How do you handle conflict? Boldly and directly? Or, do you prefer a more subtle approach?
Recently, I was on a social media site and I found this post that in and of itself was a bit controversial. (In case you’re wondering it was about something that happened on a television show) I decided to do something that I very rarely do on this site: share my opinion. But this site in particular is one that shares difference of opinions all the time, but it doesn’t always welcome them. Unbeknownst to me, I got a lot of criticism for the comment that I made and I wasn’t really sure what to do when I found out about it. It really bothered me. All I was doing at the time was stating my opinion and I thought that it would be understood but instead I found myself attacked. It made me not want to go on the site for a while because I didn’t want to feel put down like that again. What made it worse was that those people acted like they knew me. They acted like they knew everything about me from that one comment and they decided to make me feel small. My comment only mentioned something about seeing the bigger picture. But the people who responded to it didn’t see it that way. I responded to what someone said and tried to clarify my original comment. But it seemed like at this point that they didn’t even bother taking me seriously and I got even more criticism.
What happened really bothered me and I didn’t know what to do. I talked to a friend of mine about it and they just told me to not worry about those people and keep having an opinion on things. I know that not everyone agrees with each other about everything but it really hurts when you’re made to feel like that opinion doesn’t matter. That if you don’t agree then you’re just plain wrong. That there’s no way around it. Maybe I could have changed the way I phrased what I thought. Maybe I could have pretended to agree with them. Maybe I could have said nothing at all.
In this instance, I thought that the right thing for me to do was confront this conflict directly. But in this case, it didn’t really matter what I did. They were going to keep to their opinion and there was nothing that I could say to make them change their minds or at least apologize for being so rude to me and making me feel bad. I’ve seen many comments made on this social media site that have been immediately shot down and the people made to feel stupid for having that opinion. Seeing this happen to other people really made me rethink my feelings about this site. I have had an account on this site for a few years now and I was, for the first time, questioning why I cherish it so much. I had always seen it as a little community that shared the same passions and I had always found a comfort in that.
Now that enough time has passed, I’ve gotten over what those people said to me and I’ve found a way to feel comfortable going on this site again, however, I’m more weary then I was initially. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that one of the best ways to deal with conflict is to pick your battles carefully. You might have to lose a few battles in order to win the war.