helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

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A Thing. That is important, but not secret.

A post I made somewhere else this evening. This isn't 100% applicable to livejournal, though I suppose replace "secret" forum with friends-only post, and you're away...

Here we all are on a "secret" forum - and so we all know that various things are said on the board behind the backs of other people who come here. The nature of gossip is such that it's inevitable that some of the things said in "private" have got back to the people they were said about.

Human nature is such that people often upset each other, without even meaning to. In this text-based conversation, it's impossible to "get" the tone of voice of people whose voices you've never even heard. Emoticons and smilies go some way to help to diffuse that - but not far enough. And so people get upset.

What tends to happen here is that people are afraid to speak out at the person who upsets them. They will either leave the thread & ignore the person who upset them, or bitch elsewhere about the person, or both. It upsets me that people would rather leave than confront a problem, but I think I realised why it happens just now.

What it comes down to is that some people have avoidant personalities. Several of us here have discussed past relationships, and talked about how we got badly burned by an ex. When you've been in an abusive relationship, you get so afraid of any conflict that you learn to rather walk away or gossip elsewhere than confront the person who's upsetting you. This is a reasonable coping technique in an abusive situation. But it doesn't work so well in a community that is supposed to be friendly - where we're supposed to tolerate each other and get along, even if we don't like each other all that much.

The problem with avoidance is that it tars all people with the same brush. You're making the assumption that the person who's upset you has done it on purpose to piss you off. You might even be making the assumption that the person who's upset you is going to turn round and yell at you about something. Avoiding someone doesn't give your former friend the opportunity to apologise or fix the problem; nor indeed, to demonstrate that you were wrong.

If I was in charge of the internet, my golden rule would be that if someone is having a problem with another person monopolising the conversation or asking for a pity party, they should say so. Not assume that the other person is behaving badly on purpose, or even knows they're behaving badly.
Tags: internet drama, introspection

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