De-Stressing Life By Not Commenting

Two weeks ago on my business blog, I wrote a post titled Do We Have To Talk To Each Other? The premise of the post was that there are times when it’s probably better not to have interactions with someone else because not every person you encounter has to be deemed as someone you have to have a crucial conversation with. If it’s work related in a company and you need to do business, that’s one thing, but in your personal life, why would you want to consistently go through that type of thing?

Conflict by Rishi S

here are things I normally don’t like to discuss, but every once in a while, in my own space, I’ll get off a bomb here and there.

For instance, I don’t like the way the state of politics is in our country right now. Suffice it to say, my politics is totally against the party of “no”, and I don’t like how they’ve consistently lied to the American public about health care and about President Obama personally. I was particularly intrigued by this post on The Slate titled Why Won’t Any Republicans Condemn the “Obama is a Muslim” Myth? Don’t even let me start talking about this thing with the guy who’s going to be burning Quran’s (they keep changing the spelling of this thing; someone needs to decide on it one way or another and leave it be) this weekend, because my overall take wouldn’t be what someone might expect from me.

Having said that, I’ve realized over time that there are some battles you just can’t win, especially online. It’s not necessarily whether you’re correct or not. It has to do with distance and perspective.

Back in the early 90’s I was on bulletin board systems, the early versions of forums for those of you too young to remember. There was this particular forum I was in where some people came in just to be naysayers and cause trouble. They weren’t overly interested in the topic or in discussing issues; they just wanted to jam up the works.

This one guy in particular got on my nerves so much that I decided I was going to track him down. And I did; guess what? It turned out he was only a 90-minute drive away.

I got his real name, got his address and phone number, and I was ready to go. But I decided instead to let him know I had his information and that I just might pop down for a “face to face conversation” (sometimes I have a mean streak; I’m working on that lol).

In the forum I outed him, with his real name and the dorm he lived in; yes, he turned out to be a college student. I didn’t give his phone number or the name of the college, but he knew I had the goods on him. He wrote back saying if I showed up he would call the police and have me arrested for harassment, and that he would sue me for everything I had; good thing I had nothing back then. He deleted his account and never bothered any of us again. It didn’t stop anyone else, but I had my proof.

People tend to behave differently in person than they do online. Not everyone of course; I’ve met some wonderful people. But nasty people are a different matter. They’re not trying to be civil; they don’t care about you or your space. It may not always seem to be intentional, but there are patterns that happen, “track record” as I like to call it.

Sometimes, it’s not that drastic. There are some of us who just can’t get along with others. It’s unknown what the reason is, but it happens.

I have an interesting track record myself. People who meet me say that if you can’t get along with me, you have a problem. I appreciate that, but I also know I’m not every person’s cup of tea.

I’m a bit too politically correct for many. I’m also a bit of a hothead when I feel it’s justified, and I go for the throat. I’ve told friends that it’s never good enough to get even; you have to go for the jugular so you never have to deal with it again. That’s a concept the book Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card captured perfectly; it’s a great book and one I’d recommend to anyone who likes science fiction that’s not too far away from the world we could recognize. It’s a reason I’ve only ever had 2 practical jokes pulled on me and why I ended up having few fights as a kid.

Peace by lintmachine

However, I’ve come to an epiphany at this juncture. I’m now 51, and I know that realistically I’ve lived more than 2/3rds of my life. I have the right to decide if I want to spend any of that time arguing with people whose minds I’m never going to change or just leaving it alone and keeping some peace in my life. I’ve decided I’m going to try to go the peaceful route. If I feel that I’m starting to get mad at something, I’m going to leave it be, at least as it pertains to me. I need to work harder on de-stressing my life by not commenting.

If I feel the need to come to someone’s defense, I’m still going to do that; trying to save the world, as my wife says, but my big 3 are loyalty, respect, and trustworthiness. I’m loyal to my friends and people I like; I hope I’ve proven that often enough over the years both online and offline.

