Posted by: Angela | October 26, 2006

I hurt her feelings

I am relatively new to the whole blogging, commenting, instant communication thing.  I use e-mail extensively, but I have never went for using IM (remember that), or bulletin boards, chat rooms.  I was always worried about having people misunderstand me and the inability to take things back because the communication is instant but delayed enough for various thoughts to go through your head.  Plus it is faceless, so you can’t read all those micro expressions and body language that tell us the rest of the story.

So I am merrily commenting away at pinktruth.com (the blog formerly known as Mary Kay Sucks).  Someone writes a long comment/story looking for help.  This was relatively late (I am a later timezone that a lot of people there it seems).  Her story just seems so amazing to me that I make the snap judgement that it could not possibly be true.  Her response is one of hurt and discouragement.  But by that time I signed off.  So I hurt the feelings of someone I don’t even know, have never seen, and likely never will.  So I apologized, but I don’t know if it will change that hurt. 

The danger of on-line communication is this very thing.  You can say stuff, but you can’t always take it back.  You can’t delete it.  What is amazing is your words have just as much power to hurt someone as if you said it to their face.  Maybe those words hurt even more because the person saying the hurtful thing (me in this case) can’t see your face and your very real hurt.

So to the girl, if you ever read this, please accept my apology.  Really, I am sorry. 

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Responses

  1. I hear you on this one! I think most of us who have been involved with a chatroom or discussion board has had an occassion where either we misunderstood or what we said was misunderstood. One of the dangers of online communications indeed. Now think about all those teenagers out there texting, chatting and the like…no wonder so many of them are lacking social skills 😦

  2. Mommy—
    At the risk of sounding cold, I will say that you are being too hard on yourself. Making a premature judgement and commenting, while may be hasty, I can’t imagine someone on the web getting hurt by it. Or maybe I should say staying hurt by it.

    You are right, everyone here is faceless. Maybe I am being inexperienced, but I always thought that you can only be hurt by someone you care about, respect and actually care about what they have to say. Someone to whom you give the power to hurt you. If you give them that kind of power, you’d better trust them completely.

    Again, sorry if this is a bit cold.

  3. Mentor Mom – Thanks for your kind words. I had that same thought about teenagers this morning especially since I have been around them so much with my husband’s jobs.

    Dragonmommie, yes, I think what you say is too some extent. What surprised me in all of this even while we assume certain things about communicating the web, I still felt bad about making a hasty judgement. Not so much because I was right or wrong, but because I am trying to model being not being hasty for my daughter and to not just pop off at things. Words are powerful things, I think of God speaking the world into being and Jesus being the Word. So as a confessing Christian, I should mind my words even on the internet. That is what really hit me this morning.

  4. Ah, now that you put it THAT way! I agree words can be strong and powerful. “The Word”, made manifest. The Hebrews believed that the spoken word could make or break you… literally. I love mystical stuff like that and wish that I knew more.

  5. mommy
    don’t let it get to you. You have done all you can so let it go… I tend to find it easier to be more judgemental when I am not talking to someone’s face and I have to work on that. Also it is hard to tell someone’s sincerity when you don’t know them or can’t see their face. The gal that got her feelers hurt…well she has to be willing to take any response she gets when you blog even the not positive ones. I mean, isn’t that what blogging is all about reading others opinions no matter what they are??
    cheers

  6. I Know nothing about the situation but the important thing is that you learned from your experience, take the learning forward, and try to let go of the regret because we can’t change the past, only the future. The recipient of the comment will have her own journey to live, her own interpretations, her own lessons to learn, and perhaps you have helped her achieve some sort of positive learning experience for herself.

  7. I’m a little late on the commentary here but looking back through comments on my own blog I remembered yours! I just wanted to say that after the last few weeks on the mary kay blog wars I totally get what you are saying. It’s nearly impossible to convey just what you “mean” and then if misunderstood it’s as if there is no room for grace…sadly.

    Your blog is great…keep at it! I enjoyed reading it today…and it did make my desire to want to move to Montana reignite! I have a friend who moved to Bozeman a few years ago and she digs it totally.


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