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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Getting the crap out of your stream / life (Just say NO!) [1]

A few days ago, a cyber friend seemed a little down and out of sorts, lamenting the brutality of some of the people she has come into contact with on Twitter. Perhaps brutality is too strong a word. Why don't we try self-centered or just plain inconsiderate?

In the last 2 weeks, I have had to disengage from several people who seemed more bent on fueling an argument that sharing knowledge and engaging.

The nicest thing about Social Media is that you meet some of the coolest, smartest, most talented and helpful people around. These people are willing to share their knowledge, expertise and talents freely, for the most part.

The second nicest thing about social media is that unlike our lives outside of the Internet, we don’t have to put up with any jack-butts. (Can I say that here?).

The first group of people I have un-followed are those that do not interact with me, ever. Granted, in the cyber world, I am nobody special, a small-fry. I’ll never be considered an A-lister or a heavy-hitter. I’ll never have a million followers, but that’s okay. I’d rather have a few people whose first names I actually know, whose blogs I read (even if only occasionally), who care if I don't show up for a few days, that I can engage in spirited debate with, and can ultimately agree to disagree with, and still remain cyber-friends.

The second group that I have become more conscious about un-following, is more insidious, and cloying. These start out as what feels like a normal conversation, then several psychological push-backs later about all your views of the world being wrong, you start to dread seeing their name (or twitter handle) come across your screen. These people, I have discovered in my brief sojourn almost always want something. They want you to buy their book, come into their camp and bring your followers, claim them as your lord and liege, promote them or just fight in public with them. You start to notice that after a few exchanges, that your heart flutters, and not in a good way when they pop up. And, as soon as you’ve convinced yourself that the discourse is done, you have signed off with all the agape love you can muster and extracted yourself from useless and meaningless debate....they come back.

The real question we must ask ourselves is why do we let these family members, friends and worst of all, strangers, on the Internet or in real life (IRL), drag us down into the mire with them. Why do we twist in the wind and let them wind us up to the point that we cannot focus on why we are here, or what we started out to accomplish?

Why do we let them hold us hostage?

Do we feel that needy and lonely, or do we perceive ourselves so unworthy that we will let just anybody trample us and our feelings?

Wouldn’t you like to drop into your (twitter) stream any time and pick up some gems, some great articles, blogs, recipes, leadership nuggets, and skip the crap? Of course you would.

Wouldn’t you like to go to work or church or come home and celebrate the goodness and virtues of the people around you? Again, of course you would.

If you have read this far then you are probably having some difficulty with the concept of letting these people go, getting rid of them or redefining your relationship with them.

Online it's relatively simple to get rid of them. In real life it is more complicated, but not impossible. At the very least you can set your sites on ways to redefine your relationship, set new boundaries, and take a different outlook or a different tack.

It's a two step process:

First, examine why this person / these people are in your life. Honestly evaluate what you think might lose or gain by staying so intimately and closely connected. Ask yourself, "What happens if I let go of them? Will / can I survive without them?"

If you work with them, and you are not the boss, then you can't get rid of them, but you can choose to engage differently.

Then the second part is much more difficult...DO IT!

Stay, go, and alter the dynamics. Make a choice - and stick to it.

I know from personal experience that this is hard, and we can make all sorts of rational and flimsy excuses why we need to continue to struggle in some of our relationships.

So, I'm here today, nobody special, to give you permission to do just that...CHOOSE CHANGE!


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