Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Play Nice

As I sit here, typing out these words on my laptop, I imagine where my words will go once I click the "publish" button.

Some of you will read them on a smart phone. Some of you will read them on your break while at work. Some of you will lock yourselves in the bathroom because it is the only place you can find solace.

What? Like no one's going to admit they've sat on the toilet with a laptop on their lap-top? So I'm the only one then? Fine, let's just go with that.

Anyway, it is so tempting to believe that after I hit publish, my words are gobbled up by people who like my writing or like me, or maybe both. I imagine that they look forward to opening one of my posts. They like to laugh, or cry, or wave their fist in the air, depending on the subject I've written on that day.

On the other hand, it's hard for me to keep reality in check, that sometimes (actually, oftentimes) there are folks who click on my blog and say to themselves, "Mwah ha ha ha... what does this idiot have to say today? I can't wait to read the drivel she thinks is 'good writing'. I'm really going to let her have it."

Yet there are those people out there. Yes, I know there are. One has been leaving snarky comments here for a while now. Up until last week, that person had been fairly anonymous. Oh sure, I could have tried to work my best Internet PI skills and checked out her IP address, and tracked her down somewhere. Truth be known, I am not exactly sure how to do that but if I'd cared enough I probably could have figured it out. Up until last week, it never really ruffled my feathers too much. Of course I always said, "If this person hates my blog so much and apparently thinks I'm such an idiot, then WHY ARE THEY STILL READING???" I would get the sarcastic or judgmental comments and stew on them for a day or two, then something better would come my way and I'd forget all about it. Maybe I'd delete the comment, maybe I wouldn't. I'm all for people expressing their point of view in a polite manner. Even if it's a passionate disagreement. Even if they won't hear another side of the argument. As long as it's not directly attacking me, I always welcomed those opinions.

Until last week.

After getting another snarky comment I quickly googled this commenter's online handle. I've tried to find her in the past so that I could respond to her directly, but she has chosen to make her Google profile private. So google her once again I did.

And guess what I found. I found a person who knows me. I found a person who has some perceived pissing match with me even though we've never spoken words. We have mutual friends. We live in the same town. She has probably seen me at the grocery store, all while she has been hiding behind her private Google account and making crappy remarks to me. She has made comments that are just plain mean; they don't add to the discussion (usually there isn't a discussion going, it's just my usual thought-of-the-day rant), they don't get me to think from another point of view, and they don't help me grow. They exist for no other reason than to piss me off.

(And thank you to my good friend Jennifer who has better blogger PI skills than I, who helped me confirm this woman's identity.)

So, BRAVA snarky-commenter-woman. You have succeeded in pissing me off - this time. But I promise you this: this is the last time I will waste any energy on you. Don't bother trying to convince yourself that your comments make a difference. I have a huge arsenal of friends who read my blog and will be happy to tell you otherwise. You have lost any semblance of maturity or intelligence, and your childish attacks on me only serve to solidify this to everyone who reads them.

Don't think you are anonymous anymore because you aren't. I know who you are and now I can put a face to a Blogger handle. So I'm going to tell you what I've told other people and I tell myself as well:

Own your words. If you're going to say it, be mature enough to admit it. And just play nice.

Texan Mama


Bear and Bones Mama said...

You go girl!

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

Wow, this post is incredibly timely.

There's someone in my life who has been brutally unkind to me, and she has a blog. On her blog she often waves her "I'm so nice, so popular, so CHRISTIAN" flags, but in reality--and I know this because I have born the brunt of her wrath both on her blog and in person--she is a bully in the truest sense of the word.

Still, I am drawn to her blog even though I find it hypocritical. (There are valid reasons for this that I cannot explain here.) And, yep, sometimes I do comment anonymously once every few months. Like, when she wrote a while back that she used to beat people up in the streets, that she used to be a bully, I simply commented that she still is. She then threatened me, thus proving my point...

I would be ashamed for not owning my words, but I know if I did, she would retaliate. She hasn't figured out who I am, but when she does one day, I will then admit it's me.

So, do you respect me less?

Sturgmom said...

Wow. I don't often come back to read additional comments after I leave my own, so I've never seen the comments you're talking about, but GOOD GRIEF! Why does this person feel like harassing you is going to do anything> I don't get people who just aggravate for the sake of aggravation. That's petty and sad. Good for you for being the bigger person!

