The one where Ches gets all preachy

Sometimes it seems that SL relationships are easier than RL and other times having meaningful friendships is so much harder than when you can look someone in the eye, listen to the inflection in their voice...really really see them. I rely so much on the visual cues. Does the person look away when I talk? Are they fidgety? Do they look uncomfortable? Are they smiling? Gawd I miss those cues in SL so much.

I have noticed a trend and I wonder if it is something other people have noticed too. It is so easy to tp away, hide your feelings, log out or pretend to crash when things are uncomfortable. And because we can hide often people do. I will admit that I am guilty of this for sure. Sometimes rather than talk about the issue at hand people get all passive aggressive on their blog, or plurk or twitter or whatever. I make a point of not doing this although there have been times when I may possibly have in a round about way.....never mind. Moving on.

While I am no fan of conflict it certainly exists even in the most perfect relationships. Believe me I have tried many methods of dealing with conflict and most of them don't work for me. Letting the hurt or anger fester gives me ulcers and it destroys relationships. However difficult, I think talking directly, openly and honestly is the way to go. We all know this and yet it is hard as hell to do, no?

I started out by saying I miss body language in SL but now that I think about it maybe the lack of non-verbal cues is a good thing -- stay with me a second on this one, ok?

In RL I might glance at someone or a use a gesture as a form of communication. But those non verbal cues can be easily misinterpreted or missed entirely. So, I may think I have communicated a feeling but the other person may not have a clue as to my meaning. I have been known to get angry with people for not understanding feelings I believe I have communicated non-verbally. My husband calls this a "set up" and he may be right. After all, it is unfair to expect another person to know what you are feeling unless you tell them. Even if you give them the hairy eyeball across the room and couple that with an Olympic gold medal quality hair toss.

So one advantage SL has for me is I can't pretend my glances or gestures or silences are packed with meaning. Since we don't have easy, natural body language I can't engage in the "set up."

In both worlds if we want to resolve conflicts with people we have to talk. We have to dig deep, listen to our own inner voices, find the words and say them. Don't tp away, don't hide and please for the love of puppies and rainbows don't bitch about it on your blog or on plurk. Express yourself. Talk. Please.


Argent Bury said...

Thank you for expressing so well something that's been rolling around in my head for a while too.

So much drama I see seems to stem from people:

1) Not giving a charitable reading to what people say, assuming the worst, and then acting on that.

2) Harboring resentment for some small perceived slight for weeks or months, but never thinking to discuss it with the person in question and see if it's true or not.

3) Posting all sorts of veiled "you know who you are" posts in public rather than dealing with the problem in private.

4) Reacting and speaking first, thinking second

So, generally speaking, not communicating well. There are plenty of other reasons things blow up, but this inability or unwillingness to actually engage, compromise, and communicate with another person seems to be a biggie.

Drama seems to happen more to people who go on about it at length and at great volume as well. I'm not sure why this is, but I find it hard to believe that the forces of the universe have chosen one person or another as the target of extra helpings of drama. I think they just see things differently, and it affects their situation.

If you deal with something in an overblown fashion the smallest thing can become drama. If you deal with something with care and effort, even the worst situation will never be more than that - a bad situation.

Thanks for a very thought-provoking post, Chestnut. Keep them coming ^_^

Lunette said...

Wow, excellent post. Thank you for sharing your writing with us. You have such a wonderful gift for putting things into words.

chestnut rau said...

Thanks Argent and Lunette. This post has been perking in my head for a while. I was able to finally get it written last night after a long battle with my words. I wasn't sure I got it right so I do appreciate your comments very much.

Dale Innis said...

Yay, Ches!

One pessimistic :) note: the lack of nonverbal channels doesn't completely eliminate the "set up", it just requires the setter-up to do it verbally, by texting something that doesn't actually *say* X, but that the other person "should obviously have realized" *meant* X.

Wherever we go, there we are. :)

Eli Schlegal said...

Wow... talk about hitting the nail on the head. Were you reading my mind when you wrote about all the things *not* to do? I did the TP away trick just this weekend and I was ready to follow up with the log-off for the night manuever. However, I was able to convince myself not to do that and ended up talking things through. Issues certainly were not resolved, but stuff that had been bottled up came out and that was a good thing.

Rosie Barthelmess said...

I love this post, Chestnut. Sorry I haven't been over to read as recently as I may have liked. You were reading my mind, as always. :)

Kate Amdahl said...

Well, I'm not so sure about this, hon. The part where you implore people to express themselves ("use your words!") is wonderful. :) But about not having gestures and expressions...if the only advantage is that then we don't rely on them when we shouldn't, can't we get the same advantage by choosing not to rely on them? And anyway, a system like that would be far from perfect, so we probably wouldn't rely on them anyway...but we would get more communication! God, I would *love* to be able to raise my eyebrow at someone, or wink, or smile in a particular way for a particular amount of time. We can't help it, but we're all so impassive, so cool, so unindividual in our expression! But if we ever get them, let's just not rely on them too Second Life or First!

^^^\ Kate /^^^