Want to either have it out or tattle to their mom
June 29, 2020 4:30 PM   Subscribe

Someone close to me is saying bizarre, inaccurate, hypocritical and frankly hateful things on social media attached to their real name and it's really distracting me and I find I can't stop thinking about it. I don't want to "start drama" but I also can't seem to let it go, I am a talker and that's the only way I can seem to get around things is getting them off my chest. But just talking to someone who doesn't care either way isn't helping. How are you all dealing with similar issues?

I have already unfollowed and blocked them on social media but I caved just now and took another peek. I know it's on me to not do that, but having them blocked just made me obsessed with wondering what they were up to today.

This was a pretty close family member & we used to text every day about all kinds of things; now I don't really want to talk to them about anything, knowing how they "really feel" about non-negotiable items. But at the same time this was the only person I had to text about stuff like that.

I know that this phase has hit a lot of families earlier than it's hit me so I was wondering if you have any tips. I keep getting the urge to tell our other family members as if that will somehow make it stop but I also don't want to make them upset or make them feel caught up in anything.
posted by bleep to Human Relations (6 answers total)
Because it's family, you can consider using email to say You seem pretty upset, what's up? Maybe something happened?

Otherwise, distract yourself. Baby goat videos will help.
posted by theora55 at 4:39 PM on June 29 [3 favorites]

That sucks. I see a few options:

1. Call them out. (Kindly, because having a brutal convo that causes a bigger riff is useless) Ask them to explain their points better. Follow it up with "That's not what I have ever experienced." or "It's been hard to talk to you lately because of the way you've been speaking about X. What am I missing here?" Perhaps they're not as married to their line of thinking as they act online.

2. Call them out in an honest, respectful way in a private form of communication like email. It sounds like getting things off your chest is important to you.

3. Call them out and be a dick. Sometimes the things people say are beyond crossing a lie. Shit is REAL lately and it's fair to have less and less patience for garbage opinions that doesn't respect people's experiences or the basic value of human lives.

4. Cut them off. Just stop engaging. Screw them. When they text or try to engage, be up front about why you're not interested ("the thing you said about X is so out of line with everything I'm reading and learning about that I don't know how we can talk to each other anymore").

It sucks being the bigger person. But I'm hesitant to write people off because it doesn't help challenge ideas. I'm not an expert at this but my only "success" (in quotes because is this even success?) is in calmly responding with things like "you know that's not what I see to be true" and "I can't imagine it's like to have this identity, and to deny people's experiences seems counterproductive."

People suck. I'm sorry.
posted by violetish at 5:46 PM on June 29 [3 favorites]

Is this something that has started since coronavirus came in to all of our lives? It’s very stressful for all of us and some people deal with it better than others.

If I were going to talk to them I think that’s where I would start. “The tone of your Facebook posts has changed a lot since coronavirus started. Are you doing OK?" Give them a chance to disavow things that they may have written when tired or scared or angry.

If they’re holding on in person to the things they said online then I’m afraid you’re pretty much done. However, from what you said I’d be surprised if they didn’t have some regrets.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:20 PM on June 29 [2 favorites]

If you're willing to invest in the relationship and possibly make the world a better place, consider David Campt's RACE method.

Campt is focussed on helping antiracist white people talk to other, not-so-antiracist white people, but his method (Reflect-Ask-Connect-Expand) should work for other kinds of polarization as well.

It takes some work.

I have no connection to Campt, but I'm taking his online course right now.
posted by alittleknowledge at 10:19 PM on June 29 [2 favorites]

How are your own overall levels of anxiety these days? I ask because I have noted that I am much more sensitive/easily triggered by social media posts, random opinions of others within my social circle/less able to compartmentalize etc. when my own personal "bucket" is near overflowing.

This is definitely not a recommendation to ignore or condone terrible behaviour, but doing a quick inventory of your own stress and anxiety levels to see if there is anything else raising your irritability, and dealing with that, might help you put this in perspective.
posted by rpfields at 9:48 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]

I think a lot of this depends on the age of the person posting the stuff. Still a minor? Then it's really worth considering letting adults in on what's going on.
posted by sardonyx at 10:31 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]

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