“You can’t have a rational conversation with an irrational person.”- Gary Leonard, Mr. America 1980, husband, Pops, and my dad.
We all have more time to be online nowadays, so this seems like the perfect time for this topic.
UNFOLLOW THEM- Shea says, “Look at you, being mature and whatnot.” If this person doesn’t affect you, and isn’t worth getting annoyed over, so the easiest thing is to remove their influence from your life. I know this isn’t an option all the time, but even minimizing the amount of interactions is helpful. Trust me, cutting down on seeing negativity is going to allow you to make more thoughtful decisions, and be happier the whole time you think about them. If you’re worried you may be wrong, research it or seek out those whose opinions you value.
POLITELY DISAGREE AND STATE WHY, CALMLY- Shea says, “Good luck, and break a leg.” You’ve thought about it, you still want to say something, or maybe you can’t avoid them. Maybe this person doesn’t know any different, or maybe you aren’t the audience they were looking for, but you can be neutral and calmly ask questions. Hopefully they are willing to discuss like a human. If they get defensive or take it personally, reevaluate how much effort you’re willing to put in here. Will they ever be able to have a conversation? No? Maybe try talking to a wall instead; at least the wall doesn’t say stupid things back. Or a more practical approach is to have a “b*tch book.” I do! Anything that annoys me, but isn’t worth doing anything about, goes in there. I write it all down, why I disagree, why I didn’t say anything, and honestly, it’s enough.
GET ANGRY AND PARTAKE IN THE “CALL OUT CULTURE” THAT DIVIDES PEOPLE- Shea says, “Don’t be this person. If you’ve tried other options, do what you got to do I suppose. In that case, buckle up cupcake, the internet is rough, and everything is there forever.” What good will come of this? You’ve put someone on the defense, are you prepared to deal with a conversation that will go nowhere? I’m all for sharing opinions, disagreements, and learning from each other. Even if we don’t end with the same opinion, we now understand more about this person and maybe ourselves. Calling people out just because you have anonymity online is not awesome in my opinion, and if you don’t like my opinion, I am happy to discuss this calmly. If you insult me, or initiate any sort of engagement negatively, I’ll kill the conversation with kindness, or at worst, just kill it, and move on. My day will be fine, will yours? This is one thing that I have a really hard time dealing with, and I’m working on it, but I strongly disagree with this as a first or second option in most scenarios.
PUT OTHERS DOWN TO FURTHER YOUR OWN POINT/OPINION- Shea says, “*facepalm & deep sigh* No! *flicks nose of person doing this* If you feel that you must go negative or insult someone to get ahead, you’re either a politician, or someone I don’t need in my life. My brain does this his pitched ‘boooooooooooooo’ sound as soon as someone does this. It’s not that I can’t sink to their level, it’s that I choose not to.” This is not really an option or shouldn’t be in my opinion. If you feel that you must put down others to further your opinion, that probably means that you don’t fully understand your own opinion to defend it or properly explain it. Just because you don’t agree with someone (whether they’re wrong or not,) does not give you the right to put them down or insult them. Have you thought about that fact that this is a human, and we are all flawed? Have you forgotten that you have been wrong before, and didn’t know until someone politely spoke with you? Or maybe some have done this to you, and now you’re just defensive of any inquiry, do you like that feeling?! Treat others how you want to be treated.
One of the first things we learn in life is that you don’t get your way when you throw a fit, (or at least that was one of thing first things I learned,) and it seems that some people forget that. Hopefully, we’ve also learned to be kind. If not, you’re an adult, you now have control over your life and can take action to change things, so pull it together. (It can be hard, you may need help, but why stay in a vicious cycle of unhappiness?)
Since so many of us have multiple sources of media input/output, we have the opportunity to interact with at least hundreds, if not thousands of people within minutes. You’re reading “Exhibit A.” 😉 I had a thought after seeing so many people just cutting each other down, I chose to write about it, and now you’re reading it. That is effing cool, right? But what if I specifically targeted someone, or spewed negativity under the guise of standing up for the ‘little guy?’ What if I stated my opinions as facts, and cut down all who don’t agree with me? You wouldn’t be here (hopefully,) and it would spread negativity like wildfire, instead of making progress by starting a conversation and asking questions.
If you have a conversation, both parties have the opportunity to learn. If you start by insulting someone, do you think that they’ll ever agree with you, even if you have scientific facts to back it up? Probably not. Or, they may come to that conclusion eventually, but due to how you delivered the information, you hindered their progress. Weird how one little snippy comment can make such a dent in someone’s life, huh?
In the gym, when you have an issue, you go back to the basics. The “back to basics” principle is helpful no matter what area you’re having issues in. The definition of a human being is a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.(Source: Oxford English Dictionary.) Our basics are advanced. ACT. LIKE. IT. Stand up straight, use your words, and continue to grow your brains!
Do you want to be a negative part of someone’s day one time? Or do you want to help build them up, so they have more positivity in their life going forward? We all have power and resources to influence others, and that can be great, or it can be detrimental. Choose to be great. Build each other up. Ask questions. Seek out knowledge. Throughout all of that, be kind. You will help make the world better one interaction at a time.
Do you have another way to handle situations like this that I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment or send me a message: firstname.lastname@example.org!