Instead of getting furious at an online stranger, try asking this one simple question and see what happens
Has this happened to you? You’re online, you make a comment on somebody’s post and, next thing you know, here comes someone else with their very strong opinion about how you’re wrong and they’re right, and next thing you know, what happens?
It just ends up deteriorating into this battle. And there’s a lot of people that don’t even want to be online because of that sort of thing. They don’t even want to read that sort of thing. Well, when that happens, here’s something that I’ve found useful. Instead of defending yourself against this person or instead of attacking back and trying to prove how they’re wrong, what if you just get curious?
‘Cause after all, isn’t this person as entitled to their opinion, no matter how different it might be? I know it doesn’t always feel that way. Sometimes it feels like you want to get in there and prove them wrong. But you’re doing this for you as much as them. Instead of getting all furious, what if you just get curious? And next time somebody comments, you just say, can you elaborate?
And you ask that simple question, can you elaborate? If that person really does have a point that they’re trying to get across, they’ll extend a little more communication, they’ll go a little bit deeper. This has a very interesting effect, because it diffuses the situation. Most of the time, people just want to feel heard, they just want to feel valued, they want to feel seen.
So, by getting curious and saying, can you elaborate, if this person has something to say, it’ll deepen the dialog. Now, if this person is just totally committed to saying how they are right and you’re wrong, you’ve demonstrated, in front of the entire social media world, that you’ve chosen to take a high road.
You’re not going to get involved. This has a very interesting effect, because it keeps you in your center. It keeps you in a place of being more calm, more confident, more relaxed. And, think about it, if this person is saying something to you that’s so offensive and so abusive, if you know what you believe and if you feel solid with your beliefs, then whatever they say has no bearing on your reality.
And maybe they invite you to think about things a little differently. Maybe you invite them to think about things a little differently. Maybe this is a way that all of us expand, in collaboration with one another. It doesn’t have to go down the drain. So next time you find yourself in a situation where things are getting a little bit heated, instead of getting all up in arms, just ask that question, care to elaborate?
It’s beautiful invitation that you can give anybody. And I think you’ll like the results a lot.