3 Ways to Avoid Social Media Drama
I know you’ve been there. Rattled by a lame, insensitive, or offensive statement posted online. Do you respond? And if so, how?
Social media and online forums make it very easy to vent our frustrations publicly. We can hide behind our monitors and say anything to anyone without accountability. But that kind of irresponsibility can damage our integrity and make us wish we’d thought a little more before we vented or responded.
God’s Word commands that we “not let any unwholesome talk come out of [our] mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV). Furthermore, we are given biblical instruction to not jump to conclusions (Proverbs 25:8), to stay out of a quarrel that isn’t ours (Proverbs 26:17), and to avoid sinking to someone else’s low (Proverbs 26:4).
Here are three steps we can take to alleviate an online quarrel and avoid social media drama:
- Take a breather. Instead of firing off a gut-level reaction, step back and remove yourself from the situation so you can clear you head and balance your emotions. Studies show that even sleeping on the issue will help your brain process it more effectively, leaving you in a position to respond more maturely and intelligently (and graciously, too, I imagine). If your hands are shaking at the keyboard and your face is contorting, that’s a sign to walk away, disconnect, and get your mind on something else before coming back and responding. You may even find, after a brief intermission, that the remark or email isn’t worth responding to at all.
- Take a personal inventory. When someone says something that is critical of you, could there be a seed of truth to it? Are you being called “emotional” or “judgmental” for a reason? Our pride can make us blind to the things we do that provoke certain responses in others. Whenever I am critiqued, I’ve learned to ask myself (and God): Is there something I’ve done in the past or am still doing now that gives people this impression? Taking personal inventory is healthy and necessary.
- Take it to God. Whenever someone jabs at us, our natural reaction is to jab back. But what if we immediately took it to God and asked for an understanding heart for what a person is dealing with that would cause him or her to lash out, and then ask for God’s grace and wisdom to respond appropriately. Can you imagine how much less drama there would be in this world and online if we let God and His Holy Spirit filter our responses? If we run our words and actions by the Holy Spirit’s filter, we can be assured that no unwholesome word will come out of our mouths, or onto our social media posts, but only words that are encouraging and that build up others (Ephesians 4:29).
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 15 books including her newest, Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her books and ministry, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.