Monday, November 2, 2009

A Little Common Sense Please

You see a lot of chatter online about how easy the internet makes it for people to spout off without consequence, and how many people hide behind an anonymous username to bash, trash, or thrash whatever happens to piss them off that day.

What bothers me are the people who seem to forget they're posting things ON THE INTERNET. This applies mostly to facebook, as people who have blogs do realize that anyone can find their posts, but I see it all over the place. People complaining about day-to-day things, like a crowded bus or slow person in line ahead of them, that make me want to smack the person upside the head and tell them to be grateful for what they have. I want to pull these people aside and tell them "you have access to public transportation, you have money to stand in line to buy something, you're healthy enough to be doing these things in the first place."

I get that a side effect of living in a first-world country is people take things for granted, but I wish these people would realize how ungrateful they appear. I have several hundred friends on facebook and the majority have a balance between positive and negative -- it's only a handful who don't seem to realize how they sound to the rest of the world. I know that with facebook only your "friends" can see what you post, but I'm guessing they present themselves in a similar manner everywhere else.

I don't mean for this to come off as a rant about facebook, and I'm not trying to single anyone out. My point in all this is to remind everyone that the next time a stranger upsets you -- whether they moved too slowly, reacted in a way you didn't appreciate, or committed some other unforgivable social offense -- take a moment and put yourself in their shoes. Maybe the slow person has a migraine and is moving as quickly as she can, or the cranky-pants the next car over is worried about his mother in the hospital. Whatever.

I'm guilty of this too -- I get worked up far too easily over stupid things -- but I don't turn around and blast that person all over the internet. I complain to my husband or a friend and then I MOVE ON. Yes, I occasionally post complaints, but it's usually a general thing and never hurtful. I try very hard to live my life in a way that I won't regret anything and I hopefully won't have to apologize for something I did or said. I know that's a lot to ask of people, but I'm hoping this serves as a reminder to think a moment or two before telling the internet about the latest idiot in line next to you.



(As a side note, I'm not talking about people who complain that they're stuck in traffic, it's the ones who wonder "WHY DOES EVERYONE HAVE TO DRIVE HOME AT THE SAME TIME AS ME???" every day.)

28 comments:

mary said...

Well said, Melanie, well said!

Personally I think I am a pretty "kind" person but know that I do get caught up in my little personal, important world and at times complain about things without considering how my words can effect others. I am continually reminding myself not to be judgmental of other people and the way they lead their lives or the decisions they choose to make. The only one I have any control over is myself and those are the actions I need to be aware of. I try (and sometimes succeed) to emulate my mother who never said a negative thing about anyone! If someone complained about another person, she always had a positive comment in response.

Thank you Melanie, for giving me food for thought!

Jenna said...

Amen Sister!

I wandered over to some blog the other day and became thoroughly disgusted with the blogger's rant about the most insignificant thing and it's too bad she doesn't realize how her petty rant turned me off so much that when her book comes out I will not buy it. Too many people have lost sight of how great we have and too many people feel the need to rant about asinine things.

Keep it real Mel ;)!

JLC said...

This may be one of the reasons why I am willing to put up with all the rain here in my neck of the woods. Very few people complain. It just seems like a more patient social atmosphere. However, my previous home was filled with anger, frustration and this common belief that their individual rights trumps the rights of anyone else. Yuck.

It seems like your experience here in Mexico is providing you with an opportunity to experience what it is like to NOT have everything instantly. I think it is part of the human condition to adapt and to look for the path with the least resistance. But when you live someplace that only offers challenging paths, it can be frustrating to see those who are gliding along on smooth and level paths, while complaining about the occasional twig and stone in their way. (I suppose it is part of the human condition to always want something better.)

Adam said...

http://www.lamebook.com/

Enjoy. ;-)



Adam

PS. *poke*

Melanie Avila said...

Mary, it's hard not to get caught up in our own lives. As I read your comment, I was trying to recall how much I complained about stupid things while you were here. ;) Everyone has a need to vent, it's the outlets I have an issue with. That's great you had that example in your mother -- some people go their entire lives without ever realizing there's a more fulfilling way to live.

Melanie Avila said...

Jenna, I'm the same way. I wish we could hold up a virtual mirror to people like that so they can see how they come off to everyone else.

If you surround yourself with negative people it's understandable that you'll also be negative, which is why over the past years I've made a big effort to cut out the negativity. Sure, it means I have no friends here, but I don't miss the drama.

Melanie Avila said...

JLC, Mexico has definitely taught me a lot of lessons, and I will forever be changed because of what I've learned here. Sure, there's plenty to complain about, but seeing the things I do on a regular basis, I have a greater appreciation for what I DO have.

I'm still amazed at how quickly people who don't know our situation respond with "oh, just buy this or buy that" as a solution to everything. There's a whole world who can't do that, and I've slipped into that group.

I still daydream about being able to run out to whatever store or restaurant I want to buy whatever my heart desires at that moment, but now I know I can get by without it.

Melanie Avila said...

Adam, that's hilarious!

WendyCinNYC said...

I know what you mean. If I'm going to be negative, I try to be self-effacing. Otherwise, it can really come off as mean.

