Play nice

Remember in Kindergarten, when they emphasized the Golden Rule? Do Unto Others and all that? I've noticed that with all the new open lines of communication, with social networking and blogging, and sharing every little thought, people may have forgotten that common courtesy. Think before you speak my grandmother used to tell me.

It's actually a bit sad. That people would forget to be respectful, and mindful of what they say. I read an online column about the latest in social networking. The author bemoaning the fact that so many people he/she didn't know or care about were inundating him/her with useless information. Wow. I'm guessing those interlopers are none other than said author's Readers, Followers, Twitterers and Facebook Friends. Or were. Until they received that very public slap in the face. Common Courtesy. Respect. It's part of our social fabric. Without it, we lose just a touch of our humanity.  And in this case it is most definitely biting the hand that feeds you.

Some argue that it's phony to be so polite. I myself have proposed we act on our impulses once in awhile. Though I was careful to mention that you do so as long as it isn't hurtful. Why should we care about hurting someone's feelings? Or worse?

I'm not sure. Perhaps because the more compassionate we are, the more life means to us. Did you ever walk up to a store entrance behind someone else, and expecting them to hold the door just kept walking? Bet that hurt, didn't it.

When you were a kid, did anyone ever hold the swing for you and then the minute you started to sit they let go? Felt good, didn't it?

The jerk who's gossiping about someone only to find out they were standing right behind them. Then makes it worse by smirking and saying "my bad." Not funny.

And now we have Facebook and Twitter and Online Blogs with instant comments. Everyone's a critic and everyone's an expert. Fan pages that begin with "I hate when...." are simply unnecessary. Status updates that are derogatory. Again. Unnecessary. It seems people think that posting on facebook is somehow anonymous. It's not. Your friends all know who you are, and usually, who you are talking about. Same with blogs like this one. So if you allow someone into your social network, do so with caution, not abandon. If you really don't care about them, or what they have to say, or what they are doing now, don't friend them. Don't encourage them to follow you on Twitter or Read your blog. Or buy your book. Or see your movie. Or buy your CD. Leave them alone, and they will leave you alone. If that's what you really want.

I'm sure the above mentioned columnist was not deliberately trying to offend. But if you are going to participate in life, there will be things that annoy you. People that make you nuts. Facebook games that piss you off. There will also be things that make your day, and make you appreciate the good stuff even more. My facebook circle is small, but filled with people who are important to me. Friends and relatives that I do care about. I want to know what they are doing. How their lives are going. Having them in my circle enriches my life.

So I will endeavor to be respectful without diminishing my sense of the ridiculous. Sometimes, I'm not so nice to others. Sometimes people behave so badly I just have to reciprocate. But in those cases, I don't invite them to play. Because sometimes, even I just can't play nice.

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