I often wonder yet I full well know, why do people become their most unbearable selves on the internet? Yes, it is because they may hide behind the veil of a screen and never have to directly take in the feelings and expressions and humanity of the person they are jabbing. But why? Why does the shield that is a screen bring so many to being so bad? If there are people who use this protective technological mask for evil are there any who use it for good? To compliment and lift others up as opposed to knocking them down?
Could I become that person? I try not to engage with the hostile and argumentative but I admit to moments of weakness. I have grown stronger in walking away and leaving the person to keep at it in my absence. This is one of my biggest goals. To just not respond in the first place.
I may have no clue what drives any specific person, but I do know enough about people to know that anyone could be battling anything in life. What person is dealing with a recent medical diagnosis that has them reeling and shaking in their shoes? What person is mourning the loss of a loved one? Who just caught their spouse cheating or found out they were being used and that the trust they placed in someone special had been trampled? Who grew up the same way I did and is just now learning how to be bearable in the first place? What secret struggles and personal conflicts go on is never known yet we can speculate. Or at least we should. Perhaps that seemingly arrogant and condescending person has something terrible going on underneath. But then again maybe they are just a jerk because it is who they truly are. Does that mean I should accommodate them in a scathing back and forth trying to best them in a game of school yard insults, put downs, and criticism? If I walk away they get satisfaction of having the last word but I also get the satisfaction of having conquered myself. If I stay and argue it only becomes a battle of egos and leaves the door open for others to join the fray.
Why is it so hard to just leave these people to their madness and get on with out allowing them to become a black cloud blocking my sunshine? I don’t care much about being right, or about getting the final word. I find I take issue with someone who seems to jump out at me and scold me when it certainly is not their place. As if the offending person thinks they are an authority over internet strangers and they must put others in check or their day is not complete. We can never change other people, and nothing we say matters once the sun goes down. Yet we argue. As if our words will matter. What ever we say slowly fades as other arguments, issues, and dramas arise. New opportunities for fresh attacks and internet arguments spring up like dandelions in the crack in your dive way. We all know you can’t get rid of dandelions. Not without some sort of poison to kill them with anyway. And even that won’t stop them from popping up elsewhere. You could pave your front yard and they will find their way up through cracks and crevices you didn’t even know were there.
I feel that in addition to apologizing to internet strangers I should apologize to myself. For allowing the madness and hostility to seep in and affect the way I interact with people in general.