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2.26.2009

When Keeping it Real Goes Right

Robin Monique at The Life & Times of Robin Monique has committed to giving up the use of "LOL" for Lent. Her post and explanation of why got me to thinking about some stuff. She said:
Often, I’m trying to soften the blow of a statement that I feel will be interpreted as harsh. Even more often I’m attempting to add a jestful tone to something that I’m quite serious about. As a person who encourages people to shoot straight from the hip (Ask CJ how many times I’ve demanded that he “says what he means and means what he says.”) it’s hypocritical of me to hide the intentions of my words behind the “LOL.” Even from a more practical standpoint the “LOL” are three characters of my 140 or 160 I’m allowed with Twitter or texting that can be put to much better use.
This resonates with me. I find myself using smiley faces when I'm not smiling and saying "lol" when I'm not even giggling. But I want to soften a blow or show that I'm sorta joking or to avoid awkwardness. I know that for as much as we use non-verbal ways to communicate with each other, we're all still really bad and understanding tone. In fact we just blindly assign tone to written word. We have no other choice. So being as blunt as I am from time to time, I find myself using "lol" or ":)" to make sure people know I'm not being serious. Or... rather to divert attention away from how serious I'm being?

Robin Monique talks about how she prefers people who "shoot straight from the hip" and so do I. In fact, I pride myself on doing the same. Unfortunately my experience has been when you're honest with people they don't take it well... ever.

However, recent events have me reconsidering my "don't ask don't tell" personal policy. That is, unless my friends seek my advice, I usually don't offer it -- and even when they do ask, I like to make sure they really want to hear what I have to say. Now I'm beginning to feel like a bit of a hypocrite. Surely there's a happy medium between saying what people wanna hear and saying what they need to hear. One where they understand that it's not about hurting their feelings (though I accept that it may) but about being helpful.

My mother and I clashed over the years because she would say something I felt was insulting for no reason. She would say "it's the truth!" to which I would respond "just because it's the truth doesn't mean it's necessary to say..." and I still feel that way but maybe I oughta broaden my scope a little...

3 comments:

A. Red said...

Wow...I've never looked at it like that. I myself use LOL even though I know good darn well I mean what I'm saying and it's not a laughing matter. The crazy part is it's only when I'm writing. If I was talking to the person face to face, I wouldn't crack a smile, let alone laugh.

Furthermore, I have really tough skin. I can take it because I dish it. I would be a hypocrite if I didn't. Therefore, nothing people say really bothers me...unless I know they're telling the truth. Even then, I'd say something smart, but store what they said in the back of my mind.

A.Smith said...

I feel like I take stuff well, or as well as a person can take honest criticism, too, A.Red... I feel like if I hand it out I have to. I've found, unfortunately, that a lot of people don't feel the same way and so they don't try to be honest with me and that in turn makes me feel, sometimes, like I can't be honest with them.

But I'm gonna do better, period.

ShantaeMarlinda said...

I feel the absolute, sometimes heart-wrecking, truth is the best way to go all the time; but because I understand the sensitivies of our society I tend to avoid such with certain individuals. While honesty is the best policy, telling them what they want to hear saves an argument, and you, the stress.

I recall a conversation I recently had where the person expressed to me the downside of being over considerate -- which floored me because I didn't realize such a thing could exist. When it comes to people and honesty it seems as though we're either inconsiderate or over considerate. I hardly believe there's a middle ground anymore. You're either being too easy or not easy enough. Too honest or not honest enough. Sometimes you can't win, I guess.

Rambling again. I'll stop.

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