This morning I wake up and find myself laughing at the stupidity of the World, because on most days at least one person will read my Blog Posts and assume, always erroneously, that I aimed that comment just at them. Ironically, in the last few weeks I have actually taken the time and effort to do this at a single person, to make the point to them that I wasn’t interested in being part of their World. Mostly this was for one reason alone: they didn’t get the point that I wasn’t interested. It is almost as if, in this Digital World, that others genuinely believe they own the rights on your actions. They’ll read a comment and decide that this was directed at them, because their own guilty conscience believes that clearly, obviously, you’re having a two person conversation.
In shock news, I don’t do this. If I have a problem with you, I’ll tell you directly, and this is actually what happens. I take the time to DM those I think who are getting too close to obsessive behaviour and warn them. However, if they clearly fail to take any notice, I don’t give any further warning, I’ll just leave. You don’t get the choice in this, it just happens and that’s it. When I watch this happen to people at a distance the reactions are in turn sad and depressing, because many of the most self-centred individuals who constantly obsess about others assume they’re not at fault, it was the other person who hates them. Yes, they left because you’re not listening. If you were listening you’d stop being like this, and maybe take a step backwards, but in a lot of cases that self-assessment simply doesn’t exist.
That’s why a discussion I had yesterday’s making me think that ‘don’t feed the trolls’ is never going to work with a certain type of personality.
The default action when you interact with someone who ultimately wants more from a relationship than you are prepared to give is to withdraw, but by then it doesn’t matter, because the other person’s already created a bond between you that simply doesn’t exist. That means they feel totally justified in throwing abuse at you in front of their friends because you’re not responding, and threatening you as you withdrew ‘your’ friendship. That’s not healthy. Getting a guilty conscience when you see someone cross (and assuming it automatically about you) isn’t healthy either, and I know from personal experience how easy that can be to misinterpret on social media. That’s why, if I see it happen and I believe I may be at fault, I’m sending a DM before anything else happens. I can attest that this works, and when you identify people who you know will react in this fashion? There are two choices. You see if the other individual respects you, and if they do? There’s room for progress.
If all they do is continue to be exactly as they were? You’re probably going nowhere.
Here is where being a ‘person of interest’ in a social media sphere becomes problematic: because if you start trying to blackmail someone that you’re a fan or you care a lot and that’s why you are the way you are, alarm bells will start ringing and trust me, any respect that person may have had for you is likely to quickly evaporate. In my personal case, what matters far more is that people can and do respect me as a person. That means you don’t sit and obsess, or imagine ‘what if’, or any of those sad and depressing things that I know happen sometimes with those people you consider as ‘aspirational.’ How do I know this? I’ve done it myself, and it’s really, truthfully not healthy long term to live in a world where you believe being with someone you’ve never met is more preferable to existing with the people you actually know. Ironically, I am aware of at least one person who started off as a fan and ended up marrying the person they idolised. It does happen, but not that often. As a rule, this is not the default.
That is why sometimes telling someone who you believe might actually listen to back off could be seen as being better than silence. That then gives that person a clear and very public marking of borders, and it allows everybody else the chance to digest this in light of the choice. There’s no misinterpretation either: ‘look, I tried to be nice about this but you’re not listening, so please just back off and that’s that’ is clear and should be not that hard to grasp. Of course, if that person keeps pushing, they then end up showing quite obviously they aren’t listening, so you acted correctly. If it were ever that black and white this should be enough, but with the murkiness of the water in certain parts of the Internet, this probably isn’t going to work. However, if you’re happy that you made an effort? That is enough. If you have the confidence to be that person and stand up? Then you’ll be able to hold your own when this takes place. That step’s a big one to take, but it is possible.
When all you’re talking about is an Internet Slapfest when it is all said and done, most people should feel that you never need to be beholden to ANYONE who’s just there to take what they need and never give back. If you think you really are friends with someone, I’d ask them first before you start ploughing on with that Fan Site or tattoo, because the chances are they may not even know you exist to begin with. Most importantly of all, if I unfollow someone on Social media the chances are I just gave up trying to communicate with them. Just because you turn up doesn’t make you a friend. Your lame jokes don’t always deserve a response, and that witty retort that sounded funny in your head was pretty fucking lame when you sent it, so maybe you should reconsider what you say, too. Maybe, if you want to talk to me you could just talk, but if you’re too scared then you have things to sort out with your life that aren’t my problem to solve, they’re yours.
I’m not your Senpai, and if you really were a true friend you’d not be reading this Blog Post and thinking I was talking about you to begin with. So actually, you’re not a friend. We’re acquaintances, you and I, and that’s probably best for us both.