6 In Thoughts & Observations

If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

I’m a cave dweller. Not the anti-social or socially challenged type. I actually crave quality relationships and turn a little neurotic if I go too long without human feedback. The cave I’m referring to is more of an emotional buffer. A protective barrier I’ve subconsciously developed over the years to keep the harshness of the outside world away.

Most of the time I forget my little bubble is there, but every now and then the world throws me a few reminders of why I’ve developed my shield.

Like any writer, I’m a voracious reader and I have my favorite authors. Twice this week, I’ve seen “fans” make comments on Facebook author pages that left me stunned—accusations veiled as compliments and flagrant hatred. If they don’t like the authors, why are they on their Facebook page?

This morning, I saw an article about how a mom was trying to combat racist comments by sharing some of the heartless things people have said to her or her adopted daughters. People really say this shit? Do they not think at all before they speak? Has our world brought us to the point that we don’t consider how our words will impact someone else before we open our mouths?

I’m not as naïve as I sound right now, I promise. I’ve had my own run-ins with thoughtless people. Like the time my husband and I were out weeding flowerbeds in front of our house and a guy walking down the street asked my Hispanic husband, “How much do you charge for yard work?” Thank the heavens I was too pregnant to move quickly. Otherwise I’d have gone ninja on the idiot and ripped his head off. My husband took it in stride and grinned at the guy. “I own this house.”

The jerk flinched, blushed, and then took off down the street without another word.

Needless to say, I was super proud of my man. He didn’t argue with the guy or get indignant, just politely stated a fact and moved on.

It’s this kind of “stuff” that’s made me develop my cave over the years. My husband tells me all the time my sensitivity knob is set too high and I think he’s right. I need that level of sensitivity to make me a decent writer. If I can’t feel it, I can’t write it. But it also makes me super vulnerable to those who seem to be missing a sensitivity knob altogether.

Have you encountered thoughtless comments like these? How did you deal with it? Were you able to take the high road? Or did the heat of the moment make you say something you wish you hadn’t?


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  • Reply
    February 26, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I read that article about the adopted daughters, too, and thought that while the author is admirable in wanting her daughters to take the high road, there are times when nothing but a good smack is going to help.

    I’m one of those who never thinks of a good response until a few days later, so I fill their universe with nasty comebacks in the hope that they’ll wander into just one zinger and feel its cosmic sting.

    • Reply
      February 26, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Gosh, me either (on the comebacks)! I know I’ve put a few of those comebacks-that-came-later in my books though. 😛

  • Reply
    CJ Burright
    February 26, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    I think many people’s “sensitivity knobs” are dulled to the point of nonexistence. I think it’s easier to spew garbage in a digital age – there’s little to no face-to-face emotional (or physical) consequences. And some people just suck.

    • Reply
      February 26, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      Sad, but true.

  • Reply
    Gretchen Wing
    February 27, 2014 at 8:26 am

    I’m afraid I’m a heat of the moment girl myself, when it comes to reacting to other people’s shit. But I’ve learned to be more careful when it comes to what I put out there to start with. I think some people really can’t conceive of Facebook as a public space, and treat it more like a vehicle where they can scream obscenities in unanimity.

    • Reply
      February 27, 2014 at 9:00 am

      Totally agree.

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