What I have learned from arguing on the internet
I had a bit of an argument on Facebook a couple of weeks ago.
First, I read something someone posted a certain way. Next, I got really upset about it. I fumed and fussed internally for a few hours and then thought, "Right, well, I should say what I really think because, something might happen if I don't."
So then I said what I really thought, and then she said what she thought, and it wasn't the same as me, and my heart got all fluttery and my anxiety levels went through the roof and I GOT ALL UPSET. And argued.
It wasn't even a particularly 'arguey' argument. She was genuinely incredibly gracious to me and gave me plenty of room to express myself and in the end agreed to disagree.
But I didn't really stop at that point.
I went on to write a blog post about my VERY IMPORTANT FEELINGS which was, yes, I have to admit, a touch mean in one place. The gracious lady called me on it privately, and when I got a little bit tough and arguey all over again, she wisely and generously stopped the conversation. (FYI, later I went and edited out the mean bit.)
All of this contributed to me being in an angry and very emotional state for at least 14 hours. You see, I do not do conflict well at all. Come up against me or my opinion or my article and I'll either fold and see your point of view immediately, or I'll start to cry and be totally unable to express myself coherently. It doesn't really matter who the conflict is with either. I'm a total emotional wreck before, during and after.
It's a bit of a stupid way to be as a blogger and writer though. Especially because I publish stuff and put it out there. For actual people to read. The internet is full of people arguing with each other. Even things I'd think are completely self-evident and obvious get push back - and in all sorts of ways, and my skin is pretty darn thin.
What have I learned from arguing on the internet?
This: I'm not very good at it. At all. I'm not very gracious, I'm not terribly articulate, I'm a little bit mean. And I don't recover well.
The question is: should I do something about it? What would I gain if I got 'better' at arguing? What would anyone gain if I got better at it? But what would I lose if I didn't at least try to figure out why I have an unstoppable need to cry the second anyone says anything strong in opposition to me?
How come some people are able to hold their own and push against the pushback while others crumble with opposition? Where does it come from? I'd love to hear your thoughts. (But be nice to me, okay? I might cry.)