Why Am I In This Stupid Conversation Anyway?

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The Think Like A Negotiator Live Training is held twice a year. I always put up an event announcement on Facebook and invite my friends. Some of them click on interested. I start the follow up process by contacting them to find out if anyone is really interested in going or not.

I decided to send out a group chat message to a number of the interested people to see if they were going to attend.

This is the message that was sent: Please PM me to respond so as not to fill everyone’s inbox. Do Not respond to the chat. Thank You. You have indicated an interest in attending next weeks Think Like A Negotiator Live Training. Please PM me for details on discount coupons off the website investment. Alumni have a special rate as well. Eldonna

Some of my top 20 negotiation tips is “Read It” – I started getting comments in the chat with people saying they couldn’t go. Obviously didn’t read it. Then a guy posts a huge message asking people for prayer about his situation. I believe in prayer but again, not appropriate, deleted the comment and him from the conversation. He didn’t read it. Then the first person to comment commented on the prayer request. She didn’t read it either so I removed her and her comment as well.

I went off to a meeting, when I returned, the name of the conversation had been changed to “Why am I in this stupid conversation anyway?” and the person who changed the name of the conversation posted the following comment:

“Prayer is a bit like masturbation. It might make you feel good, but does nothing for the person you are thinking about.”

That sparked an entire onslaught of comments from offended people. So now my chat that I didn’t want to be filling everyone’s inbox was now filling it with inappropriate activity. The simple solution for the guy who felt compelled to stir things up would have been to simply remove himself from the conversation. Why is it people feel compelled to slam and insult people when there’s something they don’t like on social media? He would most likely not say that to someone’s face.

I removed him from my friends and sent him a message. Here is the conversation that occurred:

Me:

Hi (Name), I just saw your inappropriate comment in the message I sent out about my training. You were on that message because I invited you to my training and you had indicated an interest. I have taken a screenshot of that and will be forwarding to facebook and have removed you from my friends list and blocked you accordingly.

Him:

I am an atheist so I do not understand why I would receive a religious msg from you. Is your training religious?

Me

You did not receive a religious message from me. Someone else didn’t read the instructions and posted a comment about prayer which I removed. No my training is not religious.

I also removed them from the feed and sent them a message as well.

Him

Then there lies the confusion. I reacted to the prayer msg. Good luck with your training.

Me

There lies the problem. You took it upon yourself to change the name of the message and made an assumption without verifying the facts first. Whether you are an atheist or not does not give you the right to act that way. I am a Christian but would not blast you in public or private for your beliefs. That is your choice, that’s why we have freedom.

Him

Sorry I am not that familiar with FB and I did that change inadvertently. My apologies.

****************************************************************************

People often react without verifying the facts first. He made an assumption seeing a message about a prayer request that was not from me but he assumed it was without looking into it and used the excuse that he’s not familiar with Facebook as to why he did what he did. You have to click on “actions” then scroll down to “edit conversation name” and click on it to change the name of the conversation. Obviously it wasn’t “inadvertent.” It was purposeful and done out of a level of anger.

How could this have been avoided and how can you avoid these kinds of problems in the future?

  1. First, don’t react in anger. Too many people are blasting their anger on social media and negatively tearing people apart. It has become the norm to be vile, rude, abusive and harassing on social media, even though it is still considered unacceptable. After the last Presidential election there was so much hate flying around online that I unfriended several people who voted the way I did just because of their threatening comments about people who didn’t vote the way they did. Also, consider the recent onslaught of abuse that Ashely Judd received for a comment she made on twitter and the horrible comments that came back at her. (Google Ashley Judd and you will find info about the story).
  2. Another way to avoid it is to verify the facts first. Had this guy looked closer, he would have figured out that the original message was about the training and what he saw about prayer was what someone else posted. I know of a man who was told his wife was having an affair with a friend of his. The man reacted in anger and went and beat up the friend without verifying the facts. Later he found out it wasn’t true. Making hasty decisions can cost you more than you are willing to endure.
  3. Just walk away and don’t react. Why does that option seem to be so hard for people? He could have simply opted out of the conversation like many people did, but instead he had to spew his anger to the group. Many people just want to be heard. This is not the way to do it. Why does it seem to work? Because people respond to it and too many people feed on the negativity that it stirs up. Negativity sells and if people would ignore it vs feed into it, it might not have as much power.

Bottom line is take the time to read it before you respond and fully understand what the message is saying. Just this week I had someone post a comment on Facebook about something I got wrong. First off those kind of things should be handled in private. Praise in public, correct in private. However, when I brought it to their attention that it was exactly what they gave me, they recanted by saying they “read it wrong.”

What about that person who did something wrong, offensive, attacking, disparaging etc to you? Consider their state of mind first. Remember, you can’t negotiate with crazy so attempting to reason with someone who is unreasonable won’t have a favorable outcome. Also consider what good will it do to feed into that negativity? You may want to bring legal action against them depending on the situation but you have to consider the cost of that, not only financially but also emotionally. It takes a lot more energy to be in a negative space than a positive space.

I’m just of guilty as the next person of reading things wrong or not at all and missing important details. For me it comes from being too busy and not paying attention to the details. The importance of reading it cannot be understated. Once you have read it, it’s always good to verify the facts and put something in place so you think before you react in anger to something that might not be what you think it is.

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez

Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at www.EldonnaLewisFernandez.com

1 Comment

  1. Charley Rocsan says:

    Thoughtful, measured & powerful ~ thoroughly enjoyed….

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