I don’t think I will ever stop being surprised by the crap people say to each other. Words said in the heat of the moment to loved ones are understandable to some degree. After all, the more that we have invested in a relationship, the more you care about someone, the more upset you’re going to be when they do something stupid. But the things that I’ve heard supposed friends, people that hardly know each other, or complete strangers saying to each other lately just blows my mind.
Are we incapable of having manners anymore? Of remembering there is a difference between freedom to speak our minds and choosing what comes out of our mouths? Sometimes it is hard to tell whether someone is being intentionally rude and attempting to make us feel uncomfortable, simply doesn’t think before they speak, or so self absorbed that they don’t realize the effect that their words have on other people.
Several weeks ago I had an experience on Facebook that ruined my entire day. I had a frustrating work experience occur and was looking for advice on how to handle it on one of the business related Facebook groups I am part of. I was surprised at how fast the comments flowed in but most surprised at how negative some of them were in a forum that had been created for support and advice. The fact that some people disagreed with me was okay, but how I was being criticized and attacked was not. Neither was how some people were using the thread as an opportunity to bicker among themselves because they had differing opinions.
I’m starting to think that social media, texting, and all other forms of quick or partially anonymous communication is eroding how we interact with each other. Online, people seem to feel the freedom to rip each other apart, because they don’t know you and you don’t know them. Obviously some people get a rush out of tearing people down, whether it is someone they know or even a celebrity. It’s a type of bullying that is used just as much by adults as it is by teenagers.
Think Before You Speak
I bet that we have all been the victim of offhand comments that cause a lot of hurt. Over the weekend my husband and I attended a wedding of an old high school friend of his. I knew no one there, so I was already feeling awkward. Then one of the guests, upon being introduced to us, made the assumption that I was pregnant (yeah, I’m not, just bloated). I could tell she felt bad about the comment, but the damage had already been done. I felt self conscious for the rest of the weekend.
If there is something you never make an assumption about or ask about whether you are 100% sure, it is pregnancy. You don’t do it with someone you know, and you most certainly don’t with someone you’ve known for two seconds. I thought that was something that everyone just knew. Maybe not?
I consider myself a pretty opinionated person, but the only person that is ever going to hear all of those opinions is me and sometimes my husband. Having a filter and some tact when you communicate with others doesn’t make you a doormat or a yes man.
It’s all about Me
Some people seem to be so focused on themselves that they are completely unaware of the impact that their words can have. Or perhaps they are and their words are directed for maximum impact. This is the woman that refuses the dessert that you made because “desserts are so fattening” or is always talking about their diet. Who orders a salad and then talks about healthy eating and maintaining their weight while you are downing a burger.
You can say no to dessert or order a salad, that is your choice, and I honestly I don’t really care what you eat or don’t eat. I do have a problem when you are inferring that there something wrong with what I brought to dinner, that I shouldn’t be eating what I am eating, or that I’m “letting myself go.” Your choices are your choices, but I don’t want them forced on me.