So, if you don’t see me respond to a certain post here and there, trust me, it’s probably a good thing. Social media has brought the world closer, but it’s also brought a lot of people together who aren’t really prepared to play well with each other sometimes. On Twitter I’m sometimes more political than I want to be; I think I’ve struck the correct balance on this blog. I tend to think that all of us have to try to take some time to look at what we see when we’re being responded to, but we also have to be ready to defend ourselves as well as try as best we can to get our proper message across. I add a smiley face a lot, or a “lol” to make sure people take what I’m saying as tongue in cheek fun. If you misunderstand that, I’m not giving a second chance anymore. I need to de-stress my life.

Who’s with me on this one?

34 thoughts on “De-Stressing Life By Not Commenting”

  1. I’m scratching my head on this one.

    if I have something to say, whether it adds to the post or not, I say it. There is one site that I visit all of the time because I like the writer but I disagree with about 75% of the content … when he goes “there”. Trust me, Mitch, I’m known on that site for the passion I have in what I believe in and what I stand for. I may be one of the few blacks that visit and I have to be the ONLY democrat and then, let’s not forget , I’m a vegan! lol

    I would only be stressed if I didn’t comment! Yesterday, I commented on a post about “Those Darn Christians” and I was fired up by the time I got finished writing … to the point that I got off Twitter for the day. Is that what you mean by de-stressing? I’m like Denzel in the movie, Philadelphia … I like things explained to me like a 6-year-old. I love parables and puzzles but I have to make sure I get the point. Did I miss it?

    1. Kissie, that’s exactly what I mean. When I start to get angry, it tends to escalate and take over every thought I have for a long time. I want to say something, do say something, and then obsess because I know I could have said it better, harder, and more effectively. In the end I stress way more than it’s worth.

      We see the same types of things, though. I stop following anyone who’s political views are contrary to mine because I don’t need the stress. Actually, if there was actual conversation I’d talk, but there isn’t. We consistently have to deal with “Obama the socialist”, “Obama the Muslim”, “Obama the whatever else you want to throw in there” mess. Frankly, I don’t need to deal with the hate.

  2. Amen! And I’m gonna miss your comments on my blog if this means you’re not going to comment much any more, but I understand your decision 🙂

    Even though I’m probably only (hopefully) 1/3 through my (this?) life, I’ve also given up on most of the fanboy-discussions online because it can NOT be won, no matter what – they have only one purpose: to waste your life. So I try not to engage myself in them too much anymore.

    It feels nice.

    1. Klaus, your blog doesn’t have any topics that I would feel stressed to comment on. As a matter of fact, I don’t see most of my commenting dropping at all, probably .5% at the most. However, I think it’s good to let people know where you stand in general sometimes so they don’t misconstrue why you might not be participating in a discussion sometimes. If things can stay civil,it’s all good. But if it looks like it’s going in a different direction… I’m going to “try” not to get caught up in it anymore.

  3. I hear you! I have come to the decision that I will decide how best to use my time and energy. I do stand up and make myself heard when it is important and I think either I can influence, inform or add something substantial to the discussion. I have twice in the last week written a comment or reply on Twitter that I then deleted and decided to let go. Much calmer as I approach 42…

    1. Good stuff, Royale. I’m not good at deleting something I’ve already written, but that might have to become a part of what I need to do. Write it, stash it, come back to it and see if I’m still feeling the same way. No promises, though. 😉

  4. It’s funny that as I read through your post there are a few political things that popped in my head to comment on, but didn’t since its off the topic of this post and I’m trying to be less political. I couldn’t help but think that that was a perfect example of what you are talking about.

    I think its a good goal to be less abrasive when dealing with certain people and that’s exactly one of my goals too.

    1. Nice having a practical application to apply theories to, isn’t it Keith? lol And it’s not necessarily about being less abrasive, although that’s a part of it, as it is in allowing myself to get really worked up on things that I should be letting go. Overall, I know I’m used to a different standard in person that I don’t get online, if you know what I mean.

  5. The fact that you put so much pressure on yourself is one of the very reasons you’re so good at what you do. But at the same time, you’re right: you have to maintain your health and keep your balance. Sometimes that means picking your battles and not absorbing all that stress directly into your system.

    1. Thanks Charles. I think I hold it together very well most of the time, but you know, there’s this thing I call ‘shields’ that helps keep things in control, and yet there’s a lot of stress in holding those shields in place all the time. I’ll be writing something about that in the near future, I expect.

