Let me be clear that I’m about to rant and rave. It will be humorous though, so stick with me. If you’re not in the mood for a good rant, go elsewhere. Here, it’s rant central. I’m pretty sick and tired of everyone being sick and tired. Social media has become the new space to air our mean-spirited little jabs at the rest of the world. Wouldn’t dare to do it to someone’s face if you saw them out and about in that alternate universe we used to call real life? No worries, you can just be passive aggressive online.
Don’t get me wrong. I have my moments. The indignant scoffing moments where all of a sudden I’ve turned into my grandmother and am looking straight down my nose at someone or something with an air of moral high ground sprinkled with haughty disdain. Luckily for those that spend time with me, I don’t hang out there long. It’s not fun. It’s not pleasant. Worst of all, it does nothing to connect me to the world around me.
My concern today folks, when I go through whatever social feed I’ve decided to peruse, is that we are losing the art of compassionate confrontation. This thing that was supposed to connect us has done something very different. It has given those of us who want to appear nice in person an arena to become nasty little gladiators slugging it out in a hate-mongering fest when we don’t have to look at someone face-to-face. We are so quick to point out the flaws in whatever someone else has posted. When did we lose the talent that my grandmother had in spades? Sure, I might have fooled you there for a minute and made you think I was judging her, but let me explain a bit further.
She had class. She was aware that there was a right and a wrong way to carry yourself in this world, especially in social interactions. She did not allow others to skate by with bad manners, nor did she let you think that white was an appropriate color choice for footwear in the winter. Sure, the footwear thing seems a bit controlling now. However, she was fierce. She would let you know if she thought your behavior was out of line and she would do so to your face.
Compassionate confrontation used to be a mechanism to give someone feedback without the spine tingling little reminder creeping up your back as you did so that you know this is going to result in a passive little jab as soon as the encounter is over on some form of social media. The ones that really send me into orbit start off with this cloying start, “Don’t you just love it when…” No! I don’t. And you don’t either. You tricked me with the word love, but now I can see you were just about to phase into a sarcastic rant about your husband not picking up his underwear off the floor. Stop it!
What if, for just today…we made a collective action to only post comments that are positive and validate the courage it takes for someone else to put themselves out there? Save the snarky, negative stuff for those that are really worth investing in a heart-to-heart discussion with in real life. Take the snark out and have a real, compassionate conversation. In the real world. It still exists. Go find it.
P.S. I just heard my grandmother’s voice reminding me that it’s not Memorial Day yet, but go ahead and wear those white shoes.