Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Matriculating with Middle-Schoolers


[though I am using a facebook example, I think all this goes for Twitter and blogging, too... but if I get all specific, I could write all day... I will use Facebook because it illustrates it well...]

So I had a friend post a question yesterday... see... somebody had unfriended him... then sent him a friend request. My friend knows he says some outrageous things sometimes, usually in the spirit of getting a lively debate going, but he was wondering, in all sincerity, how this person he'd apparently offended was now magically NOT going to be offended if he didn't plan to change how he was.  Was it WORTH refriending?

I'm such a strong believer in 'I gotta be me'... and I accord that right to every last one of you... but it got me thinking about some of the childish stuff that happens online and just how many times these people need to attend kindergarten to grasp some basic rules of human interaction.

So I thought I'd share what I think the biggest offenders are, and the rules I try to follow, just for full transparency... Because y'all know I don't like to keep any secrets from you.


“Well some people...”

The worst offenders of this are middle-aged women... and I gotta say... would you like some CHEESE with that whine? If you have your feelings hurt and want to send a private message to your 30 BFFs I am perfectly HAPPY to be included—it isn't the whine that actually bothers me, so much as the intent of public shaming... some people need to vent and I would hope I could lend an ear, a shoulder, a hug... or a rare moment of insight that might make it seem better. But that throwing out of trash to the world? Baby, it's undignified! (not that I care two hoots for dignity, but honestly, it usually just makes it worse)

When I want to really vent... I send an EMAIL to a good friend (or several), or I go to the Burrow's secret place where my dozen close friends can see my tantrum and NOBODY else. I trust all of them with my unpublished manuscripts—you can bet ANYTHING I trust them with my tantrum. Or I talk to the Couch to Keg team in person.

Doing these cryptic public messages may earn a little sympathy... and honestly it DOES earn some from me... I care about my friends and don't want them so sad. But I promise, anybody who isn't a big mushy person is mocking you. It is just childish. I've seen so many “I'm DONE!”s... if it is followed by something specific—okay fine. Call it news. I can assume I'm in the close friend's 'who can see this' that's been drawn... I have a friend who has recently divorced and her ex is being an ass... she is FINE. I know she's not including say... HIS family on the matter... but without details, I gotta say it looks like just a temper tantrum.


Calling Out

Seriously... if you are naming names and there are mutual friends who can see... do it in private. You risk losing more friends than just the one who is being called out this way. In fact I gotta be honest... I am friends with some couples and a LOT of friend pairs, and I will always side with the person behaving better overall... and this public humiliation counts against whoever does it, so if you are doing this, you better make sure the other person did something a whole lot worse.


Unfriending

What, are we five? I remember in kindergarten hearing “I'm not gunna be your friend anymore” and thinking “I can decide who my friends are for myself, thanks”... but I was cheeky that way. Its opposite, “I'll be your best friend” was even stupider--Not if I don't decide that for myself, you won't.

Seriously... I HAVE unfriended people, but nobody I know in person, and ONLY when they attack my friends in my space after I ask them not to. I really try to maintain a courtesy rule. Whatever you want to express—you be your fabulous self in your space. In the rare case it offends me, I will HIDE someone. (which I've done like twice ever—more often I just hide the offending post). In MY space, I will moderate as I can—gentle reminders that I care about everybody present and expect civility, even in disagreement... and if someone I KNOW can't follow those rules, they won't see my posts anymore, but through hiding, not unfriending... that simple. (If I don't know someone in person, this level of maintenance is not worth it)

Now on this front, I think I may have accidentally unfriended at some point—hell, it's just a click... and I KNOW Facebook has glitched and unfriended me from people. I ALSO have people I talk to regularly that I think I'm friends with, only to discover all our conversations are on other people's posts. So there is PLENTY of reason to NOT point a finger if you notice you aren't friends with somebody and you WERE (or thought you were). Don't assume they unfriended you and get all pissy. You can either just go with the flow or ask. I have two high school friends I notice I've ended up 'unfriended from' and think maybe I offended their politics... but I ALSO think it may have been one of these other things, so I have never had a fit... if they say something on somebody else's post, I respond appropriately—liking, laughing, responding...


In short... I may be the naked chick, but there is no reason to stir up drama. Life is just too short to get worked up over superficial, silly stuff.

If you DON'T want it to bite you in the ass in the future, chances are you should keep it to comments on OTHER people's posts *shifty *

But seriously... public is public... people will remember us by how we handle ourselves. I will NEVER be a person capable of being 'strictly professional' but it can't hurt to err on the side of always being kind, or at the very least, polite.


