I've been thinking a lot about it and how I keep falling back into old habits --arguing with people, reacting too quickly, and eventually being a part of ruined trust. I write my opinions and then get upset when people don't like my opinions, as if everyone is supposed to agree with me. *shaking head*
I've decided to share some rules that can help navigate the ins and outs of effective communication online and hopefully help show why people (ahem, me?!) get upset when trying to communicate with others (I'll be taking notes because I need to work on these things, myself. Like, a lot, oh, and FYI --this is not directed towards any individual. I promise. These are simply a culmination of experiences I've had over the last decade, and more than one recent experience has prompted me to write this):
*Don't shame people for their choices. Everyone is different. Vastly. Even when some things are similar, there's no possible way it will be exactly the same.
*Use intentional language. If you didn't intend for something to come across in a certain way, then re-word it until it represents your intentions.
*If you apologize, do it sincerely --saying, "I'm sorry you got offended" is not an apology, it's passive aggression. A good example of an apology would be: "I'm sorry I got so upset. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings."
*Speaking of passive aggression, please use concrete communication. Write what you mean and mean what you write. Being vague, dropping hints, asking rhetorical questions, etc. don't work very well.
*Do not give out advice unless it was asked for, or if you really feel you want to share, please begin your advice by saying, "this may not work in your situation, but here's what helped me in mine."
*If you are not close to the person in question, don't make assumptions. Even if you are close to the person, still don't make assumptions. Never assume anything.
*Forgive easily. Even when someone chooses to use shaming language, passive aggression, horrible apologies, and self-righteous advice, let it go. Move on. Dwelling on it makes your life miserable, not theirs.
One thing that social media has taught me is that people are not always who they are online, and that can be a good thing or a very bad thing. It has also taught me what true friendship looks like. I'm also learning who cares about me as a person and who cares about their own ideas. Even the best intentions can be laced with self-aggrandizement --and I know this, because I'm guilty of it.
So, so guilty of it, dear reader.
But luckily, I'm also learning about forgiveness and how essential it is --because we all mess up during communication. In fact, I think communication may be the one area where we are all generally lacking. We, none of us, are perfect, and so even though learning to communicate kindly and effectively is important, we still need to cut each other a bit of slack from time to time.
So, there you go! Maybe my bad habits will start to disappear if I read this several times a day.