I’ve a tenet that I comply with when it comes to social media conflagrations: Don’t add your air to another person’s hearth.
This rule has saved my butt a number of occasions. For instance, throughout one social media snafu, a author responded to a publish I fabricated from an article I’d written, saying she needed to focus on our opposing views—in a Facebook discussion board of hundreds of individuals. The wording and tone of her remark confirmed she wasn’t enthusiastic about an actual dialog, so I didn’t reply. Had I agreed to the request or made a snarky remark like “Get your own damn articles published,” I might have been following her playbook to acquire consideration for herself and undermine me and my work. Should I’ve achieved one thing else? I figured I’d examine with the consultants.
“You did the right thing by not responding,” says Michele Borba, an academic psychologist and creator of Thrivers. “No response is a great response, and often the most powerful response. The person wants the attention, and you are not giving it to them. She clearly wanted to use and undermine you by hijacking your platform. If you shamed her, you would have lost credibility and would be in a position of defending yourself.”
Sameer Hinduja, codirector of the Cyberbullying Research Center agrees, and says, “Whenever we respond to someone trying to insult us, we show we deeply care about their opinion. And then we’ve given them the power to invalidate us.”
Not responding on social media may be one of the best ways of exhibiting energy, reasonably than lending your voice and power to the noise. In truth, analysis printed within the journal Psychological Science exhibits that firing up the keyboard isn’t almost as efficient as talking to somebody one-on-one or sharing visuals. Of course, that works finest you probably have an actual relationship or care about what the particular person thinks of you. “If it is someone who isn’t really in your life, then what you did was right,” says Ulash Dunlap, a San Francisco–based mostly therapist. “If it’s an important relationship, I suggest you message the person and ask for a phone call to avoid miscommunication.”
Dunlap additionally recommends taking 5 minutes and assessing the state of affairs earlier than responding, and avoiding knee-jerk reactions on social media so folks can’t see that they’ve pushed your buttons. “If someone is devaluing you or bullying you over your beliefs, or looking to make themselves right and you wrong, or looking for fame through you, then end the conversation, either by not responding or even saying, ‘Thank you for your feedback,’ similar to how corporations respond when criticized.”
So how can we preserve ourselves from feeling disempowered when these conditions come up? “Remember, if they don’t know you well, the person on the other end doesn’t understand you or your lived experiences. They don’t have the backstory,” says Dunlap. This may additionally be an individual who loves to win. “You can go through the person’s Facebook or Twitter feed, and you will see it. If they are that way, find an exit strategy and end the conversation.”
“Ask yourself, was that helpful or hurtful?” says Borba. If it was useful, you may work out how to reply, but when it was hurtful, you may ignore it.” But what if a relationship is necessary to you and also you determine to talk with the particular person? What is one of the best ways to transfer ahead?
“It’s all a matter of how you say it,” suggests Borba. “Shame is not the game. What you are looking for is respectful discourse. There is more than one way to see things, and all sides matter. You don’t have to agree, as long as you are respectful and aren’t negating or guilting the person. Just say to them, ‘That is one way of thinking about it.’”