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This post has nothing to do with schizophrenia. Then again, it sprang from my mind, and I have schizophrenia, so maybe it does. It is possible that my thoughts and emotions are tied to my illness and work together in ways we have yet to discover – a post for another day.

 

Social media is full of divisiveness. I belong to several Facebook groups, and members frequently have what turns into shaming, arguing, dog-piling, threats, etc. over racial issues or LGBTQ issues and to a lesser extent disability issues. I’ll give you an example: someone will post something, and a POC will say that the post is racist and caused them injury. Rather than simply apologize and move on, the original poster will become defensive, or tell the POC that they could have pointed it out in a “nicer” way. This is just one straightforward example, but there are hundreds if not thousands of examples. The same is true on Twitter, and it happens even with the President.

I just don’t get it. Whatever happened to the three simple words, I am sorry?

I think we have forgotten our manners, our upbringing, our social graces. When someone in real life tells you that you have hurt their feelings, many people respond with, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry!” Of course, there are those people who get defensive, avoid the issue, or say something insensitive like, “You need to stop being so sensitive.” We all know people like that and our relationships with most of them are less than we would like – in other words, they aren’t usually our bestie. There is nothing that lets the tension out of a situation like saying, and meaning, those three simple words (I am sorry).

Why don’t people behave online the same way they behave in person? Or do people behave that badly in real life? If they do, how do they manage in the workplace and their intimate relationships?

I remember an (old) popular saying, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” The use of the phrase came from a film in the 1970’s “Love Story.” It is a terrible erroneous statement. To me, love means rushing to say you are sorry when you have hurt the one you love. Maybe that is the problem with social media; we don’t see the people posting as people – people we might care for, like, or be friends with in real life. My guess is that most people on social media are decent, can have their feelings easily hurt and need respect, care, and understanding like the people we are around every day.

I’ve never thought the things my parents taught me would go out of fashion, but I feel like a dinosaur on this issue. It seems like we have reached a state where we need classes on civility and compassion in school. I suggest they name the classes, “learning to say you are sorry,” and go from there.