Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Dec 20

There is no rule that says you have to be be nice on the Internet

I wish I could say that I’m not afraid to be the dissenting voice but it’s not entirely true. I will speak up when I feel I should but I fear.. retribution. This is largely due to the fact that my ex-husband avoided conflict in any form, even when avoidance was actually more of a problem than whatever the conflict would be but it’s also due to certain online communities refusing to ever mutter a discouraging word. Coincidentally, I was the voice of dissent on someone else’s blog today and she deleted the post and comment. I have strong feelings about avoiding criticism and conflict and I shall list them here because a list is the only way this post won’t be ridiculously confusing.

  •  There is no rule that says you have to be nice on the Internet. While this means you can get away with being a douchebag, it also means that people are going to occasionally treat you like crap. We’ve all experienced it and, no, it’s not fun but that’s the reality of it.
  • But just because you can be a dick without getting your ass pounded or are anonymous on the Internet doesn’t mean you have to be. You can still be a decent person when it calls for.
  • People won’t always heed the previous so you should surround yourself with people who are supportive.
  • But you should avoid only communicating with those who put a positive spin on everything because honestly is necessary. It may be uncomfortable but dissent and criticism promote growth, whether it’s improving upon a product after a less than thrilled review, becoming a bigger person, redesigning a website, learning to communicate better with your partner or working to better your customer service. Without conflict, no matter the degree, we’d all be stuck in the same place forever.
  • And avoiding conflict may put off that momentary discomfort but will make you miserable all the time. It will also ruin your relationships. Fact. Marriages where the couple fall into the pursuer-withdrawer roles usually end within 5 years. Mine did. Ha!
  • No one wants to be the voice of dissent, either. Even when I know I’m right, I’m worried about what people will say, if I’ll get attacked because I don’t agree or if someone might delete my comments. We’re all people, here and I’m pretty sure we’re strong enough to get through this.
  • With that said, sometimes you have to speak up even when no one else is. It can be difficult to be the first person to voice your concerns but it shows strength of character. Honesty is a valuable trait. Perhaps I’m honest to the fault when I play the Devil’s advocate but no one would ever fault me for being a liar.
  • But you can be honest without being a dick. Use tact.
  • When you experience conflict or criticism, there’s no need to throw in the towel. In fact, feel free to argue, reasonably, if you believe yourself to be in the right. But one bit of adversity is not enough to shut down a website, end a relationship, or even delete a post or comment. Accept conflict because it shows strength of character.
  • Respond like an adult and learn to recognize when you cannot so that you can step back from the fray, temporarily, to regroup. Rather than avoiding conflict, allow yourself to calm down and reflect upon whether there is any truth to what is being said. Return to the conversation after and then respond, if it benefits you to do so.

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