I might, however, complain a teensy bit as we get closer to Christmas in New York City. The traffic, the crowds, it's...crazy. The steam will need to blow.

Nadine said...

Excellent post!!

I've done my best to focus on the positive and only vent the negative to friends through e-mails (as you know). I don't feel FB is the place for it.

I also hate when people put a lot of profanity in their status updates. Waking up at 6am and seeing a page full of curse words isn't exactly the way to start the day.

Rachel Burton said...

Okay, okay, I'll quit whining about how cold I am! My FB friends seem overwhelmingly positive in their statuses, but maybe it only looks that way since I've hidden all the ones who annoy me.

and @ Nadine - I hear you on the cursing! It seems some people must not have as diverse a friends list as me - or just don't care. It's especially annoying when I have a status and then someone makes a comment on it with profanity. I mean, come on, my 87-year-old great aunt is going to have to read that!

Melanie Avila said...

Wendy, I'm the same way. I'll make fun of myself, but not other people (at least not in a mean way...). You can complain about Xmas in NY. :)

Nadine, I hate that too! I have a couple people who always swear and it leaps off the screen. I don't get it. And yes, EMAIL is for complaining. :)

Rachel, I think you might be right about them not having as diverse a friend group. One person made a sexual comment on a photo about my PUPPY and I sent her a note asking her to please not do that. I explained that my family looks at these pictures, she said okay, and suddenly we're no longer friends. Hmm... Oh well.

Penguin said...

Ok, I am guilty of ranting about things.
But I don't do it on the internet, so does that make it ok?
I have to admit I complain a lot.

Melanie Avila said...

Yes, offline complaining is perfectly acceptable. :)

Erica said...

I totally agree! I have some facebook friends that are guilty of that too. I try to keep it too my football games and what I'm doing that night...

Some people just forget I think, and need to be reminded!

Great post.

ElanaJ said...

So very true. We must consider what kind of personality we're putting forward when on the Internet.

Melanie Avila said...

Erica, your posts are always pleasant -- and I'm not just saying that because I share your taste in football teams. :)

Elana, well said. You (general you) don't need to change who you are, just think about how you're coming off to the rest of the world.

Robin said...

I knew I was right not to do Facebook! Mwahahaha!

I agree with your views on this completely. It's just plain mean to blast someone on the internet. People think that written insults are somehow more acceptable than verbal ones. They're not. Funny negativity doesn't bother me at all, but negativity about stupid, petty things sounds icky and entitled. And it makes me barf.

Janna Qualman said...

Kudos! Very well said.

Erica Orloff said...

Amen, Melanie.

Funny, as a Buddhist, when I shop, I always let people in front of me on line, and always smile to the cashiers--especially during the holiday season. Yesterday, a friend called me to rant about slow drivers and a crowded parking lot. It AMUSES me. I try to just glide on through . . .

Melanie Avila said...

Robin, that's a good point. It's the pettiness I have a hard time with. And uh, you know you DO have a facebook account, right?

Thanks Janna.

Erica, it always amazes me that people DON'T smile or be courteous to cashiers and others in the service industry. I ALWAYS say hello, I usually smile (if they say hello back), and I say thank you when our transaction is complete. ALWAYS. It's habit and I don't even think about it.

Robin said...

Hahaha! I signed on to see my friend's jewelry line. Maybe I should sign off again. It's false Facebook advertising.

Gary Hooyenga said...

I can relate with your post today. My parents gave me an insight into not having because they lived through the occupation of NL and then moved to US to fully enjoy all of freedoms including freedom to speak out. Needless to say we were often reminded about these freedoms. Thus my keen interest in gov't infringement into those freedoms.

But most of all they taught us to just observe the "now" even the things that piss most of us off.

A lot of things come to mind; give/take, good/bad, yeng/yang, balance, love/hate, and it is our choice as to ignore or accept what comes around.

Melanie Avila said...

Robin, you should visit there more often!

Gary, you definitely learned that lesson growing up. While it's good most people in the US will never be forced to learn it, it's sad in a way because they will always have that sense of entitlement.

mary said...

Melanie,

Judy and I absolutely realized how starved you were for face-to-face female companionship and some decent "venting" time and were happy to supply it! We both enjoyed the time we got to share with all you and the family. I take for granted having friends, especially Judy and Phoebe, that I can vent to at anytime, not to mention my clients that listen to me rant. Jody listens, but sometimes you just need the girlfriend fix. It is important to get stuff off your chest or it comes out in negative ways.

Hopefully now that high season has arrived you will find more people coming down and get some more "girl" time! Plus, you can always email me or Skype me if you need
bitch session!

Lots of love!

Melanie Avila said...

Mary, thanks for understanding. :) I had lunch with a new friend a couple days ago and now she's planning a dinner party with another couple (6 of us total) so I'm excited about that new possibility!

Janet said...

I really liked this post Melanie! I often start to get frustrated with little things, like being stuck behind a slow walker, and your post rang true because that's the way I try to handle those moments - so what if I miss my train? there will be another one in 10 minutes, and life goes on :-)

Melanie Avila said...

Janet, I feel like a reminder never hurts. :)