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Monday, January 5, 2015

Foot In Mouth Disease

     There seems to be an epidemic going around. My fear is that there is no cure. It seems like every other day you hear of someone apologizing for something they said or wrote. There seems to be this need to chime in on everything that happens even things that aren't really that important. Now don't get me wrong everyone is entitled to their opinion/belief. We all have them and we all believe ours is the right way to think. A good discussion is always worth while. But why do people have to be so nasty and snarky about what they say?

     The internet certainly has made it easier to express our opinions. With Facebook and Twitter you can comment instantly on anything that happens. The problem is that a lot of people forget to put their brain in gear before putting their mouth in motion, or in this case their fingers. You find people blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. They don't seem to take the time to think about the affect their words will have. Or perhaps they don't care, which I think is worse. Every time I hear of someone who is apologizing for something they said, I shake my head and think, "Well why did you say it in the first place?"

     I guess I'm old fashioned in that I still believe if you can't say something nice, don't say anything. Certainly you should have an opinion and certainly you have the right to express it. "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, and most do." To me this is where the problem is, people think this is ok. They might say they're just being truthful. NO, you're being hurtful.
     Here's my opinion, if you're going to criticize and complain about something then you'd better have some solutions. Otherwise, keep your mouth or keyboard shut. If you're going to condemn someone, you'd better be perfect. There are such things as tact and constructive criticism. Winston Churchill said, "Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip."
     Constructive criticism is just that, constructive. It is helpful not hurtful. When I paint a picture it's of no help to me if someone says, "that sucks". Sure that's their opinion and maybe the painting does suck. But that doesn't help me make it better. Rather pointing out ways I could improve the painting would be of more benefit.

     Maybe not having to talk face to face with someone makes it easier to say unkind things. Ask yourself would you really say that to a person's face? Maybe the fact that you don't know the person makes it alright. And of course there are the people who make anonymous comments. These are the cowards of the internet. They don't even have the courage of their convictions or opinions to put their name on them.

     In the end when you make cutting remarks it really is a reflection of who you are as a person. You might think you're being clever and truthful but "a sharp tongue sometimes cuts it's own throat." If you read or hear something and have the need to respond, think first. You don't have to agree but come up with some thoughtful reasons why you disagree. Because if you can't do that then your opinion/belief is on very shaky ground.
     There will always be people who feel the need to condemn and criticize. We can only feel sorry for these people for they are very unhappy indeed. Let's work to end "foot in mouth disease". Maybe we can't wipe it out entirely but we can at least reduce it from an epidemic to just a random case here and there.
Maybe we need to wash some mouths out with soap, like we do for hands, to reduce the spread of disease.

A thought to ponder: The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.

Participating:No Rules Weekend


  1. I'm the type to definitely share an opinion and realize later that I shouldn't have - although I'm VERY careful about sharing those particular opinions online! Mostly because the internet is forever! :)

    1. I think we've all said something we regret at one time or another. But it's certainly a good idea to think before sharing on the forever internet.