1. PAUSE 1 | 2
If you even think your post - original or response - could be inflammatory, pause before you send it out. Sometimes the pause might need to be a long one, sometimes short. Many of us have found it to be a good practice to pass such a post by some trusted friend to get their feedback. It can be useful to pass it by someone not involved in the group post(s) have to do with. It is good to keep the discussion anonymous - that is, don't use people's names. Many of us sleep on it, before we send it out or don't send it out.
2. USE "I" STATEMENTS, NOT "YOU" STATEMENTS. COME FROM YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE
For example, it is better to say," I feel attacked" rather than "You are attacking me." It can be somewhat easy to make you statements into I statements, e.g."I feel you attacked me" Try to avoid this pitfall, it is not an I statement. Making I statements can leave us feeling vulnerable and some people don't like to feel like that. I It is better to talk about what you do, rather than the other person. Remember how hard it is to change ourselves. We have a right to say something once, after that it is nagging. See Trolls, below.
3. IGNORE THE TROLLS
Also can be expressed as, don't get in the soup with someone who is driving you nuts; don't dance with them - it always takes at least two. Don't feed the trolls - can be very hard to follow. Try not to respond to abuse or aggression with more abuse and aggression - this can be very hard. In the March 2005 issue of Shambhala Sun, Pema Chodron has a wonderful article - "The Courage to Do Nothing". More insights than the usual articles on this issue. AA and others say, Don't just do something, sit there.
4. DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY
Easier said than done. What if the person means it personally? Even if a flame is meant personally, many of us have found that personal attacks are the sender's modus operandi, and therefore fit into this category of not taking it personally
5. DON'T ASSUME
Makes an ass out of you and me. Check it out, with a trusted friend or the sender. Ask an informational question of the sender.
If you want to give feedback, ask the other person(s) if they want it. Otherwise, it is an unasked for suggestion. Think and feel how you like those in your own life. When you feel you must give negative feedback, make it as specific as possible and *always* start off with something very specific and positive, which you absolutely must mean. If someone asks for feedback, ask them what kind would be most helpful for them.
Everyone makes lots of mistakes all the time. Everyone. Apologizing is not a weakness, it is a strength.
10. RACISM, SEXISM, CLASSISM, HETEROSEXISM/HOMOPHOBIA, CLASSISM, AGEISM.......
Although our major goal (perhaps our only one) is open, fair, honest elections - we ignore racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, ageism at our own peril. These isms weaken any of the work we do on elections and must always be considered even as we work toward our major goal.
These isms are about how the system is set up to disadvantage people - based on the color of our skin, our gender, our class, our sexual orientation, our age... We are all part of the system and we need to make a commitment to be aware of our own racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism/homophobia, ageism and to move against these ims in ourselves and others in everything we do.
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