of the people in our community are not like that. Yes, we have predators, rapists, people whom we cannot and should not tolerate in our community, whose background noise is simply too dangerous to the rest of us...but most of us are not like that, at all. We are just people, making mistakes, creating our own background noise.
I guess, my point is, the issue is not so black and white.
So before you go judging how much background noise your friends can take, consider this: how much background noise are you making? And how grateful are you that your friends are willing to accept it?