While I get as curious as anyone else and lurk in the background a bit when I see drama going on, I generally have found that when I actually get involved I end up feeling like shit. I sometimes get angry, frustrated, or feel I can’t convey what I’m trying to and then I get stressed out and that triggers anxiety flares for me (any sufferer of anxiety knows how awful that is). So, I decided around the end of last year I was done with it for good (hopefully).
A few steps I have taken are as follows:
- I don’t comment/get involved. This actually is really hard sometimes. I think it’s very much in our nature to want to weigh in on issues or speak up when we see something we feel strongly about. I’ve mostly been successful with this. I just try to remember how bad things got for me the last time I really found myself in the middle of drama and how far of a setback it was for my sense of well being. When I get tempted, I try to just close out what I’m looking at and distract myself with something more enjoyable.
- Minimize exposure. I don’t think a person can use the internet and never be exposed to drama or unpleasantness, but you can take some actions to lessen it. For one, I distance myself from people/blogs that frequently engage in drama. I may very well like the person and even agree with them often, but if there’s frequent drama surrounding them it’s much harder for me to keep myself level. The good thing about tumblr is that I end up still getting to see content I enjoy from those people from other reblogs.
- Kind of related to minimizing exposure, but I don’t go where I know very well there will be upsetting comments. I used to look at comments under articles to read people’s opinions, but too often it’s full of either trolls or extremists that make my head feel like exploding. So if I see a news article about racism or sexism, I will read the article but skip browsing comments anymore (goes for Youtube comments, too).
- Take a breather. If there’s a lot of drama going on around something that has happened on a forum, facebook, tumblr, etc, sometimes I just take a break for a few days and wait for it to die down. Again, if I look at it too much I get too tempted to weigh in with my own thoughts and inevitably I end up regretting it.
- If I feel a need to say something, I carefully consider it, state what I feel I need to say, and then don’t keep checking back for responses. This one is hard for me too, but I’ve learned if I check back for responses I stay emotionally involved and much of the time end up getting more involved than I wanted to be.
So those are the general steps I take. I don’t do it to be better than anyone else, I do it to take care of myself. I’m too deeply emotionally affected by being involved in drama with people who don’t know me and are often all too eager to make things personal.