Sometimes, people just make you want to go there.
Yeah, they do. Maybe it’s a nightmare boss who seems hell-bent on setting you up to fail by giving you more work than any human can handle. Maybe it’s that nagging co-worker, the one who, it appears, had her lunch money stolen every day from sixth grade through college and is getting her payback now—by tormenting you every. Chance. She. Gets. Or, maybe it’s an obnoxious client who can’t get it together and has you convinced he needs therapy more than your product or services.
Whatever the case, every person reading this post knows someone who simply works their nerves. And thanks to the immediacy and accessibility of technology and our ability to feel connected to and perhaps even prematurely familiar with strangers online, the impulse too often is to reach out—and vent our frustrations—to our peeps via social media.
Think about it: Who among us doesn’t stand a bit taller on our soap box or feel a bit more vindicated in our outrage when we share a status update that garners multiple “likes” or “shares” by people who not only get us, but who also really feel our pain? And what fun would life and social media sharing be if we didn’t get to take part in a collective WTF? fest at least once a week, thanks to the latest celebrity gaffe or video on YouTube?
But no matter how irate you are, how slighted you feel, or how much you’re tempted to give someone the virtual middle finger via social media…don’t. It’s always a bad move.
But wait, you say. I’ll write about a client or co-worker and change their names, so they won’t know. Oh yeah, they will. Why? Because even the best laid plans to omit names and all identifying details of the guilty parties always fall short. Maybe your readers are just highly perceptive, psychic, or eerily paranoid. Maybe you just need to accept that anonymity does not exist online. So, those who know your business know exactly who you’re talking about and silently shake their heads because you’re airing your laundry in public. And those who don’t know who you’re talking about just think you’re a bitchy, mousy, passive-aggressive ass.
Social media exchanges cannot be erased. Conduct yourself accordingly.
Confronting your problem with another person is never easy, but when you do it correctly, you not only clear the air, but maintain your dignity, in the process. Here are three easy tips to help you resist the temptation to vent online, when a client or co-worker makes you want to go there.
Tell the person how you really feel, via phone or in person, because it can be difficult to determine a person’s tone via email. Clearly, simply state your concerns. But don’t stop there. Suggest ways to resolve your issue collaboratively. If your issue is with your boss, perhaps it’s time to renegotiate your job duties or talk about a raise or promotion. If it’s a petty co-worker, you might have to candidly discuss how you can work together effectively, without being best friends. If it’s a problem client, it might be time to part ways.
Get it all down on paper. Write a pointed, candid letter to the object of your irritation. Spare no details about how you feel. Curse. Suggest they play in traffic, if it helps you breathe easier. Write and vent until you feel better. Just. Don’t. Send. It.
Call a friend and vent. But not a co-worker, who could potentially rat you out to your boss or other co-workers. And if the friend is in your social media circles, make sure they have the good sense not to air your dirty business online.
Easier said than done? Perhaps. But is properly channeling and addressing your communication conflicts necessary in order to save your name and reputation? You betcha.
Because remember, while it feels good to have so many “friends” or “followers” and people in your “circles” who get where you’re coming from, you don’t want your online venting to become the object of someone else’s digital WTF? fest. You want to be the one who’s known for stating your case, working to resolve conflicts collaboratively, and keeping your head when those all around you seem to be losing theirs.
Now it’s your turn. How do you deal with people who make you want to go there? Tell us, in the comments below!