Try Not To Take Things Personally

Back in 2011 I wrote a post titled Taking Twitter Unfollows Too Personally. In that article, I talked about the strange reaction Chris Brogan received when he decided to unfollow all the people he’d been connected to, even though his reasoning was pretty just at the time. I was pretty amazed that all those people took it personally, even though he wrote about it to explain what he was doing.

Amnesty 20p books - 2
Caroline via Compfight

You know what? I’m going to admit that there are times when I struggle with not taking things personally. Sure, sometimes things do get personal, and in those instances you have to deal with it directly in some fashion; my favorite way, at least on social media, is to block people so I don’t have to bother with them anymore. It keeps me from saying something rude or from escalating things to an extreme.

Every once in a while I stay calm and try to diffuse a situation, especially when I don’t really know the people I’m suddenly in conflict with. For instance, last October I got into a confrontation with a couple of millennials about something called Gamergate. I let them fuss and fume, called them on a couple of things they said, let them calm down and then had a nice conversation with them that ended well. I could have really gone off the deep end but in that case I felt it was better to see if I could find a way to talk to them instead.

Of course I could bring things closer to home by talking about people I know. In at least 3 cases now I’ve asked people if I could interview them, only to see them do their first interviews with someone else. Each person started off with something like “I’d be too nervous to do an interview” or “I don’t know what I’d say”. Each of them I pursued more than a couple of years. Eventually, well, I already stated what happened.

Now, I could take it personally, wonder what I might have done, wondered if I wasn’t as compelling a person to be interviewed by them and sulked. Truthfully, I did sulk briefly each time I found out about it. Then I moved on; after all, I’ve interviewed a good number of people anyway, including one of the people I’ve talked about above.

One of those things we all have to learn sometimes is that it’s not always about us. Sometimes it’s timing. Sometimes a person is having a bad day and decides to take it out on you. Just last week I was having a conversation with a guy on Twitter about something and he said he was tired of being called a racist. I said I hadn’t called him one. He looked back through his stream, saw that I hadn’t (I hadn’t even come close lol), and apologized for his overreaction. His assumption that, based on what he was saying at the time, was that I was going to call him one, which was strange because I’d began the conversation by saying I agreed with him on something. lol

It’s hard enough in one’s real life to not take everything personally. It can be harder on social media, especially since we can’t always see someone’s facial expressions and, let’s face it, the English language is so goofy that you can look at a sentence and take it many different ways sometimes, depending on how you’re reading it at the time (proper punctuation might help; just a suggestion…).

In any case, give it a shot and see if it makes you feel better and helps you communicate better online. Meanwhile, check out the video below, where I had something happen last year that irked me so much that I had to wonder if some people just aren’t meant for social media; lates!
 


https://youtu.be/dA6uaLsEJNE

 

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Are You Reacting To Things Properly?

A couple of days ago I got included into a conversation on Google Plus that had nothing to do with me. I was included because the topic was something this person figured I would know something about, and based on some of the comments on the post I know she figured someone had to give a dose of reality, and it was going to be me. lol

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What’s your reaction
to me holding this baby?

The post began with a guy saying he’d created a phone app that would help those who downloaded it find black businesses for services they needed. He said if it went over well that he could develop it for other types of ethnic businesses later on.

Almost immediately the conversation broke down between white and black lines, with white people saying they didn’t understand why such a thing was needed and that it was racist (way off the mark; obviously don’t know the definition of racism) and black people defending it saying they thought it was a great idea and could hardly wait to use it.

I left my comment with statistics and a dose of reality because that’s how I roll. I complimented the guy for creating the app and said that if he could make it work for other groups that would be a good thing as well. Eventually the statement came that I knew was coming because it always comes: “When will someone create an app for white businesses?” I responded directly to that one by saying “They did; it’s called every other app in the world!”

This isn’t a post to debate whether it’s a racial thing or not, and I hope that doesn’t end up being the only response it gets, like my last post only got responses about diabetics and the like because I mentioned diabetes. Instead, it’s a post that questions when and where people decide to get mad and upset at things and wonders if sometimes people go over the edge because they have other things going on at that moment, or just because they don’t know any better.

A case in point is the Sandy Hook shooting back in December. On that day, some nutcase, who had already killed his mother, walked into an elementary school and shot 20 children and six adults before taking his best shot and shooting himself in the head. A horrible tragedy that I’m sure anyone would agree to. But within a day the situation had devolved into a discussion of whether there should be more or no gun control; little about the kids and teachers who lost their lives. The same type of reaction and discussion came after the Boston Marathon bombing and there weren’t even any guns on that day.

Then early this week there was a video of a phone call (sounds weird but many of you might already know about this) where a guy had ordered a pizza from Papa John’s in his hometown (same town where Trayvon Martin was killed) and got a mistaken call from the guy who delivered it where the guy was saying all sorts of racist stuff about the guy, complaining that he “only” got a $5 tip on a $14 order (that’s a great tip by the way) and ranted and sang racial epithets for about 4 1/2 minutes, all left on this guy’s phone.

He put up the video, really didn’t comment on it when he did it, and it went viral. When the comments came, some were in support of him but at least 35% to 40% were against him saying he was looking for publicity or money or that he should have handled it quietly instead of putting it out in the open like that. Of course the racists came out and called him and all the rest of us (including me) all sorts of names.

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What about the baby’s
reaction looking at me?

I thought about the different types of reactions and how it seems this world has gotten so polarized that even when one thinks the entire world will know the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong it seems that we don’t know each other all that well at all. Some of the things we react to are either overblown or unnecessary; why is that?

I’ve been working hard in 2013 to reduce the amount of noise that comes my way that could possibly stress me out. In a post I wrote about the Dr. King Holiday back in January I mentioned that I was working towards personal peace and had stopped watching the news. I also stopped following a few people on Twitter and blocking certain topics on Facebook that were more inflaming than I wanted in my life.

I still know what’s going on in the world but I now get to decide how much effort I’m going to put into knowing it all. Therefore, I know nothing about Jody Arias except she was found guilty, I know there have been horrible tornadoes but I’ve kept myself from obsessing about them (especially since I’m consulting in an area known for tornadoes; oh joy), and I have no real idea what’s happening regarding the sequester (nope, not a thing).

I’ve found that my reactions to most things are pretty much in line with how I used to be before I became an information monster. It’s suiting me well, and I’m happy with how things are working out. Will there be the occasional time where I’m going to go off on something? Sure; after all, I have blogging and videos to put out right? Have to be interesting in some fashion.

Some folks might think this is the same type of thing I talked about in my post on reacting to potential negativity but it’s not. In this instance I’m not saying everything that people react to badly is negative; just their reactions might be. We all need to take more time to evaluate some situations, some news, some commentary, and some blog posts to make sure what we say fits what’s really going on.

And then maybe there won’t be reactions to what someone writes like some of what I got back when I wrote this post years ago on the topic of modesty; now there was a case of some folks personalizing something that I never saw coming. 🙂 By the way, if you like this post please share it in your social media spaces; I think it’s a topic worth exploring further and I always forget to ask for the share.
 

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Reacting To Potential Negativity

We all have to deal with the negativity of others from time to time. That’s just how life is; nothing stays perfect for long, if it ever reaches perfect.

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Diego Diaz via Compfight

Something I’ve always recognized, yet haven’t handled as well as I wish I had, is that sometimes the negativity I experience is more my perception of what someone else has done rather than their intention. Let me explain by using an example.

I have a friend I went to college with who was also my roommate in senior year. He’s a funny guy and we’ve always had a lot of fun together. However, he also has a mean streak that sometimes irritates me; he rarely used it on me, though it was back in college. He’s not the kind of guy who necessarily sees the best in people; some folks just have to live their lives like that unfortunately, but usually his heart is in the right place.

Every once in awhile he’ll comment on something I put on Facebook, as it’s the only social media thing he cares about. Sometimes the comment is relatively normal. Sometimes it seems, well, spammy, based on what we would consider as spam in blog comments. When he does that I get really irritated, and one day on the phone I asked him why he does that sort of thing. His response; he thinks it’s funny.

Here’s the thing. No matter what he says or how he says it, I’m responsible for my reaction to it. I know the guy, more than 30 years, and I know what he’s like. In person, if he said something I’d just look at him and move on. But online, sometimes I work too hard on protecting my reputation in public spaces when there’s nothing to protect. At least not so much that I need to get upset about it; who agrees with that statement?

It’s in that vein that I decided to do the video below because this past week I’ve been watching a lot of videos on YouTube that weren’t from my normal channels and I’ve been amazed at some of what I’ve seen and how people have reacted to it. Sometimes we really can learn something from young people.

After the video I’d like to know how you respond to negativity of others, both in public and online. I’m working on it and I’m getting better, but I’m not quite there yet; I have 50 years of stuff to work on. 🙂



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtMN7e0HVMA

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Mitch Mitchell