...were tattooed on your body, how pretty would you feel?
Communication 106: Third Person Perspective
This is gonna be a short one folks, and should have been something we were taught as a little kid but may have forgotten along the way. It's based on basic conversation manners, such as...
- If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all
- Only speak when spoken to (unless trying to initiate a conversation)
- Say please and thank you often
- Never argue with a fool, people might not know the difference
- Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy
However, in a conversation with someone who is a potential partner, or speaking to someone else about a common sexual topic, it's critical to do one thing: PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR PERSPECTIVE.
I'm not going to say this is something I've mastered, and we all stick our foot in our mouths from time to time. It's about trying. Trying to imagine how you would feel if it was said to YOU.
When you try, you'll find that you learn to change your narrative to a much happier conversation if you pause first, and imagine being on the receiving end of your words. It may save you from hurting someone's feelings (when you weren't trying to) and prevent you harming a good friendship or stalling a relationship that might have been sparked.
STORYTIME: I posted a picture. At the time, I had just mastered a new skill. I was feeling cheeky about myself. I wanted to share that great feeling with others. I wanted to show people this new hobby and see who else shared the same excitement about it. I opted for the social-media-cleavage-selfie. It showed all my cool supplies in the background, including something I had crafted myself for it, and I thought it looked pretty cool from that angle.
What happened? The first comment was "I see boobies lol" and then my partner asked me "why did you have to put your boobs in the picture?"
I felt instant shame and embarrassment. Pride turned depression in 0 point 3 seconds flat. I deleted the post immediately (along with the one nice comment from someone else that I didn't allow myself to acknowledge). It took the rest of the week to get back to feeling happy again. Every time I thought about going back to that hobby, all I could think of was "boobies lol" and didn't feel like practicing anymore. I felt like a dumb bimbo without a brain who only wanted to show off her boobies. (That's not really me. I have tiny boobs. It's rare that I feel awesome about my boobs. Really. )
I know no one meant the comments to be mean or condescending, and they weren't saying it to judge, but it still derailed from the point of the post. They saw the pic in a different perspective I did. What they said/posted within 30 seconds affected me for days. Would it have gone differently if they had waited 5 minutes to think about their words before saying them? Probably not. They probably would have said the same thing anyways because they don't own boobs and wouldn't understand how I was feeling about the pic. I thought it was a neat picture angle... they thought I was showing off my boobs. In the moment, it was both really, but it wasn't the direction I thought the comments would go. Naive little me.
But do NOT feel sorry for me. Live and learn, and what not. And this is what I learned... I know I've done this to others. I've seen the selfie pic and jokingly posted "holy boobs batman!" to be funny. I did it in seconds without thinking before I hit the post/send button. Thinking back, I now feel like giant bag of dicks.
Our reactions are instantaneous these days. THEY SHOULDN'T BE.
Our fingers should not be conditioned to hit enter without re-reading what we are about to put out in the world. We aren't just typing a class paper that we plan to edit before sending to the teacher. We are writing things that NEVER get an 'edit stage' before the entire world sees them. And that's not right. Our communication patterns, as a world, are changing because of the ease of technology. But MANNERS should never change, and unfortunately those are being forgotten in a society full of instant gratification.
This is not a story about the right/wrong way to respond to a post. Every situation is different. It's simply a reminder to practice saying your words to YOURSELF before you release them onto others. We aren't always going to know how someone else would react, but if it makes you feel bad thinking about someone else saying it to you... well then you know you need to just keep your mouth shut and not say it to someone else.
But does it make them feel AWESOME? Go for it.
Comment something positive on someone else's post. ONLY positive. Bonus points if you do it on a post that makes you eyeroll the first time you look at it. Remember, not every single post has to do with someone trying to find gratification and validation to replace the hole in their heart. They might just be posting it cause they thought it was a cool pic. BE SUPPORTIVE.