Sep 4, 2012

A Basic Guide to Avoiding Facebook Drama

Did you know that there are nearly One Billion Facebook users?   Yeah.  That is a one with nine little zeros after it. That is more than 3 times the population of the United States... in case you were wondering.  

The stated Facebook mission statement is: "to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected."  Share and connect?  ABSOLUTELY! According to one website the average Facebook user spends eight hours a month stalking, posting and lol'ing their way through the social media site. 

Ah, Facebook, before you, what did we do with ourselves?

I know one thing we didn't do: we didn't take our private spats and broadcast them to every person we've ever known, and some we've never met (depending on your privacy settings).
 
In every life there is a little bit of conflict, and at times, even a little bit of drama. (What's the difference? Read this previous post).  According to my definition, one key characteristic of drama is the size of the audience.  Normal conflict is limited to a small group of people, while drama includes ... well, everyone. 


So, when you have something as minor as a disagreement with an acquaintance or co-worker, all the way up to something as major as a break-up with a friend or significant other, how do you avoid slipping into the "drama-zone"?? Here are some simple ways to avoid drama on Facebook, and take the "high-road".

1. Just say NO to inflammatory comments

inflammatory: adj. intending to arouse anger, hostility, passion, etc.; i.e. She is continuously burning bridges with her inflammatory status updates.

Be careful of what bridges you burn in anger. Only YOU can stop bridge fires.  Remember: “Anger is momentary madness, so control your passion or it will control you.” - Horace
 
You will have to choose today to put yourself into the shoes of the other person with whom you are having conflict.  Consider carefully if what you are about to post will be viewed as neutral, diffusing or escalating. 

An example of an escalating status update: (found on Google images)

Other potential escalating status updates: "Whatever!", "Wish some people would just get over it!", or the ever popular "WTF?!".   You can argue that the other person doesn't have to look at your status, or shouldn't take it personally... but you should know that regardless of your true intent, if you are in a fight with a friend, whatever you post could be taken personally.  Even "So glad that Elizabeth is such a good friend!" could be viewed as a jab. 

Another thing to avoid is sharing or re-posting those "someecards" posters, especially if it could be misconstrued as an attack. A poster like this might be viewed as a passive aggressive attack:
Epictetus said :“Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.” In other words: the only thing you can control is you, so make the most of that.

2. How to Avoid Walking on Egg-shells

Perhaps you read the first tip and feel frustrated by the very idea that you are no longer free to say what you want to say on Facebook.  This is America! It's a free country!  What about free-speech?!  TAKE BACK FACEBOOK!

Whoa, calm down there, ma'am.  I agree.  Sometimes you just want to vent, in a passive aggressive way, on Facebook.  That's fair, but to avoid causing more drama you will have to be wise.

You want to be able to update your status without worrying about offending someone?  You want to be intentional about avoiding drama, but still share the occasional sarcastic e-card or potentially escalating quote about friendship?  Easy as pie! Learn to use your FB custom privacy settings.
Step one: When updating your status, click on the tab that says "friends" near the bottom right corner of the update square:
Step two: Scroll down and click on "Custom".  A new window will pop up.  Looks like this:
Step three: See the picture above where it says "Hide this from"?  Start typing your "frienemy's" name and it will pop up.  Click "Save Changes" and they won't see that post or any...There ya go: freedom from walking on egg-shells.

Please note: This is not a license to say something really nasty and specific about that other person. That would STILL be drama... take the high road. 

3. Avoid stalking
While you might be trying to take the "high road" by protecting them from your potentially negative or inflammatory updates and posts, it is also best to protect yourself by avoiding looking at your "frenemy's" profile as well, because THEY might not be avoiding drama.

Nothing shakes your resolve to take the "high road" faster than seeing something passive aggressive and/or inflammatory on your "frenemy's" profile aimed at you.  If you can, it is best to avoid seeing any of their updates in your news feed for a bit, and CERTAINLY don't go looking for them by visiting their profile!

This is how you remove them from your news feed:
Step One: Go to their profile (find them in your news feed or find them in your friend list and click on their name)
Step Two: Click on the tab that says "Friends" near the upper right corner of their page (below the header image)
Step Three: Find where it says "Show in News Feed" & click on it.  If it is bold with a check-mark, they will show up in your news feed.  If there is no check-mark and it is NOT bold, they will NOT show up in your news feed.  That is the goal.

4. To unfriend or not to unfriend... that is the question


You have had a fight with a friend or family member and your little Facebook finger is itching to click "unfriend" to make a point.  How high on the drama-meter does that fall, really??  My opinion?  Pretty stinking high.  

You have to be honest with yourself, to unfriend someone on FB is pretty extreme, considering that most people aren't overly picky about who they call "Facebook friends".   "Unfriending" someone because of a fight, a temporary disagreement, or even a "break-up" might be a little bit of an over-reaction, some might even call it "drama".  Especially if you end up sending another friend request within a month or two.

In all fairness there is a time to click that little "unfriend" button and here are a few possible reasons:
1. There is harassment or abuse occurring over Facebook
2. You have no relationship with the person, and you don't want to give them access to that much personal information.
3. They are stalking you (in real life) 
4. You are clearing out your "friend" list to give yourself more privacy.
5. You are married and have a collection of "ex's" in your friend list.  Most experts say, "Clear it out!"  That's how Facebook destroys marriages.

So there you have it, 4 simple ways to avoid drama on Facebook.   Good Luck. I leave you with this one final quote to motivate you to take the "high road." Enjoy your journey.

"A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realization that your decisions cause your rewards and consequences. You are responsible for your life, and your ultimate success depends on the choices you make." Denis Waitley

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