Friday, January 28, 2011

It could be something else.

At least twice recently I have had friends on facebook rant about harmless things.One was about someone not returning a cart when the return was 20 ft away. The other was about a lady that was bothered when my friend was on the treadmill more than the allotted 30 minutes and the fact that when she did get on she only went 1.7mph.

This got me thinking about 2 things:

1. How social media takes away social boundaries
2. How people could really stand to give others some leeway.

Now, let's blog about it.

1. When we can tweet it or post it it's like someone turns our filters off. A CNN writer just wrote a story about how mean some people were when posting comments about his articles. They posted mean, personal, derogatory attacks to a person they had never met. In real life it turns out the ones he tracked down were decent people and very apologetic when reproached for their behavior, they noted that they were mad about something he had written and spewed that anger without thinking there was a real person behind the written words.

It constantly amazes me to read on facebook how people lose their filters. All of a sudden it's okay to say things that hurt others, that don't honor who you are as a person? I value those that I see as the same person online as they are in person. It makes me leerier (is this a word?) than ever about making an online friend. It's way to easy to misrepresent yourself purposely or accidentally. I'm still learning techno jargon and all the time I am discovering new meanings to things like capital letters, italics, extra exclamation points etc...I bet I have pissed off a lot of people (I hope it was mostly unintentional) by my ramblings, judgements or miss use of semi-colons.

2. Now on to spreading some grace around. On the one friends post I made a comment that I leave my cart if I feel it's unsafe to leave my children unattended in the car or if I am so preoccupied (usually by my children) that I don't notice that the cart return is right next to me. It's not always laziness as he assumed it to be, there are a whole host of reasons why people do what they do. As for me, I choose to think positively and hope they didn't mean to be stupid, mean, rude etc...

I didn't comment on the treadmill thing, I felt like I would be starting an argument rather than enlighten them if I did so (meaning: I was too chicken!). As I read the post, I thought of myself as that other woman. Maybe I hired a babysitter so I could actually get to the gym and then I waited to use that treadmill knowing I had precious little time. When I planned my exercise around getting on the treadmill and someone was using it past their allotted time, I might have given a frustrated look as well. But what really got me was the comment after that. My facebook friend noted that when the woman got on the treadmill she could see why she was in such a rush, because she needed to do a 1.7mph walk. Oh snap! Maybe 1.7 mph was all she could do. Maybe she just recovered from cancer and was building up her stamina. We don't know, who are we to judge? Or maybe she was just a snarky woman, they exist too.

I am going to end this post by telling you about a woman I know. She's the mom of a good friend of mine from high school. I constantly think of her when I get frustrated with people because she had the most unique take on it I had ever seen. A man was speeding and cut us off as we were turning a corner. It made her hit the brakes and was a little scary. Expecting her to yell or express frustration at the mans bad driving instead this is what I heard, "Lord bless that man wherever he is heading and please help him get there safely. I pray protection for him and anyone in his car." I was astounded! This event occurred when I was 16 and at 29 it is still burned into my brain. She chose to believe that the man who endangered her and her family with his driving did it with good cause and had a genuine need or concern. And above that she took an extra moment out of her day to bless that man rather than curse him. I encourage you to think of that the next time you're tempted to judge anothers actions, I know I always try to.

Remember what they teach our children, "If you don't have something nice to say..."

Sometimes the things I say aren't nice but I do try to use this rule, "If I can't say it to their face, I can't say it online."

Aaaaahhhh, the joys of the cyberworld we live in.


  1. i love this! i often try to put myself in other people's shoes but sometimes i lose sight of it...this is a great reminder.

  2. I just love your thoughts friend! I agree with you that now with facebook, it seems like it has given people their own space to rant about things that we may normally never hear about.
    Also, since having kids...I have found myself trying to give more grace to people because I have 4 eyes watching me and my actions and how I treat people. I want them to grow up and be kind and loving towards I must set the example.

  3. Stef, I rarely see you lose sight of things. I think you're great!!

    Nancy, kids really do change how we act (or they should)! I hope my stories will have some great stories to tell about me and my actions when they grow up (fingers crossed)

  4. Wonderfully put. I totally agree with the ease of the writing hurtful words online. Most people would never say the things they write. Happy to read your blog for the first time!

  5. oops, I meant I hope my kids will have some great stories!

    June - thanks for visiting:) If you go back to one of my first blogs you were one of my inspirations for starting my own. I love yours!!!!!!!

  6. Wow...I needed to hear this! Thank you for your words and to my friend, June(above), for forwarding this to me=)

  7. Thanks for reading Garnet! This is usually my space to blog about the funny moments that happen in my day or my efforts to carve out time for myself. This was a rare serious post :)