Some people I’ve met have asked me, “How have you managed to stay cool in front of mean people?” or something along the lines of that.
A lot of my reactions to mean guys have not involved cursing at them or saying something mean back. Before, that’s what I did, except for the cursing part because I don’t like cursing. Nowadays, I have to keep cool and if I have to respond to them, I make sure that it won’t get into a war. In that context, few wars involving me happen now. And if it does get into a war, I won’t pull out a gun loaded with some of the meanest insults. I try not to.
The reason for this has to do with the Internet, and keeping a blog. I’ve noticed that on the Internet, people show an extremely raw, brash, form of themselves that isn’t usually shown on the street, talking on the phone, or in writing a letter with pen put to paper. People can say the worst things online. For example, on Yahoo News, one time there was this Canadian lesbian wedding, and a bride’s coworker came with his girlfriend. The guests gave a basket of marshmallow fluff, candies, olive oil, crackers, and other quick food. This was all done with the best of intentions. While I think this gift might not have been the most appropriate gift, the brides weren’t the most thankful towards the guests who gave it. They said something like, “I spent soooooo much for this wedding and we get this???? People give envelopes at weddings. Ew.” Their response was texted. Also: “Weddings are supposed to make money for your future. Not to pay for people’s meals!!!!!”
First, I really think the brides should have written thank you notes to all their guests, instead of texting. And even in their texts (which isn’t really on the Internet but it’s similar), they didn’t say a proper thank you. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t say that face to face.
In communicating with people online, I’ve had to deal with insults, snaps, and angry tones like that. Luckily I haven’t had to deal with threats yet. But I’ve had to understand that keeping a blog and a Twitter will not be immune to crass sarcasm and brash words. Sometimes, people say something without meaning to sound unfriendly, although it does sound unfriendly. So if I don’t need to respond to something or the comment doesn’t follow the comment guidelines, I delete it. If the comment sounds unfriendly and critical but the person seems like he or she wasn’t trying to be like that, then I try responding nicely. Things on the Internet can come out differently to other people. I try not to let my emotions write a comment back even if my feelings are hurt. Now, if something persists, I say, “Please stop. You are making me uncomfortable.”
Then I noticed that this transferred over to the real world of flesh and blood. I noticed it is more effective because the person gets embarrassed that he or she said something that obviously made me uncomfortable but didn’t get much of a reaction. Hee hee.