Monday, August 6, 2012

Social Media Sympathy Fishing

DO NOT use Facebook as a psychiatrist's couch, shoulder to cry on, or confessional booth. Fishing for sympathy can backfire, and cause many more problems. Like losing custody of your kids.

I'm sure you've seen people on Facebook who use wall posts to air their dirty laundry. They're bummed out or something is ticking them off. Often it's a relationship issue. They describe their personal problems, family matters, and private issues. Often, their style is frenzied, foul-mouthed, and nearly incoherent.

In Facebook wall posts they recklessly portray themselves as manic-depressive, depressed, suicidal, alcoholic, drug abusing, unstable, vengeful, violent, confused, angry, hysterical, and even "psycho".

They actually brag about how self-destructive or whacked out they are. They may even confess to things they did in a fit of rage, then add, "but that doesn't make me a bad person, you have to understand the situation I was in ...."

Why would anyone paint a negative picture of themselves in a public venue like Facebook? What good does it do to give your enemies daily updates on what a terrible person you are? How can a person not realize that their fueling the fires of gossip and rumor?

My best guess is they are drama queens, men and women who seek sympathy and support. They hope someone posts a comment like "Hang in there. I know you're a good person deep down inside. Your ex is going to get his karma. Let's go out for drinks this Friday night. We'll have fun. I'll cheer you up. We'll get wasted."

All these wild rantings can be used against them in a court of law, for example, a child custody battle. These manic explosions of self-disclosure also make your ex and his or her pals laugh at you.

Even if you've blocked them, there are others who get your Facebook updates, people you forgot about, who knew both of you, and are now siding with your ex. These informants love it when you say something stupid or crazy or drunken on Facebook. It all gets back to the ex, one way or another.

If you're going through a tough emotional time, a relationship breakup, legal separation, or divorce -- try to control yourself in social media.

Post happy, sober, rational messages. Talk about how great you feel, now that you're free. Mention a comedy movie you saw that was really funny. Keep the personal life details off Facebook. The less your ex knows, both good and bad information about you, the better off you will be.

Don't mention who you're hanging out with. Don't mention what bars or restaurants or stores you're visiting. You don't want your e stalking you or getting others to follow you around and keep tabs on you. Become MYSTERIOUS, UNKNOWN, OFF THE GRID.

Facebook and other social media are NOT some eternal, sacred, cherished documentation of your every mood and move. STOP thinking you have to rush to post a new status update every time you have a strong feeling or something bad happens. You have NO obligation to share with the world every freaky thought that enters your head and every frustrating event that happens in your life.

Social Media Sympathy Fishing is a dangerous, addicting activity. You can cause a lot more harm than good. A few supportive comments by real life friends will not make up for incriminating statements you make in a wall post, that a judge or jury will frown upon. Nor will it make up for the gossip your enemies will spread about you.

If necessary, stay off Facebook for a few weeks, or months. Just post a link to a news item every so often. Say NOTHING personal at all. Be like a company that just grinds out anonymous sales messages. Grind out news links or photos of cartoons on Facebook status updates.

If you take a break from social media, post a notice like: "Taking time off Facebook to sort things out. Don't worry about me. Will return when things settle down."

Your family and true, close friends will still be able to contact you by phone or email. You won't be totally shut out of their lives by taking a vacation away from social media.

But your silence will frustrate your ex and other enemies. They will be going berserk, having no juicy information on you anymore. They will deeply resent your sudden absence. Maybe that will force them to move on and get a life.

1 comment:

Becky McCray said...

I love this, and you have exactly the right graphic for it. I always wince at others fishing for sympathy, and I try to resist temptation myself. (Though I'm sure I fail, too.)