Well, this is going to be short and sweet. At least, I think it will be short – but I often think that and am then immediately proven wrong. And I lied when I said it would be sweet. That’s on me. I’m feeling kind of pointy.
First of all – you know what happens when you make an assumption – right? That’s right, you are an ass. Leave me out of it – this one’s on you.
So why am I feeling so salty? I have been on the interwebs. I know! I know! I am not supposed to read comments. I KNOW I am not supposed to read comments. So why do I read comments? Honestly – I do it because I desperately hope to find good people out there who care enough to stand up and say they care.
What do I find? Well . . . . . . . not usually that. My longstanding desire to create/become internet police will have to wait for its own article. Probably not a long wait though. Maybe a couple days.
Here’s what I want to cover sort of briefly. Assumptions. Internet assumptions and in-person assumptions. Specifically the assumptions that come from gossip.
Let me give you an example: Story on internet about person who was harmed/wronged.
Comments: ‘I bet she just . . . ‘ ‘He probably is . . . . .’ ‘You just know she’s the kind of person who . . . . . . ‘
(Insert picture of me tearing my hair out because I don’t feel like inserting a picture today even though the stupid blog software will tell me people only like blogs with pictures because we are all secretly still kindergarteners.)
I have this happen in real life too. I am a massage therapist and people routinely say to me ‘You probably don’t work on Saturdays though.’
(Insert picture of me face palming).
Let’s try that again, shall we? ‘Could you please tell me if you work on Saturdays?’ Why YES dear person, I can tell you! I DO work some Saturdays. See how much nicer the interaction is when you ask a question instead of just lobbing an assumption at me?
The internet can work the same way! First of all, let’s all agree that we are not trained detectives – and even if you happen to be, you are not the detective assigned to this case, if indeed there is a case. Perhaps there is more information available than what has been presented to you – important as you are.
Second – admitting you do NOT know something, and are willing to build on your knowledge base by asking questions, makes you look smarter. It makes you actually smarter too – but more people are interested in appearances than reality.
Third – your biases, misogyny, and racism start showing really quickly with these assumptions. Maybe that’s a good thing – we can spot you more easily. He must have been on drugs. She must have been drunk. He is obviously someone who’s never worked. She probably has 4 babies with 4 different guys. All. The. Time.
So here’s a couple options:
- Keep your opinions to yourself. Not always, of course. But when you really have no idea what you are talking about. Side note – one personal experience does not make you an expert. If you decide to share your perspective, remember others with similar experiences may have vastly different reactions.
- Engage compassion. When you hear that assumption in your head, ask yourself – what other circumstances might explain this situation?
- Ask questions. “I am curious as to who might have benefitted from that kid being harmed” is a lot better than “Well you know it was the dad based on the 20 second interview shown on the news.”
- Be kind. Not sure why we have to repeat this one so often.
- Consider necessity. Is your comment adding anything useful to the conversation? Spoiler – if its an assumption, it is not.
The point I really want to make the most is this – if you want to learn and engage, you ask questions. If you are just looking for a quick fix of attention and self-importance, you make assumptions.
Don’t make an ass of yourself. (Once again, I am not involved in your assumptions, so am just fine over here).
Oh – and do the ‘LIKE’ and ‘SHARE’ thing – even if I didn’t give you pictures this time.