  6. Hello again Mitch, funny running into you here. So I get where you are coming from but i am the type of person if I feel someone going so to the left about something I feel passionately about, whoa get ready… I just cannot resist. Example, a week or 2 ago there was a post about the Blogger’s license fee in Philly (I think)on Outspoken Media, and our own Dazzlin Donna @ BloggerLuv posted that someone was rude to her and tried to make her feel a certain way and it made her sad. My automatic instincts where “Oh no they Didn’t” minus the head roll. So I clicked on the link she posted and it was a grand ol conversation going on there. I saw where Donna had commented I believeit was a total of 3 times and where someone responded to her each time. I felt a challenge come on. Albeit I am NO pro blogger whatsoever, and I really didn’t know the facts but I read every comment and then summed it up in my mind my “new” view and posted it. I even threw in the word “ignorant” as well as something else so I could be sure to get a response. Atlas I was disappointed, no one had anything to say about what I said, not even a “You don’t know what you are talking about” But it felt good defending Donna’s honor, I guess I felt I was doing so. I know that’s not what you were talking about and sorry If i threw this off track but I would have felt stressed coming by and not commenting. 🙂

    1. Actually, you didn’t go off topic at all because you hit my points. You supported a friend of yours, but if it had just been you it’s possible you wouldn’t have commented at all. Of course, I commented in a couple of places against that Philly blogger fee as well; moronic if you ask me, and I’m so glad I don’t live there because of stuff like that. I appreciate your comment here.

  7. Mitch, I’m all for anything that means you stress less. I see stuff on Facebook all the time that I just don’t even bother with because I know I’ll be too riled up by the time I finish commenting. I just hit that unfollow or delete key when I see someone going too much to the left on stuff. I don’t have time to deal with hate, either. I got too many chillun’ (that’s children for you Northerners) running around to deal with that.

    1. DeAnna, I remember your announcing on Twitter that you were going to start unfollowing certain people and I’d already started doing that from the 2008 election season. Sometimes it just takes us a bit longer to decide to do it in other areas as well.

      Chillun’; haven’t used that one in years! lol

  8. I am with you all the way Mitch. Not that your posts give me anything stressful to comment on, most of them are simply not my cup of tea. Some of mine may indeed bug you, but you don’t comment on all of them anyway! Not to worry, I understand, as I hope you will me.

    1. Sure do, Rummuser. I don’t think it’s the posts that will make us upset as much as the possible response one might get from something they write. You (the proverbial) don’t come to my blog, disagree with me and be disrespectful at the same time. You can disagree; heck, I’m expecting someone to disagree with me if I put out an opinion on something. But it’s the delivery that determines whether one gets mad or not.

  9. Wow I think American politics is very different to here. Ours is more like the UK so can’t comment on lots of what you guys talk about; although we do see plenty of what is happening in the US on our television news.
    I think if you have something to say; as long as it is not rude or offensive to the other person then you are entitled to your opinion. Especially on your own blog. I have read some heated discussions on some blogs but they never got offensive. Just people with different views. Then again I have also read posts where people are really rude and just reading the post has upset me. Not my style but we are all different.
    Patricia Perth Australia

    1. Patricia, it’s probably the same everywhere. For instance, on one of his blogs Sire’s always writing his political beliefs, and they’re usually against someone, though I’m not quite sure of Australian politics. lol Things can get heated, and I’m thinking at this point I’m kind of tired of it. You never know when you’re going to get upset with something, however.

  10. My only question is what the hell took you so long to come to this decision. I came to it a fair while back. I will comment on a post and if someone takes a disliking to what I wrote I will try and explain myself and if that doesn’t work I let it go. Life is just too short to put up with that shit.

    As to the pastor burning the Quran, I was shocked when I heard that on the radio this morning. Hasn’t that guy got any brains. Thankfully he’s changed his mind, but even his retraction sounded moronic.

    Anyway, just so you know I found an error in your post 😉

    1. I’m not sure he’s totally retracted yet, Sire; maybe we’ll know more later today.

      As to the “why”, because I’m a fighter by nature. I don’t like the idea that anyone thinks I back down from a confrontation; goes back to the early days. But every year near a birthday I start reflecting on things, and I realize a next step of sorts. So, it was just time now, and that Sunday discussion before my birthday kind of proved it.

