This may well be the brain dumpiest brain dump that I’ve ever done. Honestly, it’s really more of a stream of conscious, need to get it out of my head, thing than anything I’ve likely ever written before. As such, if you don’t really care about what the bats in my belfry are saying to one another most recently, feel free to pass this post along and come back another day when you might find something more cohesive and perhaps more WoW related.
Abandon all hope ye who enter here. Alternatively, you have been warned!
You know, I’ve often thought of looking for a doormat or small plaque with that saying etched on it for my front door, as it’s always been one of my favorites. Not that I think my house is akin to Dante’s seven rings of hell, it’s just something that I think would make me laugh each time I came home. Of course, I do believe that I agree with the Cheshire cat when he told Alice that being around mad people couldn’t be helped because “we’re all mad here”. Actually, now that I think about it, Lewis Carroll imparts quite a few bits of knowledge that are relevant to my thoughts today.
Always speak the truth, think before you speak, and write it down afterwards.
Text is often a very difficult medium to communicate with and many things are often not made clear through the cold word on the four corners of a page. This is even more true when you are dealing with people whom you may not have the warmest relationships with, or just don’t know very well. It amazes me how a simple change in a closing statement from “Thanks!” to “Regards” can change the entire tenor of what was being said in someone’s mind, even if that was not the sender’s intent.
In addition, regardless of your intent, sometimes the way you phrase something can say volumes. If you mean well, but don’t think through what you are trying to say or are simply careless with your phrasing, the words you chose can take on a whole new life to a reader who has no choice but to take them at the face value they are offered on the page. Add to that the fact that your past history with a person can very easily color what you see in the words of another person, it seems to me that it becomes more important to take the time to think about how you say something. Because it doesn’t matter what you say, if you don’t think about how you say it.
For example, if you aren’t sure what is happening regarding topic A, rather than make an assumption that nothing is happening and then make a statement on what you think should be done based on the assumption of nothing being done – ask a question about if there is anything happening with regards to topic A. This does a number of things for the reader: it lets them know that you want to engage in a conversation, it gives them the opportunity to give you feedback on Topic A and it opens up the reader for a conversation rather than putting them on the defensive because they feel like before a conversation can be initiated incorrect assumptions have to be corrected. All of these things are important for starting a conversation off on the right foot.
Another thing to remember is that it’s important to conversation to try to refrain from negative statements. Let’s say that we have topic B, and we want to engage someone in discussion of this topic. Probably the best thing that you can do is leap your conversation from positives. After all, if the first thing you do is tell people that everything they are doing is wrong, you’ve already put strain on the possibility of conversation and potentially closed those doors altogether. Keep in mind that if you want something to be heard, you need to say something worth hearing!
On this same front, I think it’s important that if you want to start a conversation you show a base level of respect for those you are conversing with. If, through your words, intentional or not, you seem to completely disregard a person or what a person does, you cannot expect to have that person remain receptive to having an open conversation. Communication is a two way street, if you want to be heard you must also be open to listening. Even if you disagree with them, if you cannot be open to hearing their thoughts and accepting the possibility that multiple thoughts on something exist, you cannot have a conversation.
She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it).
Brade always tells me that I shouldn’t argue with idiots on the internet, because I will stoop to their level and they will beat me with experience. I try really hard to follow this rule. Which, in turn, means that I rant. A lot. Everyone has their coping mechanisms, and mine happens to be stomping around and ranting until I’ve calmed down enough about something to see and think more clearly. Unfortunately for Brade, this means that he hears my thoughts (generally in a very loud fashion) on anything from what someone said on the internet that pissed me off to hot button issues that I happen to have an opinion on (generally this happens to be the state of education in the US).
Eventually I’ve stormed around the house enough to work most of the fire out, but from time to time there is something I just have a very hard time letting go – regardless of how many times I tell myself it’s not worth it. It’s not worth it to argue with that person that is so ingrained in their own thoughts they don’t care what you have to say. It’s not worth it to argue with the guy who says things simply to invoke reactions from people. It’s not worth it to try and have a conversation with that person who isn’t interested in conversation. I’ve also learned that the last word isn’t nearly as important as those who have to have it seem to think it is, and it’s often better to just move along to something more worth your time. Although that last lesson is one that is very easy to forget.
In short, sometimes you just have to convince yourself it’s ok to mentally tell those people to fuck off and let it go. It’s really not as easy as it sounds, and I am particularly bad at it – generally because I tend to care about a good number of things, including how I interact with others, and I try really hard to have an open mind and be engaging in conversation. But sometimes it’s just not worth your energy to deal with certain people. It’s a hard lesson, and one that I’ve not really learned just yet. But I’m trying. And as I get older I find that I start to have less tolerance for wasting my time and energy on things that ultimately just aren’t worth it (like conversations and arguments that are inevitably going to do nothing but run circles), and more tolerance for being okay mentally giving some folks the finger and walking away.
It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.
I think I’ve rambled quite enough here, so I’ll let you fill in what you will with this last quote. And remember, I’m not all there ;)
“Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”