This week I saw two different relationships damaged over social media posts. The
people involved in these heated public exchanges have real life relationships. They've known each other for years, and they sincerely care about one another. They probably knew where the other stood about issues on which they differ, but until now they never let their differences interfere with their relationships. But this week, the simple act of sharing someone else's IN-YOUR-FACE posts, caused these otherwise healthy relationships to fracture.
Recent social media posts are some of the most incendiary we've ever seen.
Some people are going to give me a loud, “I DON’T GIVE A HOOT.” Okay, I get it. I usually encourage people to be their authentic selves, but not when it's at the cost of a good relationship or causing harm to others.
Everyone doesn’t agree with our strong beliefs or laugh at the same jokes that some of us find hilarious. But before you post that political or racial meme that you think is so profound or hilarious, consider whether or not it's worth diminishing or destroying a good relationship or worth making others feel badly.
Ask yourself if the little thumbs-up “likes” are worth the loss of real relationships? Will your social media "friends" who click the little buttons be there for you if you’re broken down on the side of the road? Will they check on you if you’re in the hospital? Will they be next to you when you’re taking your last breaths in this life? Probably not.
Ask yourself if you care more about the real people in your life than you do about garnering popularity with people on the internet who you don't really know. More importantly, ask yourself if you care more about the souls with whom you're in relationship or about their opinions on issues. If you care more about the person than their opinions on issues on which you disagree, and I hope you do, then think about how your post (or shared post) will make them feel. Will they understand what you meant by it, or if there is a possibility that they might be hurt or angered by it.
Remember that if you're trying to persuade someone, you're far more likely to lead others to see your point if they trust you and know that you genuinely care about them. You'll never persuade someone by hurting them or provoking their anger.
If, after all this, you still feel strongly about the post, considering adding your own spin or caveat to so that your personal meaning or purpose in sharing it is clear, and hopefully, less incendiary or hurtful.
And if you really want to win someone over, do it the old fashioned way--have a conversation.
Finally, before you post anything on social media, or say or do anything in your real relationships, ask yourself if you’re leaving people better off than you found them.
abandoned at the age of 6 months, raised by a mentally ill man and an alcoholic woman in a bizarre, emotional roller coaster of a childhood. Rhonda Sciortino used the coping skills from her childhood survival to start her own business and develop it, along with her other investments, into a multi-million dollar balance sheet. She credits a brief stay with a wonderful foster family for teaching her that there was a better way to live. Through her speaking, writing, podcast, and videos she shares how others can use the obstacles in their lives as stepping stones to a great future.