Friday, January 9, 2015

Those "Don't Ever Say" Lists Probably Aren't Effective

You know the ones.

"10 Things To Never Say to Introverts"

"Things Christians Should Never Say"

"508 Things You Should Never Say To a Stay-At-Home/Working/Homeschooling/Short-Haired/Hungry Mom"

These are all fictitious, of course, but you know the articles and blog posts I'm talking about.  You could find one right now, if you wanted.  Just go to Google and start to type in "things to never say to" and see what pops up.

Not only are they completely overdone at this point, but I believe they are completely NOT doing what people hope they do.  People hope that these types of articles will cause others to treat them in the way that they want to be treated.  But I doubt they are being read by the people who they think need to read them.  These types of articles are only read by subgroup of people who the article is about, and used to reinforce the perceived injustice they feel from other people.

Whenever I see these things shared, they are shared by the introvert/non-Christian/stay-at-home mom.  Never by the person who has one of these people in their life.  Frankly, it's passive-aggressive.

First of all, I've come to the realization that no social battle will ever be won on the internet.  The internet is too impersonal, and these issues are ONLY personal.  There are too many ways to find only the viewpoint you are looking for, so if you're trying to push for change and someone doesn't agree with you, then they are probably not going to even read your post.  Or they'll read it and reference five other posts that support their side.  So it's a waste.

Second, it is almost directly opposed to the Golden Rule.  In Matthew 7:12, we find Jesus saying, "Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you" not "Tell others how you want to be treated."  The action always starts with us, not with us telling others what to do.  Basically, we're not the boss of other people.  And articles like these scream, "treat ME better!"

I'd like to think that someday I'll get to the point where if someone says something to me that is hurtful, then I'll be grown-up enough to talk to them about it, rather than finding an article online and posting it to my Facebook wall, hoping the offending party will read it and feel contrite.  I'd also like to get to the point where if someone says something to me that is hurtful, I'll quickly try to think of where they might be coming from and realize that they weren't trying to be hurtful.  In fact, they were trying to be supportive, even though they said the completely wrong thing.

I'm guilty of this kind of passive-aggressiveness.  Especially when I was pregnant.  Often now that I'm a mom.  And maybe even with this post.

But I don't think those articles work any more.  And I'd like to see them disappear in 2015.

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