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Confessions of The Original Online Junkie: How to Avoid Internet Road Rage II

Last time, I went over a few key steps in improving communication online. As I started writing and thoughts poured out for the first installment on How to Avoid Internet Road Rage, it quickly became evident that the topic was much more broad than I had anticipated. Let’s continue where I left off last time, shall we?

 

  1. Respond, don’t react. Someone said something that struck you the wrong way. Take a deep breath, pray…maybe walk away for a few minutes, but always try to respond to a conversation and avoid reacting. It’s easy to resort to knee-jerk reactions when we’re angry or over emotional. Not that us gals are easily angered or emotional. Puh-shaw! Never! Yeah, anyway. Avoid angry impulse writing, mmkay?
  2. DON’T BE “LE WILD CAPS LOCK” PERSON!! IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE SCREAMING AT PEOPLE. Ooops! ::adjusting own caps lock:: Ah, better. So, yeah. If you want people to read what you’re writing, use capitals the way they’re meant…and sparingly for effect. In my experience, people tend to gloss over all caps comments. If you really have a love affair with caps lock, be sure to remember October 22, or Caps Lock Day, and then go wild, friend. GO NUTS WITH THE CAPS LOCK!
  3. Apologize when necessary. Ack! You said something you didn’t mean to and now it’s biting you in the butt. That’s where apologizing comes in. Rarely, RARELY is there any conversation where one person is completely in the wrong and the other is completely in the right. It takes a bit of humble pie to put aside the notion that we were completely right by admitting our contribution to the derailing of the discussion. While it’s a nice thought to apologize publicly, it’s not necessary and a private message can go far. The other person may not be willing to accept your apology or continue to blast you, even privately. Still, offer your apology and toss up a prayer for them, that God will calm the anger in their heart – then move on and let the issue slide off your back like water off a duck. ::note: letting it roll off is not as easy for us gals – guys, this should not affect you any longer than oh…a nanosecond?::
  4. Start by prefacing. Though it’s not always possible to avoid offending people – in fact, there will always be someone who chooses to be offended when there is nothing offensive to extract – do your best to preface your words to diffuse potential conflict. Keeping in mind from the previous post, assume charity in others and expect others to do the same for you and you have a recipe for a fruitful conversation.
  5. Don’t lay out the Costco-sized bag of troll kibble. Also known as feeding the drama llama. If you know what I mean, then you know what I’m getting at. Trolls. Ah, good old internet trolls. Who doesn’t love them? Also known as pot stirrers, troublemakers, people who…probably just need a hobby, but mostly they are there to derail your conversation and have zero interest in contributing to the topic at hand. They look to get everyone’s dander up and then sit back, exit silently, and watch the fur fly. The best way to avoid these personalities is to disengage and ignore. Starve their drama llama.
  6. Use “pet names” sparingly. very. sparingly.  You probably mean well, but this doesn’t translate well online. I grew up in East Texas and while I can literally hear the word sug the way it’s intended – short for sugar, sounds like “shoog” and comes with its own glass of sweet tea – it usually comes across online as condescension. I love to use these words, but I generally only reserve them for friends who know me for REALZ and would not take it as anything other than my being endearing.
  7. Talk privately. Sometimes a conversation can continue, but it would be more fruitful if it’s private. Public discussions can get long, windy, and people lose their place. If you connect with someone who wants to have a genuine conversation, private message them away from the chaos of the public wall so that the focus of the conversation remains and doesn’t get derailed by the drama llama.
  8. Learn to agree to disagree. It’s ok to disagree with someone. Honest. It may not feel that way in the moment and you may want to right fight to the bitter end, but sometimes {almost always} it’s better to preserve the friendship {which is way more fun and nurturing in the first place} than to beat people over the head with the right stick.
  9. Learn. Just learn. Commit to learning. Even when you disagree with someone, ask yourself What can I learn from this situation? How could I have handled myself better? He mentioned a great book he read when learning about x, y, and z…I should pick that up! Adopting an attitude that commits you to challenge yourself to grow with each conversation can help you look at your communication style differently.
  10. Be true to yourself. In other words, don’t be Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Keep in mind that when having a conversation with someone in person vs. online your presence on both should be relatively similar. Of course not accounting for the occasional fluctuation of off days here and there, most people who know you should confidently be able to say you are the same in real life {IRL} as you are online. Why is this important? Well, it ties into the idea that if you wouldn’t be brash and in someone’s face to their actual face, then it stands to reason that we would want to strive to come across in the same way online.

 

So, there you have it! You are ready to tackle the comboxes with renewed enthusiasm and you will never make any mistakes, right? 😉 I know these days, I am rarely that invested in a topic anymore – many, many, MANY minutes/hours/days wasted on what usually amounted to fruitless arguments led to the ability to detach myself from pointless emotions. In fact, one glance up from my computer to look at all the crayons strewn about, Mt. Washmore staring me down and hungry kids pecking on the floor for scraps of food snap me back to what is more important. Cleaning! No, the kids. Wait. Kids who clean?

In my next installment, I will venture into no-man’s land by talking about parenting ::DUN DUN DUN!!!!:: teenagers online {said in loud ominous voice – start your prayers now, folks!}. Recognizing that I was also a teen at the time of the birth of the public internet, this should make for an interesting topic. Until next time, friends!

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About Martina Kreitzer

Martina is a cradle Catholic, wife to Neil, and mother to seven kiddos here {and three in heaven}– 4/96-1/17. She decided to homeschool the kiddos in 2010 after many years in public schools and is currently transitioning out of homeschooling. She is the creator of Catholic Sistas which focuses on a feminine perspective of the Catholic Faith. The website was the result of an existing camaraderie by the contributors in a Catholic women’s group she created. She is also a Seal of Approval evaluator for the Catholic Writers Guild. Lest you think she spends all her time online, Martina has enjoyed getting out into the community by serving on the Pastoral Council from 2010-2013. She is constantly on the lookout to make her parish as welcoming as the small town she grew up in East Texas. This task is not easy given that St. William is the largest parish in the Austin diocese, serving well over twenty thousand parishioners. She loves Jesus, coffee, bacon, chocolate, photography, more bacon, evangelizing, and the company of those unafraid to use their sense of humor.