Karen said...

I am so glad you know who she is. What a nut she must be! You definitely have interesting things to say or you would not have so many people coming here. I enjoy your point of view and your photos. She is just plain sad.

Tammy said...

so glad you figured out who it is - good grief - people are crazy!

I love your blog, and I love the way you write.

Keep up the GREAT work!

Jennifer said...

You are never as anonymous as you think you are!

I'm glad you wrote this and "outed" the person that didn't have the balls to stand up and really speak her mind. I agree. If you want to say it, then own it.

Jen said...

I am standing clapping for you and the awesomeness that is this post.

misssrobin said...

I am sorry someone was unkind to you. What a sad life she must live to feel a need to behave that way.

This is a great post. Believe in yourself and remember that negativity and unkindness are almost always about the other person's issues.

jdt_1583 said...

I just recently started reading your blog and dont usually read the commemnts left but I do think its ridiculous for someone to leave negative comments over and over. I enjoy your blog very much and think its sad when jealousy takes over a person. Good for you for being the better person!

nicole said...

I don't think I can say anything nice, but good for you Gretchen, for calling them out.

GunDiva said...

Amen, sister!

Anna See said...

You did the right thing, Gretchen. I just don't understand this kind of thing. If a reader doesn't like a blog or blogger, she needs to walk away from it. Life is too short to be leaving snarky comments and picking fights.

Gigi said...

I, for one, am ALWAYS happy to see when you've posted a new post! I love your blog, your pictures and you (even though I don't "know" you). I've said it before and I'll say it again - if you can't say anything nice then SHUT UP (wait. That's not quite how that saying goes, is it?)

I don't understand people who just feel the need to be rude and ugly - just because. Good for you for calling this person out - maybe, just maybe, they will learn from this experience. Sadly, somehow I doubt it.

Bridgett said...

I had a very scary blog stalker early in my blogging years who even threatened my children. It was horrible. But I knew who she was the whole time. I had another troll for a while who was obviously the new wife of an old friend who hated me (the new wife, that is). Very thinly veiled. She thought she was being quite savvy but she logged in from work all the time and it had an obvious address. She was totally passive aggressive. It was actually kind of funny. I never ever published her comments. (The original scary stalker is why I approve comments for publication). Once I took away her (new wife's) pulpit she did go away.

I always own my words when I comment, anywhere. I do it on surveys and in meetings and everywhere. I want people to know where I stand.

J said...

Seriously, what is WRONG with people?! What kind of person goes around spending their time like that? How sad for them that they have so little personal life that they occupy their time being a troll. I love reading your blog even tho I do read it on my iphone and therefore can't always comment. Don't listen to one troll over the rest of us-keep up the good work!

Don E. Chute said...

Dalton: All you have to do is follow three simple rules. One, never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected. Two, take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar unless it's absolutely necessary. And three, be nice.

Dalton: If somebody gets in your face and calls you a cocksucker, I want you to be nice. Ask him to walk. Be nice. If he won't walk, walk him. But be nice. If you can't walk him, one of the others will help you, and you'll both be nice. I want you to remember that it's a job. It's nothing personal.

My favorite quotes from 'Roadhouse' from the missed Patrick Swayze as 'Dalton'.

So you go, MaMa! cuz your Nice :-)

leslie@gleaninggrace said...

I have always appreciated your advice to "own my words;" they were instrumental in my decision to start blogging!
You know what mama always said, right?
They pick on you 'cause they're jealous!
And why shouldn't she be- whoever she is?
Cause you are the blogging goddess and you rock!

Lex the mom said...

What an interesting post. I am still and will always be baffled by anons commenting in nasty ways on people's blogs. There is no rhyme or reason to it, ever.

I swung by from the Writer's workshop & while your 6 word is relatable, this post was super better!

K said...

It still shocks me that some people make comments the way they do. Good job for doing your research. I have often wondered if "real" people we know will find us on our blogs and then what that will happen!

Kelly Latour said...

Yeah for standing up to bullies in the blog world!
My sister was leaving nasty anon posts on my blog but once I called her on it she stopped. I hope your meanie stops now too!

Melani said...

What a great post! I enjoy reading what you write, which is why I read your blog.

I agree with all the above comments, and if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.