Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Manners Monday - Longing for the Days of the Grapevine

Anyone who's experienced carpal tunnel from tapping through an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend's photos on Facebook knows firsthand the "Don't Tell Me, I Don't Want to Know" syndrome recently uncovered in an article in the New York Times. Back in the day before social networking, one had to hear the gory details of what was going down with one's ex through the good ‘ole grapevine, the only resource for reliable information. There were no visuals to peruse unless you paid a private investigator to take the photos for you. If you wanted to know what your ex was up to, you had to do your own private investigating and reach out to your own personal network.

Nowadays technology has made us privy to the most inane and intimate details of our loved ones (both current and ex) and friends, even those we barely know, and it is getting out of hand, not to mention a little creepy.  Knowing when to pull in the reins is becoming increasingly more difficult as the lure of voyeurism takes hold and we just can’t break away until we see one more photo of our frenemy at the fabulous party that we weren’t invited to. 

With too much information available at our fingertips, it can oftentimes feel debilitating.  If you find yourself stuck in the muck and in need of a little help navigating your way out, we have a few options to offer you.  Trust us, it is possible to chart a new course and keep yourself poised in the process.

Stop torturing yourself.  If you are feeling low, a bit self-conscious and insecure, do not start fiddling through your Facebook or any other social media site du jour.  It is inevitable that you will eventually come across someone or something that will stick in your craw and may make you feel inferior, and who needs that?  Just the thought of your girlfriends out on the town while you’re at home in bed with your cat might send you over the edge. Ignorance is bliss so stop torturing yourself and put a self-ban on your technology (at least until you feel you are in a better place).

Show some restraint.  If a colleague at work is posting a play-by-play on the ingrown hair he had removed from his back at the dermatologist, resist the urge to patronize him with your remarks of disgust for all the world to see. Remember everyone is able to read your thoughts and sometimes things are just better left unsaid, especially when it comes to keeping the peace at our workplace. Rather than putting in your two cents, keep your comments to yourself and just focus on getting the visual out of your head.

Find a hobby.  If you discover that your high school buddies are organizing a reunion without you, do not allow yourself to wallow in self-pity.  Step away from the computer and set the restart button on your life.  Find a hobby that takes all of your attention so that when reunion time approaches, you could care less because you are busy preparing for your solo gig at the House of Blues with the guitar you just learned how to play.  This will not only make you feel better it offers you an alternative career to fall back on.

Throw an occasional bone.  Those that post incessantly on social networking sites do so to be heard and validated.  While you're busy tooling around their Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages, take a moment to add a pleasant comment every now and again. After all, we are only human and we all want to feel that our lives are fabulous and fulfilling.  A genuine complement that is from the heart is all that is needed to make someone’s day.

Don’t believe the hype.  Not everything we see and read on social networking sites should be taken at face value. Sure there may be a friend who is particularly tight with Gwyneth Paltrow and is photographed with her having lunch, or perhaps there is a colleague at work who was invited to a State dinner you would have killed to attend, but that doesn’t mean that everyone else is living a more rich and satisfying life and you should go bury your head in the ground.  It simply means they are naturally talented at crafting their own PR and have carefully decided how they wish to be viewed online and that’s all.  Try not to give it any credence Clarence.

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