The Dangers in Telling Someone to “Stop Blasting Their Problems on Social Media”

I see it all the time when I’m online, especially in my Facebook timeline. It’s pretty much the same old story…someone posts a (or several) ranty things on Facebook* and someone else comments and tells them to “stop being so negative” or to “not air their dirty laundry publicly”.

What is with the social media police, policing everybody on every goddamn thing they say or do? (Let’s ignore the fact that this post can be considered me policing people too, but I promise there’s just cause).

I know it can be a little irritating to constantly see someone complaining on Facebook, but think about it for a minute…a lot of people go to social media websites with their bad stuff because they have nowhere else to go. They feel like they have nobody they can talk to about it. So, they take to Facebook with their problems and immediately get told to keep it to themselves. How damaging is that? Oh hey, ya…sucks that you’re having a rough time dealing with shit but don’t post about it online. Deal with it yourself, quietly.

Why can’t we admit bad days? Why can’t we talk about the negative things in life? Why must we tell those who do to keep quiet? Why can’t we just be the listening ear, even occasionally, even in a Facebook status? Or at least reframe from making rude comments?

Yes, I do believe that there are some things that shouldn’t be blasted on public forums. Any time your husband does anything even remotely irritating, every fight you may or may not have, blasting your siblings for things, that kind of thing I’m a little uppity about. Mainly because I believe that you should air your grievances with said people in person, or at least directly. But in the same breath, sometimes that’s a call for help. Sometimes, there’s a bigger issue at hand. Depression and isolation, for example. I keep my mouth shut though, because it’s really none of my business to lecture someone who may already be hurting.

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When I see someone has negative posts, I try to reach out privately, to ask them if everything is okay. Generally, I’ve found when I do that, things are not ok and they actually have a lot of crappy things on their plate that they are trying to deal with, that the ranty post they put on Facebook is peanuts compared to what’s REALLY bothering them.

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We need to stop silencing people. We need to stop telling them to stop “complaining”, before we further isolate someone who may not have anybody else to talk to.

For so long, I hushed up about my own issues, sugar coating everything because bad things make people comfortable, and you certainly don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. I was scared to talk to anyone about anything even slightly negative, for fear that they’d think I was a terrible wife, mother and person in general.
It’s dangerous to tell someone to “not complain”, especially when we don’t know the whole story.

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About J.C. Hannigan

25. Mother. Wife. Lover of words. Weaver of stories. My first book, Collide, is available in e-book for Amazon Kindle and Kobo.
This entry was posted in anxiety, bits and pieces, blogging, challenges, depression, Facebook, honesty, inspiration, just thoughts, musings, real talk, self-esteem, thoughts, verbal diarrhea, words, writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to The Dangers in Telling Someone to “Stop Blasting Their Problems on Social Media”

  1. Yes yes yes! You know I agree with this 100 percent. This is internet shaming at its worst. People should feel free to express themselves and if you don’t like it then don’t read their statuses or whatever. You can look away!

    • Jess says:

      I agree! You don’t have to keep people on your Facebook friends list, there is no rule about that. But why must they constantly be “reminded” to keep their “issues” to themselves by “concerned friends and family”? If they were concerned they wouldn’t silence them.

  2. It’s tough because I know that seeing people constantly complaining on social media can be draining. I would never dream of telling someone to “be quiet”. I use the “look away” method. I’ve unfriended people, or used my handy-dandy Facebook settings to ensure that I don’t see their updates. Easy peasy.

    I think there are still a lot of people out there who live by the “rule” that we shouldn’t talk about our issues. It makes people uncomfortable because I think it reminds them that their own lives aren’t all that perfect, either. You have no idea what I went through in terms of my divorce. It was shocking how some people reacted. But I digress.

    I think that it’s important for us, as a society, to talk about what’s wrong! That’s the only way to remove the stigma from things like depression, eating disorders, anxiety, you name it. Shame only makes these issues worse. Particularly when the shame is completely unnecessary…after all, we’ve all got “skeletons” of some sort in our closets.

    Another great, thought-provoking post.

    • Jess says:

      Thanks hun! I have also lost patience and blocked/deleted people over it, and that’s ok I think. If it’s actually draining you, and stressing you out…that’s totally understandable.

  3. One of the reasons I stick with Facebook is that it enables me to keep in touch with dear friends and family members in other cities. The Facebook status becomes a proxy for cues of body language and tone of voice that tell you when someone you are talking to is going through a bad spell. Like you, I will reach out privately if I sense the person needs some care.

    • Jess says:

      That’s why I stay on Facebook, despite my mulitple issues with it. That’s where everyone is. I’m glad you reach out too! Your friends and family are lucky to have you šŸ™‚

  4. I love all of your Facebook posts lately. Especially because they actually talk about the issues going on. Not the little things like, oh Facebook did an update again and I can’t find my home button. šŸ™‚ Although, it is frustating, and I am sure someone, somewhere, is going to Google it to find a blog about it. But, your posts are real and. brutality honest.

    I’ve seen the comments you’re talking about and I’ve actually realized comments like them. Except, mine are that I post too much and should start a blog. Ironically enough, I had a blog then. After a few more comments like them, I simply removed the person because they OBVIOUSLY didn’t know how to hide my posts.

    I really appreciate the truth to this. We really don’t know what’s going on in a person’s life. I used to “air” laundry to family or in private groups because I was taught not to as a kid and that lead me to holding it all in which caused me to go down a path of self-mutilation not knowing how to deal with it. When you don’t have a best friend or someone to talk it through with, you look to other fields. Facebook is a popular one.

    I really appreciate the “think” acronym. Something I think I have to hold onto in my own life at times.

    • Jess says:

      Thank you Meg! I’m sorry you felt that way, that’s what I’m hoping people will see though…when they silence other peoples truths, tell them to stop complaining, they feel even more isolated and alone. I know I did too.

      Thank you for sharing this post too, and I’m glad you like the “think” method. I saw that and was like…how accurate. Imagine if everyone followed that?

  5. Haven’t had coffee yet so, back again with the rest of my train of thought– šŸ™‚ …

    One thing that I’ve heard a lot is when you ask someone how they are doing and they simply say “fine” because it’s the “acceptable” answer. But, if you go back and ask, how are you REALLY doing? They often have a different response.

  6. Trauma Dad says:

    I found this very encouraging this morning as I struggled to write about one of the darkest parts of my life. Thank you! I love to respond to people who are going through shit. I’m no ambulance chaser, but I want to serve my friends. Most of the time though, my friends PM me. There have been times when I’ve been constantly reading violent status updates by somebody telling her sister off or something, and I’ve just removed them from my feed, rather than my friends’ list. Mostly because threatening language causes me a lot of stress, but also because I wanted to interact with that person lovingly in real life, and I thought the constant negativity would change the way I interacted with her in real life.

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