A few months back I got a message from one of my closest friends saying how he didn’t like one of my recent blogs. I accepted that feedback because I don’t expect everyone to like my posts and I was absolutely okay with him having a different opinion. But he went on to describe the reason for his dislike saying how my post was lame and appalling, how I was misinformed and how the entire content was just wrong. That ticked me off because not liking my content or style of writing was his choice, but questioning and belittling my ideology and views was not. I decided to leave it at that for the moment until I calmed down and talk to him later. I did that a few days later, explaining how his tone and choice of words hurt me and how he could put it across in a better way. I also went on to say that while he had all the right to criticize me on my style, it was not really okay for him to talk about my views as lame or appalling or misinformed, because just like he had a right to his opinion, I had mine.
Thankfully, he understood what I was trying to say and I love him for that. Of course, that happened only because he is that close to me. But one point he told me that day struck me. He said that he developed that style of commenting on things as a result of taking part in too many web debates. And that’s true. I’ve seen in the comments section of way too many posts, the fights and outright insulting of others in the name of debates. In fact, I had written a blog earlier about the hatred on the web space based on this (A cobweb of hatred – http://insanereverie.in/a-cobweb-of-hatred/).
This trend of people thinking they should counter others and convince them of their own views is what made me start putting up “P.S.” sections in my posts about how I do not entertain long comment threads or comment wars. That is in no way me curbing your right to your opinion. That is only me preventing my timeline from becoming a battleground. I had to moderate comments on my posts a couple of times before when they were going out of hand and my friends, who were strangers to each other were seen engaging in heated arguments. I also write very politely that I would love to see their ideas on their own timeline and that I am moderating my comments section only to avoid unnecessary negativity that could and would come up. Most people have understood the essence of what I am trying to say and respected that too.
However, there are still some who are pretty bullheaded in wanting me to conform to their ideas, almost to the extent of seeming desperate. I had one such guy in my friends’ list who used to try and pick up an argument with not just me, but anyone else who had posted a comment with an opposing view. I had personally asked him to take it easy a number of times. I guess he never got the message, because in a recent blog post of mine he started with long comments in an accusatory tone. I replied to his comment, saying it was okay for us to have different opinions and that as always I would have to end the comment thread there as it could lead to an argument. He added on a point again and I chose to not reply any further.
Ten minutes later I checked my Facebook inbox and saw not one, not two, but 15 lines of chat from him! I didn’t bother to read it completely because just by scrolling down quickly I could see that it was a rather heated attempt to prove his ideas. I am not going to give a screen-shot of the chat here, because that is cheap. I will give a summary of how it went though, just to show how it ended.
Him: 15 long sentences on how I should not have written what I wrote, how I was absolutely wrong in thinking what I thought and how he was right in his views.
Me: Mannnnn, if you think I’m going to read that looooong chat, you’ve got to be kidding me. 😛
No offense. But you’ve got to understand that not everyone wants to know what you feel. I don’t force anyone to read or subscribe to my views.
And I don’t engage in any sort of conversation of this kind.
So please spare me. 😀
Him: 4 more sentences on why he is right.
Him: One more sentence on why he is right.
Me: You are a funny guy!
Here I’m thinking about what to have for lunch.
And you are still hell-bent on making me listen to you.
Him: Two more sentences on why he is right.
One sentence saying he has already had his lunch.
One more sentence on why he is right.
Me: So now that you’ve understood that I’m more concerned about my lunch, will you spare me and find someone else who is patient enough to listen to you? 😉
After this conversation, I had a good laugh and then went on to unfriend this guy, not because he had different views, but because I didn’t like the attitude with which he was trying to force his views on me, despite me saying I was not interested in having a conversation about it.
That does not mean I do not listen to others’ views at all. There are people with whom I share a very good rapport and enjoy having such conversations. Even when we discuss different views, we do it in a respectful manner. I post my ideas on my web space only to feel good about writing, not really to enlighten anyone or make anyone agree with me. But who to discuss that with is entirely my choice, which I exercise as politely as possible.
So please understand, you have an option of believing what you want to and expressing those beliefs too, without trying to make others conform to your ideas. We are all adults here and we all have our reasons for upholding our beliefs without needing anyone to tell us how to think. And if someone says they don’t want to have a conversation/debate, please do learn to respect that choice instead of overtly and covertly insulting them, bullying them and telling them that if they chose to express their ideas on the web, they are obligated to listen to every Tom, Dick and Harry! In short, please grow up!