Have you ever been attacked for something that wasn’t your fault?
The minute I’m labeled as a “problem,” I get defensive regardless of whether or not I’m to blame. It’s easy to resort to anger when we’re accused of something. Just remember this: No matter how right we might be, yelling and screaming makes us wrong.
This also applies when we’re bringing up topics we’re passionate about. Sometimes we do this in person. Other times, we do this on facebook.
Anyone see anything on facebook about Missouri lately? Man, do people love to lead with something loud and angry before I’ve even gotten to the link itself.
“Good point, Tony. But like, is it possible to post something controversial without being a dick about it?”
Excellent question. Let’s take a look at my friend Graham. Graham is a vegetarian. On the rare occasion he decides to post something vegetarian related, he uses tact over anger. Here’s an example of a post he used on his page (that he most definitely did not give me permission to use). What I love about this is he doesn’t tell us which side to take:
“Carnivore, vegan, pescatarian, vegetarian, it doesn’t matter…It’s important to be informed. So whether or not this movie changes the way you eat, shop and look at animal treatment, it doesn’t matter. Simply knowing what goes on around you makes you an engaged, educated and a contributing citizen…”
Here’s the bottom line: People are really freaking sensitive. We get offended and pick fights over the tiniest things. So when something comes up that’s not a tiny thing, you know how it ends. Here are a few tips to avoid fights. More importantly, they’ll help keep your reputation positive:
-Be willing to lose. Even if you’re getting yelled at during work for something that’s not your fault, just accept the blame and move on. (Servers, drink if you’ve ever had to do this. Finish your drink if you’ve ever had to do this….I’m sure you need it.)
-Recognize moments where you start to get riled up. Try to stop yourself if you can and ask if you’re really trying to prove a point, or just saving your pride. Most of the time, it’s your pride. You can let the other person “win” and still save your pride.
-Think about what’s at stake. Is this going to tarnish your reputation? Could it lead to losing work in the future? Again, be willing to lose.
One last thing I’ll mention: While I’ve learned to try and follow this perspective, I’m absolutely not the best example of this. Ask my facebook friends how I do with these rules and they’ll probably tell you how often I fail at them. This is a work and progress that I’ll never be perfect at. I recommend (as I usually do) to start off small and avoid trying to be perfect with these.