While at Teach Them Diligently, I had the honor of hearing Heidi St. John speak. And during her talk that goes along with her book “The Busy Mom’s Guide to Daylight,” she made a statement that seared my soul. She spoke of busyness. And how busyness in and of itself is not a bad thing—we just need to be sure we’re busy doing the right kind of things—kingdom things. Nothing profound there, although we all need reminded of it sometimes.
Then she began to talk about time-wasters, mentioning facebook, like I knew she would. It seems to be a growing time waster for so many of us. But just when I was settling into that comfortable place, she took it one step further—facebook drama. Ouch.
I have to confess to engaging too often in online/facebook drama. And the truth is, nothing good comes from it. In fact it’s the opposite. Engaging in this drama drains my time, my energy, and my mood. I’m ashamed to admit it, but sometimes, I take out my frustration from online drama on my real life family! That’s not okay!
So what do we do about it? If I’m not the only one who’s guilty of this, and I suspect I’m not judging from the amount of drama I see online, how do we fix it?
I’ll start with the most obvious and practical. Ignore and Avoid.
Ignore. Did you know that it’s totally possible to just keep on scrolling without commenting on that provocative post? Yeah, me neither. All too often, my fingers seem to have a mind of their own. A great reminder I read a while back: You don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to. And in fact, you’ll be a happier, more peaceful person if you don’t.
Avoid. Did you know that you can “hide” people from your newsfeed on facebook, without unfriending them? You can. Simply hover in the right hand corner of the offending post until you see an arrow, select “hide status” and then you’ll be given an option to “change what updates you receive from Susie.” You can then choose to “unfollow,” or select one of the other options. You can also do this from an individual’s profile.
If there is a blog that you know is provocative in an attacking way, don’t visit it. If it’s a commenter on your own blog, don’t engage—your readers will respect you more for it. It’s my policy to say “Thank you for commenting.” No matter how badly I want to defend myself, I fight the urge, because I don’t want that drama and negativity on my blog.
But somehow I have allowed that negativity into my life, and that’s what I need to do something about. And while avoiding or ignoring can be useful sometimes, it doesn’t completely fix the problem. For starters, it would be impossible to completely avoid any situation which might invite argument (unless you’d like to live in a cave with no access to the outside world!). Secondly, the urge to participate in the drama is a heart issue, and should be addressed as such.
I hope you’ll come back over the coming weeks as I continue to share some of the things God has been showing me about this—some of the how’s and why’s of living a drama-free life. I will be focusing a lot on the online brand of drama, but these principles apply to any kind of conflict and drama. So much of it just isn’t necessary. And while sometimes conflict is good and necessary, we can blow it if we approach it in the wrong way.
In the meantime, what do you think? Have you noticed drama in your facebook newsfeed lately? How do you avoid getting sucked in to it?