When did the Golden Rule become, “Do unto others as they did unto you?” I’m so tired of, “Well, they called me names/attacked me first, so it’s okay for me to do the same back.”
How I respond to an attack says more about me than it does about the other person.* Twice in the last month, I’ve gotten into an argument in AO3 comment threads–once on my own story, and once on another’s. Both times, I was told by friends that I was way nicer than they would have been.
Friends, I was not nice either time. I was civil. I used polite language to make it very clear to the individuals that I did not feel that their comments were appropriate. One time my words got through to the other person, the other time they did not. But both times, it was clear to any onlookers that I was the better person.
*I’m not saying you have to take insults and derogatory language and abusive behaviour sitting down. I’m not saying you need to be a doormat. But you can defend yourself without calling the other person names and throwing that same vitriol back at them.
And hopefully, it goes without saying that this does not apply to situations where your physical safety is in danger. If you can safely walk away from a physical altercation, do it. But if you need to hit back to stay safe, that’s an entirely different situation.