Now, though the title to this post might suggest I think I know a thing or two about this, I promise you I don’t think I’m a Life Coach all of a sudden. Imagine that? Me as a Life Coach?? It’s a terribly scary thought, me swanning around offering people advice on how to improve their prospects, which in my case would probably be along the lines of, ‘Oh I don’t know. Have you tried buying new shoes? And maybe drinking Gin? It will probably be fine….’ because that is basically how I tackle all that life has to throw at me. Though now I mention it, I’m starting to like the idea. How do you become a Life Coach, I wonder? Do you just declare yourself one on Instagram? Do you have to take exams? Anyway, I digress…. No, I obviously stole the title from the famous Dale Carnegie book in an attempt to be amusing, but this post is actually about how the majority of people I see on Social Media have even less idea than me how to go about this, and that is saying something.
I’ve written before about how much it irks me that everyone these seems to think they are entitled to go around voicing their opinion all up in people’s faces all the time thanks to Freedom of Speech, regardless of whether or not it was asked for or offers any value to a situation. This still winds me up, but I’ve started to feel resigned to it now and largely roll my eyes and pay no attention. What has really started to get on my nerves more recently though, is those people who are not simply trying to get a point of view across, but actually seem to be trying to persuade us of something, and have gotten the very ill informed idea that the way to do this is basically be offensive!
There is no better time to demonstrate this than having a quick scroll through your Facebook feed during an election! There are bound to be opinions flying around at a time like this, particularly when the political climate is so tense, and this is why I choose not to write about my political views online – someone will always be ready and armed to jump down your throat and tell you you’re wrong for thinking something different to them, so instead I choose to discuss it with those trusted friends around me that I know will listen and input without judgement. There is a new breed of irritant out there now though that go one further – simply commenting on your opinions to tell you you’re wrong, stupid and possibly the spawn of the devil is no longer enough. Now they actually seek out opportunities to tell people what morons they are. They seem to genuinely want to educate people and possibly change their way of thinking, but haven’t seemed to grasp that telling people they are idiots before they have even had chance to comment is not really the way to engage an audience. They’re all, ‘Oh hey guys, don’t mind me. I’m just posting a link to this article I found about Corbyn/The Conservatives/Foreign Policy/Insert topical issue here, I found it really interesting so I thought I’d just post it here for all of you ignorant, uneducated, fascist assholes out there to read and absorb and change the error of your ways. You’re welcome! I look forward to seeing you at the polling station after you’ve seen the light, maybe we could grab a beer after?’ Just how many of their intended audience do they think even bothered to read that article? I’m guessing zero. So what was the point? Even if they had some valid points they will have gotten completely lost.
It isn’t just politics that brings about this behaviour either. Recently an ex colleague of mine, who may I add was swiftly unfollowed, posted a rather lengthy piece about veganism. I have quite a few friends who follow particular diets, healthy living or alternative lifestyles, so I’m used to reading this kind of thing, and honestly I read with interest, ready to maybe try something new or take on board what they have to say. This time was different though. Instead of posting a well written, balanced outline of why she felt others should stop eating or using animal products, she launched into a diatribe about anyone who does, and what awful, evil people they are. She actually started with the line, “You do know milk is for baby cows, right? Is that why you drink it? Are you a wittle tiny baby??” Oh yeah, that’s how to get people on board! Talk down to them. That’s bound to make them want to listen! I’d love to tell you what else she had to say, but I stopped reading, so I can’t! And don’t even get me started on those passive aggressive posts from ‘expert’ Mums who clearly know better than everyone – including medical professionals – how to raise a child, and just want to make sure all the rest of you pathetic, incapable excuses for mothers learn how to do it properly. One of the most horrible examples I ever saw shared was what supposedly was just a sweet poem from a baby to their Mum. Once you got a verse in the poem got increasingly upsetting, with the baby crying to it’s Mum about how scared and cold and sad it was being left alone in the dark – because it wasn’t a sweet poem at all, it was a disturbing attack on any woman who chose any method other than co-sleeping! Why they thought the way to get their point across was to pretty much suggest anything contrary was essentially child abuse, I’ll never know. It got my back up enough to delete the person from Facebook, and I don’t even have children!! If anything it simply drives people further away from their point of view rather than closer to it.
What is this about? Have I missed something – did some ex-Apprentice contestant recently release a bestseller called, Influencing Skills for Beginners: Belittling Your Way to the Top! or something?? Do they really think they are winning anyone over with this bizarre attempt to educate the masses? Well, here’s the thing. I don’t think they actually care about educating anyone at all. I’m pretty sure this is simply a thinly veiled attempt to draw attention to how vastly superior they are. They don’t actually give a toss if you read the article or vote differently or give up meat, they just want to make sure everyone knows that they are better than the rest of us. They are basically saying, ‘Look at me! I know about politics/I’m saving the planet/I’m the best Mum ever/I read the Daily Mail once – aren’t I clever!!’
You aren’t clever. You’re a d**k.
There, I said it! Rant over!
Photo credit: Book – How Not To Be a Dick, Meghan Doherty
One thought on “How (Not) To Win Friends and Influence People”
Ah yes the vegan thing. You do you but don’t try to gross me out whilst I’m eating my mackeral / chicken salad or drinking tea with milk in it. Then proceed to munch and eat ALL day long because – always hungry – I guess? Hmm. I’ve chosen the ignore route when the meat / milk production chatter starts up, do not engage 🙂
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