Welcome to Ask April, a no-nonsense advice column focusing on what it is you can do to correct things that need correcting. While we all know much in life is out of our control, and sometimes, our reaction is all we CAN control- we really do have a lot of personal power, thankfully. Our will is just as important as the wills of others around us, and while we need to be considerate, we also need to make sure others are equally considerate of us. It is my hope that when you write in to me, asking advice, that I can help you make a good decision that somehow improves whatever situation you’ve found yourself in. As with anything I share, I recommend people don’t automatically take my word for anything, but include my advice in with the rest of the things that help them make a decision. I wish you well. Read on.
This is Observational Wisdom.
Nobody likes other people telling them what to think, what to believe, or what to keep quiet. People also don’t like being attacked for what they think. Other people sure seem to love to do it, though, don’t they?
We have all got our right to our opinions, beliefs, and to express them, and it seems like most people are more concerned with sharing everything they think, and demanding everybody agree with them constantly, than listening to other people. This drives me up the wall. Not only do I not care about every little opinion every last human being has, I don’t feel the need to get an audience or approval for mine. I am fully aware other people don’t need to know everything that goes through my mind.
Social Media has become a place where people share not only every opinion on every subject under the sun, but a place where they broadcast their personal business for the whole world to see. If you are a cunt, like me, you browse people’s pages to keep up with your gossip. If you are a hot mess, and spread it all over the place, you can choose to be mad at cunts like me for knowing what you’ve already made public, but you forget that if you don’t tell people your business, they can’t mind it for you.
Our minds , and lives in general are active 24/7. We are always DOING and THINKING something. Social Media will show who is most fascinated with themselves beyond manic selfie posting, and also demonstrates who has the least amount of self control.
One case in point is me. (Speaking of people who are fascinated with themselves.) I have to really watch how I react to some of the things other people post that I feel is ridiculous. I have found the “you win more flies with honey” saying to be true SOMETIMES. If people firmly believe something, and you have evidence that you eloquently share to help educate them, they sometimes attack you with all they’ve got anyhow. I have gotten to the point I only share information if 1) I feel like SOMEBODY will pay attention, even if the person I am responding to won’t. 2) It makes me feel better to share. 3) I feel like it will benefit the greater good for the information to be there. Most of the time, I find it is not worth my time to get involved. If you are the one who provides information that disagrees with what the present herd is chanting religiously about, you become their devil, and will be attacked until they collectively move on to try and destroy somebody else sometimes.
How much do you think that people telling me I am an idiot, I don’t know wtf I am talking about, that I should go fuck myself, or that some unverified internet article says something different than I did makes me change my views, my practices, or anything at all?
What it creates is a negative exchange I never forget, I feel it is a waste of my time, and I don’t have the energy for it. I really think about whether I even want to engage people in online conversation for this very reason.
I was once the ONLY one who had some information some of the other people on an online thread did not have, that they soon proved they did not care about. A handful of them started tagging me to tell me what they thought of me, to “educate me”, and even tell me to basically shut up. They were more concerned with maintaining what they believed minus the information that they rejected without listening. I decided it was not worth my time to argue with them, and said I’d excuse myself so they could agree with one another some more. Some people communicate this way so often, they don’t understand why somebody else would not want to, or see it as unnecessary. The funny part, is in person, I don’t see these folks communicate the way they do online. When you are attacking somebody over the computer, you don’t SEE the person, so you don’t FEEL the realness of them. It is not a nameless computer page reading what you wrote in hostility, but a real person with real feelings who remembers you did it, and wants nothing to do with you in real life as a result.
What I don’t like is seeing people only communicating respectfully with people who say, do, and think all the same things as them. I’ve written that this is the human condition before. I am demonstrating that by avoiding communication with people who communicate in ways I do not like, aren’t I? We have to be open to information that contradicts us or else we become like the guy who sat next to Bill Nye for an interview one time. They asked both men what would change their minds about what they believed to be true. Of Course, Bill Nye said the rational thing, “Evidence.” The other guy said “Nothing.”
Is the goal to hold so fast to beliefs, that when we are presented with contradictory information, we shut it out? Reality does not change based on what we do not know, or what we don’t WANT to be true.
I was talking with one of my favorite people about this topic. He has the same tendency I do, share information in the desire to help people to understand things, but unlike me, he does not care what other people say, or do. I wish I could be more like him in that respect. He says what he wants, how he wants, and when he wants. The result is, some people shut out what he has to say, when they could really benefit from listening to him. Sometimes, your tone and language does not matter. People will shut you out no matter what. Sometimes, it does. Like him, I can be harsh, and snap when I feel like somebody is an idiot. What I observed is if I talk to them like I think they are idiots, they will not hear anything else that I say, and other people observing get repelled as well.
Remember the saying “You win more flies with honey than vinegar” ? You sometimes win NO flies, but honey does win more, right? What draws more flies IS actually vinegar mixed with a tad bit of dish soap, and sugar, but it kills them.
That is what nasty communications do to facilitating understanding. Your belief you are “helping” by sharing what you feel is crucial information actually kills communication if you present it in a hostile manner, and everybody goes away with their heels dug in deeper that they are “right.” Nobody has heard anybody else, but everybody has shared what they think. It’s a massive waste of everybody’s time in the grand scheme of things.
Don’t get me wrong. Not all conversations are worth having. I’m not going to spend time trying to prove love is love to the “god hates fags” people, and I understand not everybody else wants to spend all their time doing so. My point is, if you are going to even bother to get involved in a conversation, don’t just put your views out there, and attack people who don’t say or think all the same things you do. Conversations include everybody, and if you feel it is worth your time to engage, it is worth it to do so in ways that benefit everybody.
I watch people spit at one another, and passive aggressively bash other people on their social media pages over everything under the sun. Then, the very same people call for unity, and inclusion, not realizing it is behavior like theirs that causes the very divisions they are complaining about.
If your only goal in communicating with other people is to show how smart, right, or superior you think you are, I will go ahead and tell you that you are wasting both your time and everybody else’s who you communicate with in this way. People see this and assume you are dumb, wrong, and inferior, even if this isn’t the case.
I find myself unfollowing and deleting people from social media, and my block list is long. I have the right to decide what communications I participate in and which ones I don’t, just the same as everybody else. Like anybody else, I have to watch my tone, and if I don’t, there will be consequences. Sometimes, I accept the consequences, and sometimes I don’t have time to deal with what I feel are stupid assholes who think I’m mean for thinking that of them.
Every day, humanity proves we can’t just “all get along”. Internet squabbling is mild, in the grand scheme of things, but it becomes the biggest thing on earth to some people. Relationships are ruined over nasty things people feel the need to say that they would never say in person, and I can’t see why it is worth it.