It’s that time of the month for our brand new feature, Ask JoJo, where my readers email in their communication questions and I answer them. Our first communication question comes from Christina who asks this question about Facebook communication:
“I occasionally comment on things I disagree with (not always, just now and than), sometimes to discuss it, and sometimes just to state my opinion. But, people either try to debate me (rather than just discussing or talking about it) or insult me. Today, I posted a comment merely asking for proof for something and when no one gave me any, and I merely stated that my opinion hadn’t changed because of it. Someone claimed I wasn’t convinced, and was a waste of time to talk to:’because I’m home-schooled and live in a different realm.
How would you respond to this and what do you think is the best way to try and avoid these situations altogether? Beside, never commenting or avoiding discussions and debates, altogether.
I try to handle these things, with grace and humility, as well as patience, but I obviously must do something wrong, otherwise why would I always get such negativity? I understand, that it would be hard to pinpoint, since you haven’t witnessed the conversations, I’ve with these people. But I figure since you know a lot about communication and have more experience, you could give some pointers or tips. As you have probably experienced or witnessed this sort thing, at some point. ”
This is a fabulous question! While I don’t know the full details of this particular situation, I can help you with some general insights and tips.
I don’t see anything you asked that was wrong. Some people are just looking for a fight or to disagree. People tend to be bolder and less interested in grace on the internet because they don’t have to see the faces of those they challenge, insult or hurt. In addition, sometimes people take asking for the source of a story as an assault on them and they feel guilty for not checking it out. Instead of owning up to being a bit careless when posting a story, they feel challenged and so they lash out.
How I would respond to being in a different realm because of being homeschooled:
What school you attended is not at issue. The issue raised was one of credibility and validity of the story. It’s unwise to accept information at face value and, without knowing the source, information must be questioned. You might put it this way:
I don’t understand what the school I attended has to do with my asking for verification of information. I’m sure you would agree that it isn’t wise to accept everything at face value. I was only asking where I might find the source of the story before accepting it as truth. So many things on the internet are either incorrect or even a pure hoax.
How you might be able to avoid this issue in the future:
Sometimes the words we choose to use can make all the difference. In the future, you might choose to replace the word proof with source or say, “can you tell me where you found this info?” It’s a matter of semantics, but presents a softer message.
Something else you can do is to look the title or subject line up on Snopes.com and post the link. It would be hard for anyone to argue with that.
I pray this has helped you and my other readers who may have encountered similar situations.
NOTE: Don’t forget to submit your communication questions to email@example.com for my monthly Ask JoJo section of my blog. I’ll pick one question per month to answer right here on the blog! You can ask anything related to communication skills from a tip on how not to be nervous making a speech to what games your kids can play that will help them hone their communication skills and even if your website or blog is clearly written!
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