Think back to such a situation: if the gloves were off, how you really would have liked to have dealt with them?
I have had to interact with so many unpleasant people in my life and community in the last five to seven years that I no longer choose to anymore unless they are unavoidable. I don’t care to engage in negative interaction anymore. I don’t want to. I don’t like how it affects my mental or spiritual health. I don’t like how it can potentially affect my family. Instead, I would much rather use my time for a better reason.
If these people end up in my writing somewhere, that’s not my problem, right? Their negativity and personalities simply became tiny figments of my imagination. This doesn’t mean, however, I won’t confront people when I need to. It simply means I am more selective in my battle cries.
I will rarely launch one of my full range Beatrice-style missiles against someone unless I have become fully engaged. Minor irritations don’t usually amuse me more than anything and this comes from my experience as a teacher. As I would tell new teachers, “Students can’t get your goat if you don’t bring your goat to school.” Unpleasant pleasant don’t meet my inner-Beatrice if they don’t insist on arguing certain social issues. I”m not looking for a Benedict to trade witty barbs with in hopes of falling in love, I’m looking for people to quit being dicks.
Strangely enough, in the “real life” world I don’t find unpleasant people around me. Admittedly, I don’t look for them, but I also don’t trip over them either. I don’t get flipped off in traffic. I don’t get yelled at in stores or parking lots. I small talk with many people every day and I find them all to be pleasant and good people. Social media is an entirely different experience. One of three things could be happening here: All the jerks are online and all the nice people are not, people online act like jerks online and might be nice in real life, or it’s a combination of these factors. Which could possibly mean that everyone is a liar.
Sure, there is the likely theory that people feel safer in being a jerk online because they can hide behind a screen. Yet even on Facebook where there is some semblance of a profile and transparency I find a whole lot of jerkiness.
And I don’t have patience for it when it’s an issue I care about. Most recently, I went head to head with a woman on a friend’s Facebook timeline who contended that a people “like” Mike Brown and Tamir Rice “deserved” to get shot. I am not one to let that go. I also realize that I am not the one who will convince this supposedly Christian woman otherwise. Instead I simply state my position and call it a night.
I’m a busy woman with a family to raise and projects to work on. I don’t care for politicking. I much rather be plain spoken so people know where I stand and I know where they stand. I have been known to apologize to people for thinking poorly of them in the past and realizing my hasty judgment. I hope others would treat me the same but I know that they don’t. In fact, to say I’ve been treated poorly by members of my community would be a horrifying understatement. I can’t control other people’s responses or behaviors though. I can only understand mine and what provokes how I treat others. I also believe that if I try to fight every single battle then it will dilute the meaning in my energy. If I fight everything then that means I will fight for anything. And that means there is no significance to any of my words.
And who can write with gloves on anyway?