When I was younger, and before the Internet (gasp!), the only real way to resolve a conflict with someone was to have a face-to-face conversation. There weren’t a lot of other options.
My, my, my… how the world has changed!
Now we can DM someone, write a post, tweet them, text them, comment on their video, and the list goes on…
These days it’s so easy to use a screen name or handle as a shield, while throwing fiery word-darts across the web without a seeming consequence. But there are actually really big consequences in doing so. Negative words online have a lasting, painful impact. Not to mention what is said on the Internet stays on the Internet, forever.
Ask yourself this question: would I say it to the person’s face?
If the answer is no, you know it’s time to close that laptop or shut off your phone and move on. If the answer is yes, it still might not be appropriate for you to write it. Your comment could be taken the wrong way for lack of inflection, lack of context, or just lack of you not really knowing the person you are addressing.
How crazy is it that total strangers think they have each other figured out online? That one action now labels that person for life! We love to categorize each other to create some semblance of order in our own chaos, don’t we?
So what does it look like to have a “nice” conflict? To address issues face-to-face and even end in forgiveness.
I love this video on just that. A woman and her junior high bully reconnect after 15 years when the bully reaches out to offer her sincere apologies for her actions. At the end of the interview, I love how the former bully says she was surprised at how much they actually had in common.
That, my friends, is the most beautiful thing. Perhaps our commonalities can outweigh our differences. If each of us decided to forgive, to give someone a chance, and to commit to not bullying online, what a better world this could be!
Next time you think about writing a comment online, think twice. Let it filter through the golden rule. 😊
And next time you have a conflict with someone, be brave! I know it’s scary to address it face to face. I know confrontation is not easy for most of us. But it will help you grow. And I soooo want you to flourish and be the best you!
Let’s allow people see the real you and me – not the screen name, the handle, the Instagram highlight reel; but the real, unique, amazing humans we all are.
This post, The Face of Conflict, first appeared on MannaForLife.com