The other day Bliss Windlow (no relation to Clover; just happens to share a surname) said some words that really resonated with me. She said that as a child she would get in trouble a lot for being bossy and acting like a know-it-all. Boy that was me all over. She concluded that because of this, she was born to make instructive blog posts. I can only make the same conclusion.
Today, I’m going to lecture you on drama. People really really hate drama. It’s really sad to see, that the more people seem to talk about how much they hate drama, the more seems to somehow come into their lives. So in the interest of looking out for you, yes, you specifically, I’m going to show you six simple ways to have less drama in your virtual (and probably also physical) world. Ready? Here we go.
Keep your private issues private.
Say only as much as needs to be said.
If someone’s pissing you off, mute them and move on.
Caps lock is not cruise control for “right”.
Remove the word “Drama” from your vernacular.
Before you hit “send”, ask yourself one question.
Call me old-fashioned, but I can’t stand the Facebook culture. Everybody having to share every single personal detail of their lives with the entire (semi)literate world seems to have done away with our sense of private dignity. I realize I’ve officially just become old by saying that. So let me do this shit right.
“Back in my day, if someone had some personal problem, they’d talk to a close friend or trusted confidante. They wouldn’t just post it on the intertubes or whatever-the-hell-you-call-em for everybody and his dog to read. If we had some personal info on someone else, we’d whisper it over the fence or the clothesline. We called it ‘gossip’. That was the way it was and we liked it. We would have phrases like, ‘That’s for me to know and you to find out,’ or, ‘Why? None of your god damned business, that’s why!’.”
Right, so what I’m saying in my very rambling way is, the world really doesn’t need to know the details of why the wedding’s off, the group’s policy is changing, the prim baby is going back into inventory, you can’t come to work tonight, your band had to cancel its gig. We don’t need to read the break-up note. We don’t need to hear what he said and she said. We don’t need to hear names, scandalously fun though it may be. It’s really enough for us to hear “The wedding’s off”, “The group’s policy is changing to x“, “What prim baby?”, “I have to call out tonight,” or “We’re sorry but we have to cancel our gig.” That said, I understand that there’s very real emotions involved and you want to hash out what a jerkface your boss is. But that’s what friends and private conversation are for. Which brings me to number 2:
Let’s say you have a DJ gig but you have to cancel because you got called in to RL work. You’re pissed about it because it’s your one day off, but your co-worker is violently ill and you’re the only person available to cover.
When you send out that announcement, stick to, “I have to cancel tonight. I’m sorry, but I’ll be back next week.” 95% of people in the group are likely to be fine with that. If the other 5% IM you to ask why, “Because I have to work” or even just “RL” will likely be enough for the remaining of them. If you sent out an announcement saying, “I won’t be DJing tonight because my co-worker’s chronic dry eye is acting up and my asshole boss is making me work so you can direct your comments to her home number, here it is…” That’s unneccessary and a big pot of drama.
There’s a magnificent movie called Twelve Angry Men, starring Henry Fonda. When “Juror 10” begins on a ridiculous tirade about the defendant’s ethnicity (which is never actually stated), the rest of the jurors do an astounding thing. They don’t call attention to him publicly, they don’t tell their friends to gang up on him, they don’t mock his idiotic comments. They just do this.
There’s a saying that when you argue with an idiot, it’s hard for the rest of us to tell which one is the idiot.
The flip side to that: If someone unfriends or mutes you, you should probably let it go.
Maybe someone seems cowardly by unfriending or deleting you without telling you why. Maybe you really want to defend yourself to them. Maybe you want to draw this out and know what’s pissing off that person that you never usually speak to anyway. None of these makes a good enough reason to IM them and ask why. Speaking from my own experience (what’s a blog if not that?) I’ve re-friended very few people but when I did, it was because they either stopped doing whatever it was that pissed me off in the first place, or–as in the case of one, whom I’d unfriended because we never spoke anymore–said simply, “I’m sorry to see you’ve unfriended me, but I wish you well and hope sometime we can talk again.” There was no “why”. There was a very mature acceptance (even if not an understanding) and kind words.
Seriously. Shouting will not make you more right, more deserving of being heard, or more awesome. In fact to the passing observer it makes you look less mature or healthy than you may actually be.
I know, I know, it’s going to look really damn hypocritical for me to say that, in a blog post about removing drama that uses the word “drama” so much. Don’t overthink it or you’ll get a headache like I did.
So at least remove the word from your profile. You see, when someone is actually not interested in drama, they don’t bother to mention it at all because they’re really not interested in it. This may be a bit of a “fake it til you make it” approach, but do yourself a favor and take out any lines in your profile that make any mention of drama at all. “I don’t like drama so I don’t want to hear–” stop. Remove it. The whole sentence. Poof.
Whether it’s for your blog, a group announcement, group chat, or whatever medium you use to tell the world about your personal life, ask yourself: “If it were anybody other than me, would I honestly give a fuck?” No, really. Don’t just say “of course! I lurv my friends!” and click the button. Try this. Imagine that you don’t know who the message is from, only that it could be anyone whether you know them or not. Imagine if someone you don’t know posts a long-winded rant about their breakup (or whatever) which appears while you’re off doing, you know, whatever it is you like to do. Imagine that your day of fishing, dancing, sexing, shopping, building, or whatever gets interrupted by a long message about a breakup involving someone you don’t know. Now I ask you once more: would you give a fuck?
Still not sure?
Imagine telling your RL co-workers, the ones who aren’t in SL, all about it. Every sordid detail, including explaining SL at all. That little voice in your head that feels ridiculous? Run with that.
6 thoughts on “Less Drama in Six Easy Steps”
“..I can’t stand the Facebook culture. Everybody having to share every single personal detail of their lives..”
This sounds odd coming from someone who uses Twitter. *wink*
Yes but Twitter at least shortens it down to 140 characters. You can’t ramble as much about things with that limitation.
I’m totally the opposite. I love drama. The more the better. There’s nothing like logging into SL for a bit of virtual life only to be sidetracked by a drama flamewar, complete with muting, banning and–my personal fav–backstabbing IMs to the rest of a group. Sometime I’ll even log on with a alt or two and put a little more fuel on the fire by making an unwarranted assertion or simply calling someone a name. Good fun and, since SL is free, cheap too!
It’s even better when an SL dispute boils over onto FB. It’s a blast to start a flamewar over a virtual dispute, especially if I can drag your grandmother into the fray. LL’s making stronger connections to FB with it’s new profile section has been a godsend for me.
I can’t wait to see what google+ is going to allow!
So, bring on the drama!
I’ll even log on with a alt or two…
You don’t say.
I can only agree with the previous poster. Drama is entertainment, and Second Life residents are there to be entertained.
It’s why they logged in.
They’re not there to think long and hard before typing anything to make sure it is bland or false in all the right ways and will not betray the real personality doing the typing, they just want the entertainment, and their friends list full of fellow non-functional shut-ins is the tv channel guide.
Yes I’m generalizing, but not much.
(I laughed at your humorous example of the SL resident with a job by the way. I see what you did there.)