When I joined Facebook years ago it was because I’d trained as a Medium with many amazing people who lived all over the UK or abroad. I didn’t want to lose contact with them and one of them put me onto Facebook and I thought “why not”, it seemed perfect.
I did link up with them and many more people, some of whom have become real flesh-and-blood friends, some of whom remain 2D on my computer screen, and others of which I don’t see anything about but they’re still there and that’s great. To me people are valuable and I am happy to be linked with them even if I don’t hear from them.
However, like many people I have found that the quality of communication on Facebook, and other social networking sites to be fair, has gradually deteriorated to the point where going on there can just be hurtful.
I’m not talking about trolls, I’m talking about ordinary people who seem to be unable to express an opinion without being unkind. It seems that the days are gone when you just say “I’ve never been much of a Royalist” or “It’s always lovely that a baby is born healthy but it doesn’t really affect me”. No, nowadays some people have to state their beliefs in the most unkind and insulting way possible, and then get into bun-fights of ever-increasing viciousness with people who are just asking that others be kind and perhaps say nothing if they have nothing good to say.
It can be particularly harrowing when these people are also spouting about knowledge they think they have, loads of people tell them they’re completely wrong and add links to prove it, and still they won’t have it.
What’s the answer though? How do those of us who believe in kindness deal with the wealth of unkindness and misery that these people create.
- Understand that they are angry. We don’t know why but they are so accept it. They don’t know you, you don’t know them, so accept that whatever they say – you haven’t done anything wrong.
- Understand that some people will criticise anyone with money or status just because they haven’t got it. Don’t try to change their minds, you’ll just land up exhausted.
- Realise that many people don’t know what they don’t know, but they do know what they think they know and because they believe they know it they will say it. Try to offer evidence (not opinions) once, and if your information is not welcome then stop.
- Allow yourself to be different. Yes, I mean YOU not them. There is no allowing other people to do or be anything (inside the law of course), there is only allowing yourself to quietly be a different person.
- Stay away from their pages.
- Remember that the feeling is inside them not you!
- Use the facilities that social networks offer, take them off your news feed, unfriend them, block them. It won’t do them any harm but it will stop you seeing their anger on your news feed.
Lastly, and most importantly, if you continue reading their bile and fighting their opinions ask yourself one question – Why?
I know that I do it in the interests of kindness, fairness, and as much truth as it is possible to know. I know that I do it because people make unfair remarks that have no basis in fact and I want to defend those who can’t defend themselves. What I have to remember is that if they wanted to they could and they are so used to that kind of behaviour that rather sensibly they focus on the lovely people they meet and let the determined loathers get on with it. We could learn a lot from the famous!
At the end of the day instead of struggling ask yourself one question – how long am I going to let them upset me when there is an ‘unfriend’ button waiting to be clicked.
Wishing you happy days, peaceful nights, and fast reactions