On it’s face, it wasn’t an offensive comment. In fact, everyone had a the best of intentions.
I’m part of a private Facebook group. Actually, several, but this one in particular is a group of people brought together by our connection to a popular comedian. The group is people that he’s met over the years and enjoys interacting with. So, we’re all strangers, and yet friends of friends.
The group, or forum has a single rule. It’s best described as “Don’t be a jerk.”
This group is, if not unique on the internet, at least not the norm. To help the group get to know each other, we have “theme days.” Monday is “Plug Yourself” day. Anyone that has anything exciting coming up, tells us about it. We share each others successes.
Tuesday is “Today I Learned.” We sometimes point out the trivial, or the inane. Other times, it’s something more interesting. On Fridays, of course, it’s talk of the coming weekend and plans.
But, it’s Wednesday that gets the most traffic. Wednesday is “Pet Peeve” day. They are pet peeves, or things that angered us, or upset us. Some are serious. Some are trivial. They are literally pet peeves.
And that’s the fun of it. In most situations you are discouraged from sharing your pet peeves. Many of them are “first world problems.”
One young man shared an experience from work. A coworker had spoken harshly to him. He let it get to him for a couple of days. It caused some issues with his boss.
This was exactly what Pet Peeve Wednesday was designed for. Several people chimed in with appropriate affirmations. One person offered advice on how to deal with the stress.
I try deep breathing. Work on minimizing the stress of it and let it go.
I fail to see how that is relevant to my situation.
I was just trying to help. And if you don’t see how it’s relevant, that’s cognitive dissonance.
It was a mild disagreement, but surprisingly even among strangers in our little group. And it got worse.
I talk about a problem and you throw it back as my problem and tell me to just practice deep breaths. If I told you my coworker had punched me in the face, would you offer the same advice?
I’m a trained psychologist. This is what I do. Now I understand why Republicans think Liberals are such snowflakes.
There was some harsher language included as well.
We called a brief huddle of the moderators in a private Messanger chat. A couple of us reached out to him and explained the problem. Publically we issued a warning.
I tried to think about why this issue had escalated. I finally figured it out and posted a comment, not directed at anyone in particular, but obviously aimed at the previous conversation.
Remember, that unless someone asks for help getting over their pet peeve, this thread is really about rants.
We are all an expert in something and sometimes the tendency is to jump in and solve a problem we are experienced with. However, sometimes people just want to rant.
That’s what this thread is for.
We’re all friends here.
I think the advice extends beyond that small internet group. We all want to feel validated. Many of us just want to help other people. And sometimes, we know exactly how to help them.
But, we need to understand that sometimes people just want to vent.
Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.
(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved