I love and hate Facebook. I love to use it for my business and this blog, and I love the handful of groups I participate in. But otherwise, I think it’s the pits. Just think about election season, for example. The season for “friends” and “followers” to put down the masks and start shooting.
But it doesn’t happen ONLY during election season. It happens every day. It happens every time someone publishes a status that someone else virulently disagrees with. And with 286,408,382 gazillion folks on FB – that’s a lot of you-know-what hitting a lot of spinning blades.
So you’d think Christians would be different. Cuz, you know, Jesus never had a hissy fit, so none of His followers should either, right?
Well, let’s see. Remember those disciples wanting to rain brimstone and hellfire on those nasty old cities who rejected them? Remember all the foot stomping over who was the bestest in the westest? No, the followers of Jesus Christ are just that. Human beings following their God as best they can – and royally screwing up now and again.
And NEWS FLASH: nobody agrees 100% with anyone else. Period.
Let’s talk about that for a minute, because I’m starting to think, after all the letters and conversations I’ve had over the years, that people really, honestly believe that they can find a pocketful of fellow Wemmicks that all think exactly the same on every single nuance of every single issue and just huddle together in one happy little group.
I’ve been a fanatical, God-loving Christian for 40 years, and I’ve been a member of three different churches, graduated from a Christian college, taught in a Christian school, worked in full time Christian ministry, and volunteered for several Christian organizations during that time, and I’ve never once—never once—seen eye to eye with anyone on everything.
I’ve rubbed shoulders in big and small ways with just about every shade of Christian from charismatics to Bill Gothardites. From seeker sensitive church planters in the city with 1.2 children to homesteading families with 17 children that I can’t visit unless I’m willing to drive 4 hours round trip. From skirt wearing sisters to jeans and t-shirt wearing sisters. From Christian rock lovers to hymn singers. From grain-sprouting fanatics to Schwans-dependent moms. From natural birth die-hards to epidural loving woosies (of which I am one).
I’ve never found fellowship nirvana, folks. It doesn’t exist. You know what I HAVE found? A lot of human beings to love and enjoy in spite of our differences. I haven’t always loved them well, but I’m determined to spend the last half of my life loving better.
We’re getting to the point here. You see, FB hissy fits happen when one Wemmick disagrees with another one. And since that happens frequently in life, it’s tempting to start having a fit. Right there on FB where everyone can see. What to do? Are we victims of our emotions?
I’d like to first give you some tips on how to avoid having one, and then I’d like to give you some ideas of what to do when you observe someone else that you otherwise respect – having one.
What to Do When a Facebook Hissy Fit Begins to Overtake You
So you’ve read something that really torks your ticker. You can feel your jaw clench, your brow bust into a sweat, your heart pound in your chest, your blood pressure shoot upward at 257 miles per hour. This is your signal to shut your computer, close your eyes, take a deep breath and…
1. Remind yourself that behind the status update, there’s a flesh and blood human being made in the image of God.
It’s not just black words on a white screen. It isn’t an attack of a inanimate robot. It’s your sister. Or your cousin. Or your Bible study leader. Or your old college roommate. It’s a person with a difference of opinion.
Your knee jerk reaction is to unfriend the little stinker. But think about it. When you “unfriend” someone in a fit of FB rage, that says more about who you are than it says about the person you unfriended. Do you aspire to mature nobility? Are you a Daughter of the Most High King?
Queens do not delete people. Criminals do.
2. Remind yourself that you already knew you didn’t agree with them on everything.
This is normal. It’s gonna be OK.
3. Remind yourself that people matter infinitely more to God than our pet-issues.
Is God FUUREEAAAKING out? Probably not. So why is His daughter?
4. Remind yourself that you aren’t the greatest Christian since the apostle Paul.
A little dose of humility does wonders to alleviate hissy-fit-itus.
5. While you are feeling deep, deep feelings—DO NOT RESPOND.
Do not respond. Do not respond. Do not respond. Sometimes the most powerful message you can send is silence.
What to Do When Someone Has a Hissy Fit on Your Wall or Page
You’ve shared something you thought was interesting. This has exposed you and made you vulnerable to scrutiny. Now someone who didn’t like what you shared has vomited on your wall and left you with a clean up job. What to do?
1. See point 5 above.
Don’t respond. At least not right away. Sometimes you may even want to give it 24 hours to get cold and lose some of the stench. By that time you’ll have thought of 289 possible responses – and one of them will be just right for the clean up job.
2. Evaluate whether or not there is any truth to the comment.
Sometimes in the middle of the vomit there is a chunk of something valid. (I know, this is really graphic imagery. But it works, don’t you think?) You can acknowledge the good while separating it from the garbage.
3. If they ask a question, answer it completely, but briefly.
With zero emotion (a kind-of-exciting challenge, actually). Try to make your point, well, to the point. This can be hard to do when your hands are on your hips, your jaw is on the floor, and your eyes are bugging out 7 feet. And you really have to be careful on FB because if you accidentally hit the return button in the middle of a response that hasn’t been edited at least five times, you may live to regret it. Ask me how I know. And tragically, that was before I knew you could delete a post.
Editing is good. You write. You delete. You rewrite. You delete some more. And eventually you have a decent, law-abiding response that you’re not ashamed to show your Great-Grandma. Or God.
4. If they misunderstood you, explain, but briefly.
Sometimes it’s a simple communication problem. If you think an explanation is in order, do it. But keep in mind that this doesn’t always clear things up either, and there is potential to dig yourself into a very deep hole from which extraction is no longer possible.
I’ve got bits and pieces of myself in holes all over the place. Thank goodness my memory is rotten, and the rest of me has moved on.
5. Get back to real life.
The most effective recovery antidote is to simply close your computer and engage in the real world around you. Play some good music. Drink some chamomile tea. Read a good book. Make chicken pot pie and then eat it.
You’ll be fully recovered in no time.