Selfcare during #ECQ: Disengage on ONLINE arguments
Do, if possible, disengage on ONLINE arguments. They are toxic, stressful, and misconstrued emotional--even if it is academic. It's like breaking up with your fiancé through text messaging. It isn't complete.
It is impersonal. Texts do not replace a more face-to-face experience: the intonation of the voice, the facial expressions, the body language. These are void when engaging online, to which both respondents are vulnerable to misconstrued emotions and miscommunication.
Empathy is least demonstrated here. You couldn't effectively empathize with the one you're arguing with because you lack the things that you use to when discussing personally. At least on a phone call, you can empathize using the intonation of your voice (and even know if one's faking it). When I was working at the call center, we were trained to be empathic through our voices and it is somehow effective in diffusing sticky and hot situations.
And because you lack those things that aid effective communication, conversations gets impersonal and prone to miscommunication. You immediately assume this even if it isn't. Because I couldn't see you. You feel attacked and it escalates. We are impaired. We rely on visual contexts of text alone, not the facial expressions, body language, or even the audio context of voice intonation.
And when it escalates, it is prone to being hurt, stressed, and probably worse depression. Each people has its different tolerances on arguments. Some take it easily, others aren't. And when it's online, it's hard to see or feel if the particular person has already been hurt.
My mistake yesterday was engaging in one while I wasn't ready. It ended up nasty. It was political yet at the same time personal. While it may have stayed on the topic, since it is political-personal, it was unavoidable that some emotional strings are pushed--and twas online.
The argument stayed, I tried to remain calm, but I was feeling a surge of my blood pressure. I surrendered, yet it hurts inadvertently. I was somehow stressed and disturbed. While we ended up bygones-be-bygones, I could not help but felt grief and anguish within. Why was I hurt and stressed when it isn't supposed to be?
It feels awkward. Ego bruised and felt anger even if it isn't supposed to be. Was I weak? I guess. It does reaffirm my friends' observation that I am non-confrontational. Is that a weakness? I guess in the scenario yesterday, yes.
It also somehow reaffirmed my belief, online arguments really end up nasty. I can still vividly remember one online forumer who said to me that "I wished their city destroyed" while I was just posting earthquake updates and never would I wish ill for the many.
In the context of the enhanced community quarantine or ECQ, or in other words "lockdown," our social lives are limited online. We miss our
personal conversations with friends. We are also vulnerable to
miscommunication because we are impaired with with the "human
connection" of body movement, intonation, and facial expressions. Nakaksakal, we're limited to these.
For most of us, the ECQ has been stressful enough in a lot of ways--directly or indirectly felt. We are on "survival mode" and our online lives just couldn't substitute the personal experience of being with other people. We humans are social creatures, even introverts I guess.
And an online argument, whether you're on the side of 'true' or the opposite, isn't helping us to fare better in these trying times.
If you can, then go ahead, argue. But just be sure that you're prepared. If not, disengage.
To disengage on an online argument isn't cowardice. It is self-preservation of sanity and prioritizing your mental resource towards survival, safety, and keeping ourselves on track in these challenging times. Lastly, empathize. We may be winning or losing an argument, but again, the context and the environment that we are dealing with now, we need more care than hurt.
What is winning an argument when hearts are not won in these times and most especially sanity?