Its easy to forget when we are hiding behind a keyboard or an iphone.
I experienced this first-hand yesterday when an offhanded comment really really hurt my feelings. It totally wasn't a big deal, at all. But it did.
The person reached out and apologized (and so did a couple other people who saw the comment and thought it was a little off), I thought all was done and good...
But then when I realized that the person who hurt my feelings, had no idea why I was hurt, I lashed out and found myself being the person I never want to be... the person that argues with someone on the internet. I wanted her to understand me. It never ends well arguing on the internet, no one is ever happy and it is ultimately a total waste of time and energy.
I became engrossed on proving my point when there was no need or reason to. I am pretty sure she was doing the same. I was hurt, she was sorry but it just kept going and going. No one was right, no one was wrong. But we both wanted to be right.
I got a headache, I had this pit in my stomach and knew that it was all related to this exchange. I knew that I was not a totally innocent victim in this, I too fed into the miscommunication and the need to be right. But it felt like something bigger.
On a deeper level, I started to worry that I had unintentionally offended or hurt anyone, ever. Like ever ever. You know that rabbit hole of self-doubt and fear you go through when you feel a bit wounded? Yeah, that was me x100 last night.
What if I offended someone that had welcomed me into their home with by posting about how I like my guest room? What if I offended my friend who had given me a shirt by posting about a different shirt? What if I didn't hear someone say hello to me and I didn't respond? What if, what if, what if?
So what can we do about it?
Finallyyyyyyyyyyy I was able to snap myself out of it, with the help of a good friend who reminded me that I am indeed not everyone's cup of tea, AND THAT IS A GOOD THING.
It is hard enough communicating face to face with someone you know on a deeply intimate level, so why do we just assume that others - who have no context of our lives- know what we are trying to share in 180 characters or less?
Who are they to know what we really mean when we type our friends an inside joke on their Facebook walls? What we are trying to gain when we "vague-book"? When we use slang specific to our generation, geographic location or other demographic?
How's anyone to know our intention behind our words?
I have decided that the only way that anyone could possibly understand me, is to stay true and authentic to myself and my message. By staying true to my message people will know what I mean even if I might misspeak or mistype. They will get to know me as more than hands behind a keyboard. Additionally, to further allow my audience to know my intention, I am choosing to take this as a big fat learning experience and working harder to always "say what I mean, and mean what I say" online and offline.
I would really like to open up this topic for conversation with others that use a lot of words on the internet - and I use alot... (my Grammarly app told me it scanned 14700 words between Monday and Tuesday of this week - side note if you don't have that installed on your computer and you write anything at all on your computer - get it. Game. Changer.).
How do you get over these communication hurdles?
How do you keep your voice consistent, understood, and strong?
How do we get over ourselves more often and simply say "I'm sorry"? How do we know when to push the subject vs back off and agree to disagree?
XOXO | (from a slightly discouraged) SLL