Find out how looking someone in the eye can prevent you hurting them

by Heena Modi on April 1, 2017

A new trend…

Over the last year or so, I’ve been aware of an increasing number of people who are hurting others, possibly without realising.

I hear you asking ‘How can you hurt someone and not realise?!!?’

Delivering feedback, criticism and complaining

I’ve been at the other end of aggressive, faceless messages myself. After experiencing it for the second or third time, I became aware that there was a shift in what people were willing to ‘say’ and how they were communicating it.

Skip the bullet points if you know the ways in which Twitter, Facebook, email and the phone can be used.

  • Twitter – Twitter is an amazing way to get a quick response from a company, whether it’s a reply to a question, sharing positive feedback or making a complaint. Many companies have made it possible for anyone with a Twitter account to send them a Direct Message. This is important because it means the user can raise a concern privately without the business losing face. It doesn’t have to be a public battle!
  • Facebook – there are so many ways to express yourself on Facebook. Some of these include, using your personal profile, leave a message on a group, send a private message, comment on a page and use messenger.
  • Email – we can use email to send typed messages, share videos, photos and audio files. It may involve collaboration, it could be a reminder, a sentimental message and so on. It can be used to communicate with one or more people.
  • The phone – text messages, WhatsApp, voice calls and video calls are some of the ways in which mobiles can be used to communicate. Again, this can involve one or man individuals.

So what’s the problem?

Let me share some examples…

  • I’ve seen messages on Twitter like “Hi @…, I had 2 special voucher codes and I’ve only used one, but it says I’ve used both? :-(” or “Hello @…, I didn’t receive my subscription this month :-(” These aren’t particularly aggressive, (I’ve seen worse), but why not send a private message instead of publicly blasting the company?
  • On Facebook I’ve seen messages that are sarcastic and rude. I wasn’t given the benefit of doubt. Others lacked the patience to ask, but rather assumed and attacked me for sharing something which was actually within the group’s rules.
  • I’ve read long, harsh emails, which I can only hope the sender wouldn’t have said out loud if he/she was facing the people they sent it to.
  • Someone once told me that the phone was a weapon of torture. She said you can’t see the other person’s reaction, you can continue verbally abusing them, bullying them, insulting them and even say things in jest, whilst completely devastating them.

What can we do to turn things around?

  1. Think through what you want to say and evaluate whether it needs to be shared
  2. Try and figure out if there’s an alternative explanation/cause or theory behind what you’ve noticed/want to address
  3. If it needs to be said, think about how you’d say it if you could see them, and then organise a video call or meet them to discuss whatever it is
  4. Don’t press send/tweet/share/post when you feel angry, hurt or irritated in any way
  5. If it’s positive, make a point of sharing it publicly. It might help others to notice and express positive comments

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