14 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The unfriending - unfollowing - someone you know is childish. The only people I dump are the ones who aren't following me. Even then, except for Twitter, I don't usually have time to do that.
Well said, Hart!

JMims said...

Absolutely Hart, I can never understand the short-sighted and overblown drama of peeps sometimes. Glad to know there are still civil people out in the interwebs.

Talli Roland said...

Well said, Hart. I can't believe some of the behaviour I see on social media, and how childish it is!

Sheila Siler said...

Well said, and I think the key is remembering all of this is PUBLIC. Something my kids have discussed is how much is said that you'd never say to someone's face, and that's become the beginning rule for us. If you wouldn't say it to their face - don't say it.

Megan Bostic said...

Good post. I agree with the public rants. Facebook is not the place for it. I also admit to unfriending though. Two people in particular come to mind. One kept writing offensive things on my page, and I warned him (he sent another friend request and I gave him a second chance and it has been fine). And one was being very confrontational during a time in my life when I just couldn't deal with that. He wrote me privately and we talked about it and said I was always welcome back and we are now friends again. So I guess what I'm saying is there are always two sides to the coin.

Teresa Coltrin@Journaling Woman said...

Sometimes "the dramatic" revert back to junior high behavior and frankly I have no patience for that.

FB has become a venue to air stupidity.

T

Sarah Ahiers said...

I don't think i've ever unfriended someone. Or been unfriended (but then i don't know that for sure)
I'm with you. Boo on all the melodrama. Life is too short to deal with all that negativity. It just takes so much energy...

Stacy Gail said...

Well said, Your Tartness. In this era of Teh Interwebz, public displays of idiocy appear to be a pandemic. I'm not immune; I can't tell you how many times I've started to rant-post, before deleting said post before making it public. Thankfully I do have a shoulder angel that likes to point out I'm being an idiot. :)


I read the FB post that inspired this subject, and my thought was for our mutual friend to go ahead and take the extended olive branch, certainly; peace is a beautiful thing. But our buddy WON'T CHANGE, nor should he be expected to. This on-again, off-again "friend" will either come to the realization that friendship isn't something that should be thrown away by a careless click of a mouse, or he'll stomp away again because he can't take it when the opinions of others don't line up EXACTLY with his idealogy. I suspect the latter is going to happen, but at least our buddy will have been the bigger man when all is said and done. :)

Hart Johnson said...

Alex-yeah, Twitter is a place I've unfollowed--some people clog the feed and if I don't know them and they aren't part of the writing community... meh... can't be bothered...

Jay-the vast majority of people really CAN play nice if the primary poster sort of sets the tone. I agree.

Talli-sometimes just have to scratch our heads, eh?

Sheila-that's exactly right. It always comes back to bite you. The added thing though, is would you say it to the whole WORLD? I have lots I'd say to SOME but if there is ANYONE I don't want to know it...

Megan-some people DO earn a defriending, and it's always good if you can work it out... sounds like you did!

Teresa-it sort of depends how well I like somebody (or sympathize with them) for whether I can conjure the patience.

Sarah-you don't SEEM like a person who'd go in for all that silliness, so I'm not surprized you haven't.

Stace-yeah, the defriender really CAN'T expect someone to be any different. So they either need to have had an epiphany, or have been just having a really bad day...

Helena said...

You're right about being civil, Hart -- it really doesn't take much to act like a grownup. Sad how technology can bring out the worst in a few people.

LTM said...

Facebook's so weird. One day I magically went up by like 31 friends. Now what was THAT all about? I guess some people deactivated their accounts and then came back. Surely it wasn't ME! :D

I couldn't agree w/you more about this silly behavior online. Personally, I've been kind of buried, so I've been missing a lot of it. Thanks for the PSA in basic manners. ((hugs))

Emily R. King said...

This is why I got off FB. I didn't want to be friends with the girl who sat behind me in 2nd grade. And instead of ignoring her friend request and keeping my list to my REAL family and friends, I got off the wagon. Funny thing is, I talk to the people who matter WITHOUT FB. Go figure.

RaShelle Workman said...

Great post, Hart! I've missed a lot of the drama. I try to stay out of it.

And I'm with you, I'll never be strictly professional, but I do always try to be kind, and/or polite.

nutschell said...

Social Networking can be troublesome sometimes. I think Unfriending and Calling out are certainly very immature things to do:P
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com