  11. That’s fair enough. Why fight a battle that’s not worth fighting. And yes, people are different online, because somehow we think that we are protected by the PC in front of us, and so we can say and be what we’re to afraid to say or be in our real lives.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Mia. The idea for me is to figure out quicker which arguments aren’t worth fighting. 🙂

  12. I figured this out a while ago….there just isn’t time in my day to get riled up about something.

    And I’m a lover, not a fighter….

  13. Definitely agree, it is the same with martial arts, if you can escape from fight it is better. I am getting mad very quickly from pseudo experts or people that don’t know what they are talking about. Usually those people show confidence but do not have any evidence.

    1. Carl, those folks don’t bother me unless they come at me saying my beliefs and thoughts are incorrect, and it’s not done nicely. It’s kind of like SEO; everyone has a theory on it and how it should work, and that’s fine. I’ve been doing it for clients for almost 4 years now, and I do okay with my methods. But I don’t go overboard on anyone because I know most people aren’t ready for the full commitment. But I’ve had some interesting debates on the subject, even recently, and I stick by my thoughts, but at least the conversation was cordial.

  14. I can see that this post is straight from the heart and i dont know why but I became sad while reading it…heh.
    I feel like we see more and more hate and violence in the world and people are arguing more about money, power etc and have forgot that we are all human but we start to resemble more like animals who react from instinct. Maybe a relaxed and calm nature is the best in this kind of conditions.
    I hope my comment doesn’t see `Miss world like` but is just what I think!
    And to be more on topic: I recently stumbled upon a blog where someone was making fun of an ethnic minority(from which I am part of, funny thing is that the poster was one too until he left the region,practically he still is, right?), anyway I left a comment with some harsh words and became angry, but after sometime I relaxed because that kind of people just don’t deserve my attention(or at least this is what i think).

    Offtopic: I think your comment box seems small to me because I am used with one sidebar wordpress themes and your has 2 😀

    1. Alex, I’ve always been about balance, and 2-column themes throw that off in my mind, but that’s just preference.

      As to the other, I don’t think we see more hate and violence; I just think we know about it sooner than before and learn more about it because of the media and, well, social media outlets. And these days, all you need is access to a computer, doesn’t even have to be yours, and you can be spouting an opinion about something within minutes.

      When it comes to race I don’t take prisoners with the discussion; when it comes to many other things, well, that’s a different issue, and one I need to gauge better as to whether I want to take part in or not. If I can say dispassionate about it then it’s all good, but if I’m going to get too closely emotional about it, maybe it’s best to not even get engaged.

  15. I agree with some of the points you raise, though I’ll stay quiet about any polical ones. For what its worth Mitch I think that there are people out there who still think that because they are behind a computer screen they can behave as they would (and possibly wouldn’t do in real life)

    I have encountered a few strange people in the last year or so and my method is to just block them and not respond or say anything if they are acting offensively.

    They soon get the message that way and go and annoy someone else.

    As always good post and a lot to digest


    1. Thanks Peter. I think a good post that highlighted things for me was the one about Askimet and the group of people who are dead set against it. That was an attack post that was also a defense post, and I wasn’t going to back down to anyone on it. It would have to take something that I felt as strongly about for me to write something like that again.

      But in general, I think most of my posts, even those which are opinion posts, are fairly innocuous. Sometimes they’re a bit tongue in cheek. If those posts start generating heated feelings, I’m not going to back down from my post, but at this juncture I’m not going to get caught up in the emotions of it all either. At least I’m going to work hard not to allow that to happen.

      Heck, maybe I need to write a political post so you and Keith can have a place to say what you want to say. lol

  16. “Write” on, dude. All this commenting can suck the life out of you if you let it. Maybe it’s time for all of us to climb back into our shells. Then again, maybe not.

    1. AS, I wouldn’t want to climb back into a shell, and it’s not commenting in general. It’s what one is commenting on and how they’re doing it and whether it’s imperative if it’s stressful at any point in the “discussion”.

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