Mon, January 13, 2014
I Respect You, I Respect You Not..I Respect You, I Respect You Not...
I have a terrible habit - in fact, it is such an area of development that I made a conscious commitment to fixing it. 

I allow myself to be "baited" on Facebook. There I said it. 

I know I am not alone, either. I have had several conversations with people who admit that they allow themselves to be "baited" as well-someone in their "friends" feed posts something that triggers something in them and they start typing in a response with fingers in flurry and they hit "post", feel vindicated or what have you, and they go about their day and come back to the feed and see that their "friend" or a "friend of their friend" has written back with a smack. And it goes on. 

We shake our heads and vow "never again" and wonder; What in the world possesses me to do this?!? There are several reasons and it isn't rocket science. 

Just stop. 

One day, after one of the first snow falls, Michiganders forgot what it was like to be a Michigander without 4 wheel drive. I posted something on my feed to "4 wheel drivers" about backing off of people going more slowly on the snowy roads or passing them. That was it. By the time I put a stop to the feed, a person in my contact list (whom I don't think I have ever spoken to in person) had cited about ten different driving laws in Michigan that were not accurate and called my mother (who had responded to some of the thread) a "jerk" and when I cautioned her, she said that she "didn't hold back with her own family and she certainly wasn't about to with total strangers."

That was when I decided that we should be total strangers (which we practically were anyhow) immediately. 

Sound dramatic and ridiculous? It was. And I don't do "ridiculous" although I do tend to dabble in the dramatic. 
I read a quote shortly thereafter, by Edward Gibbon, that reads "I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect" and it totally hit home. 

How many times do we engage in argumentative, combative or resistant dialog with people whose opinions we aren't sure we can even respect? Relationship with another gives us the consistent information we need to determine whether we can respect the "stuff" that someone else dishes out. Note that the quote does not say or imply that we have to agree with someone in order to respect their opinion-but respect is something that certainly needs to be earned and it doesn't take long to earn it. Heck, if above mentioned "friend" hadn't called my mother a "jerk" and then have no remorse for doing so, I could have respected her (ridiculous) opinion simply because it is not my job to try to change it and we are all entitled to one. 

Whose opinion do you respect and why? Examine the people who give a "fair shake" and see if you can find the consistent attitudes and behaviors that allow you to organically accept and respect their opinion, whether you agree or disagree. 
And then, in the same light, identify the people who do not share those qualities and determine if you need to "unfriend" them or at least, engage at a distance or regard their input for certain contexts that seem right. 

And don't forget about our social media threads-the best place to lose friends and gain headaches-just don't do it. 

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