Yesterday, I made a smart ass comment on someone’s Facebook post. This is a person I’ve known for a long time – and we know each other’s humor. The comment seemed pretty straight forward and dead on….or so I thought until he responded with a remark that made me question if he got I was being a smartass. So, I doubled down, making another smart-ass comment that I thought would make it clear I was.being a smart-ass. Nope. That didn’t land either. His response left me unsure if he understood I was being funny and/ or ironic. As I started formulated my new response, I paused…..
…..and deleted the comment.
I wondered if maybe he would see my deletion as I was upset with him. I wondered if he or his other friends would see it as me being too sensitive. I wondered if I would get a note from him written with an air of defensiveness for what he wrote in his response. And I wondered if he would believe my answer which was simple…..
…..if you have to explain a smart-ass remark, it clearly didn’t land, so why continue to put energy around explaining it.
I wasn’t upset. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t frustrated. I simply accepted that either A) what I thought was clearly a smart-ass remark was not very clear or B) he was in a headspace where he could read any comment as a smart-ass one.
Thinking back on everything including his comments on other posts, I suspect it was the latter as he had clearly been spending his day arguing with people. My remark was clearly poorly timed as he was looking for arguments which was what he sorta did on my smart-ass comment.
Why am I writing about this? Well, because I see people do this all of the time especially where written communication is concerned. One person is in one headspace while the other is in another – and what should be a playful exchange turns into a pseudo-argument all because of where each person was at personally.
And it could be easy to be defensive and blame. I often believe that is the easiest place to come from as it avoids your own feelings. It is easier to go “you’re being an idiot” and create a dialog around why that person is making you feel frustrated, rather than say “I’ve been feeling very frustrated by the world today, so maybe I’m misunderstanding what you are saying.” One position places blame on the other person for making you feel a certain way, while the other owns your frustrations, understands how that can be coloring how you read and interpret things, and seeks understanding to validate if that person is truly being an idiot.
Right now, more than ever – I think we need to stay present and aware. We have all been living at this heightened state of alert given the whole pandemic happening which has changed our lives. This means certain characteristics in our personality are going to dial down – and certain ones are going to ramp up. It is how stress works – we all deal with stress differently. And I know for me, I am making fast decisions that can result in making the wrong decisions because I’m operating like I’m triaging a car accident. It’s how I am in stress. But ultimately, it’s good to remember: