Social Media Behaviour: Sitting on the Fence

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Working with children keeps me sane. Sane to the extent that their honesty and innocence is refreshing. They rarely hold grudges and speak their mind. I get on with kids. As adults we too speak our minds but we can hold a grudge, my word can we hold a grudge.

Perhaps I lack adult interaction actually I know I do. Therefore I love the connections and friendships I have made via Facebook, Twitter and through my sporadic blogging.

These last few weeks there has been a lot of angst and friendships breaking up, harsh words and bitterness. I have emails requesting I read a blog posts and put across my opinion. Friends are asking me whose side I’m on; “Did you read that post?”.  The answer is no, I have no concrete idea as to what has actually happened the general gist covers; feminism, mental health and mummy bloggers, the emails ask me where I stand they want  me to add my voice to these topics.

I am not standing, I am sitting on the fence. I don’t have the energy after a long day to even form a constructive sentence. I don’t want to take sides.

You may consider me a weak person because I sit on the fence and don’t say much. I’m ok with that.

I fight battles during the day as an advocate for children and their families. I don’t want to fight anymore when I get home.

My friendships with you are real, genuine and honest. I am not prepared to dump a friend because you have had a disagreement over a blog post. I don’t want to lose your friendship but I can’t fight your battle or words for you.

We are a passionate, strong and a vocal bunch of  writers. We live different lives. We have different perspectives.

“You need to speak up and say something its like being back at high school”  I spend a fair about of time in high schools and in my eyes the social media playground can be a lot more ruthless and hurtful. Our words come from years of experience. A teenager’s words are navigating through growing up. We are grown up.

“I can’t believe you follow ….” Why is it had to believe that I follow and read a variety of blogs and have made friendships with a diverse group of people? My real life friendships are all diversified too. What I read and follow is only a small part of who I am. It does not mean that I agree 100% with everything and everyone I follow.

I’m all for opinions and wanting to learn and understand more. There is always a bigger picture. We may not agree or even wish to see if we can comprehend where someone else is coming from that’s our own choice. The bigger picture may make no sense on specific topics I get that too.

Sometimes I sit on the fence because intellectually I lack the grammar to be taken seriously. The big words don’t come easily to me. I know what I want to say yet struggle to get the emphasis of what I want to say down, without sounding like a child.

So  I sit on the fence a lot, I can observe from up here and I am learning heaps and I hope my friendships survive as I don’t plan to jump off for now. It’s part of who I am, working with all types of behaviour has made me sit down.

What about you are you a fence sitter? There is room on my fence if you ever need a break.

 

 

 

Sitting on the fence

Sitting on the fence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nathalie Brown

Child Behaviour Consultant at Easy Peasy Kids
Child Behaviourist and researcher. Creator of "Less tantrums. More smiles". I look at the bigger picture and think outside the box when working with children and their behaviour. Their world is different. As adults we sometimes forget this. Happiness Creator in my spare time. Eater of chocolate and cake.

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Comments

  1. Well said!
    There is no rule that we must become involved in someone else’s drama.
    Better than sitting on the fence and watching, is to just wander off to your own yard and happily potter in your own life :-)

  2. I’m sorry you’ve been put in that situation hon. I think fence sitting is okay. I do it. Often. I don’t like conflict and would prefer to see the benefits of each argument rather than decide one’s better than the other. Sometimes it’s not possible to choose a right or a wrong and most of the time friendship is more important.

    • I’m a conflict avoider, see too much of it daily. Like you I try and see all view points. Then get back on my fence. Friendship is surely stronger than taking sides

  3. I’m a fence-sitter too. Often it’s because I can see the point of both sides (not necessarily agreeing with one or either), and I value the freedom of others to have opinions and to express them. I also know the propensity for things to blow over fairly soon. Live and let live, I say!

    • May have to build a bigger fence. Like you I see the point in both stories, a little bit if truth in every thing, sometimes it pushes me to look inside myself and I learn something new or see something in a different light. Thank goodness it blows over soon xx

  4. Karen Reid says:

    Yes I’m a bit of a fence sitter too. I come from an abusive background so I tend to avoid confrontations if possible. I don’t think it makes me weak I just don’t see the point.

    • Abuse and trauma that’s part of my fence sitting make up. If anything I feel stronger by avoiding the confrontation. Much love to you come sit on the fence with me.

  5. I’m a total fence sitter when it comes to social media. I make sure it’s a high fence too, it’s safer up here 😉
    Seriously though, it can be difficult to correctly interpret a tweet, to understand a comment without seeing the writers emotions on their face. I also think people can be too quick to tap something out that they might not say to your face. There’s a false bravado. So I take it all with a pinch of salt and stay out of it. In saying that if there’s any really negative drama filling my feed, I will unfollow because I just don’t have the emotional energy to spare!

    • I may need to get a ladder and come sit with you. Yes it’s certainly difficult to interpret a full range of emotions depends on the writer and also how we are feeling at any particular moment when we read something. I agree bravado behind a screen is also much stronger than in real life and causes untold damage at times. Like you I have to save some energy for the real world. Now move up a little so I can sit with you x

  6. Move on over a bit Nat….I’m been accused of being a major fence sitter :)
    I’m ok with it now….It’s not that I don’t have my own opinions and strong opinions at that.
    I just believe that opposing opinions are value based and as varied as the food choices we make – so I tend not to get worked up about things. I also choose not to get involved with drama. I will support my friends on a personal level but I’m not going to jump into an argument over a differing opinion. It’s an energy drain for me.

    BTW – I noticed you signed up for blog updates but you signed up to my old site and I’ve moved…so that’s why you aren’t receiving any emails from me (I only do a monthly newsletter now).

    • Kirri I think it’s now a big part of who I am and like you I’m ok with that, perhaps it partly because of the work we do that we have to be open to all types of opinions and behaviour.
      I’ll hop over and sign up to your new site. Xxx

  7. I like a good fence!! Life is way to short for getting caught up in nastiness!! I have no idea what you are actually referring to but it sounds to me like you have found the best spot to sit.

  8. Michaela C says:

    Wonderful post N. It’s hard to sit on the fence sometimes, though, when you see injustice.

    Now and then I may jump up there and rest my butt though. 😉

    x

    • I’ll fight for injustice on a daily basis, many of my battles I can’t blog about, too raw too much pain. At work I don’t even have a fence, in social media I do. Xx

  9. I make for an easy target, I am a mummy blog who blogs about everything BUT making cakes with the kids and cute kittens. I write openly and honesty about my personal battle with mental illness. I am bipolar and I have 6 children, my blog was never going to be anything other than odd, that’s a great combination. I made some enemies along the way. I was told “someone like me was not welcome in the nice little community because I also offer a safe and anonymous way for other mums to share their experiences. The blog discusses sexual abuse, domestic violence and self-harm to name a few. Yet what they miss is the women sharing their stories are in fact mothers. Motherhood is difficult, through in a past or a few skeletons then we are talking real life. My blog is just that real life parenting. I am learning to stay on the fence, yet I despise the blogging bullies! There is room for all. No matter how different we are.

    • It’s a big world with so many issues endured and suffered by many that what you do is in my eyes and I’m sure for many a safe place to speak the truth. When we blog we are opening up parts of ourselves which does leave us open to not just another point of view but also nastiness. I’m not into kittens or baking, keep on with what you set out to do, keeping connecting, keep it real, much love to you xxx

  10. Hello
    I am really disappointed that you were asked to weigh in to the various debates on social media – especially when many were debating the highschool-ness of it all. You have so much on your plate as a mum, wife and brilliant child psychologist and educator, you don’t need additional drama.
    I don’t ever really want to weigh in on these dramas publicly -‘I honestly feel the unfollow/blocking on twitter debate we saw this past week was tedious and aggressive, especially when it was debated collectively. And that was the only time I added my 2c worth in, to say that.

    Great post Nat. Love you lots x

    • You are a ray of sunshine you always make me smile. It’s a position where I don’t want to weigh in and take sides. I actually wasn’t aware of what was going on until I received emails and dm’s and even now not really sure all that went down. But I don’t like being told I should unfriend people and that if I still follow them it means I support fully what they say. Life is not that black and white or that simple. I connect on many different levels as I’m sure you do. Much love gorgeous xx

  11. Debyl1 says:

    Oh Nathalie I love this post and I am sorry you were asked to take sides.There are some things we should not expect of our friends.We should respect their opinions and not want for them to fight the battles we choose to take on.
    I was helping get the lovely oldies all set up to watch a visiting choir the other day.I felt happy for them as they joined in and sang away but then I made the big mistake of sitting back ,watching and thinking.As I did so I was fighting back the tears as I knew the songs were from their younger days when they were fit, healthy and had lives so full of friends and family.It made me see….Life goes by so quick and before we know it we are looking back at everything behind us and no longer looking forward.
    Yes life is too short and the years are too precious to be fighting battles where there is no winner.There are enough battles we NEED to fight in our lives and in our families like illness, trauma,break ups,beak downs etc.
    Sometimes even sitting on the fence is too close to it all as I dont want to see or hear the fighting on either side.
    I am so glad you are being gentle on yourself and keeping high above it all as that way you are saving you precious time and energy for all the ones in your life who truly need you.xx

    • Your words always comfort me, you are so eloquent and real when you write. It is even hard to sit in the fence because you are only watching doesn’t mean you don’t care. You are a gem how you help out at the aged care home, I know how tough and how much it hurts inside but you are doing something truly wonderful and compassionate. As always much love and strength to you xxx

  12. I am right there on the fence with you Nat. Quite frankly – I just want to like everyone. And I hate the expectation that if I am friends with X then I can’t be friends with Y. Ultimately, unless you’ve done something quite terrible … Or unless you’ve offended me personally (which is hard to do) I am probably going to like you. I don’t really care who else you do and don’t get on with. And the politics of it all just does my head in (makes me glad I live in WA sometimes!)

  13. Veronica @ Mixed Gems says:

    Any more space up there? I hate confrontation. I am willing to consider both sides and civilly/respectfully disagree.

    Someone once said to me in an old youth group I went to, “Does it edify the soul?” It’s a question I’ve never forgotten and a useful one to consider in these type of situations.

    If it doesn’t, then there’s no point getting involved. If noone’s listening anymore, and it’s more about trying to be “right”, then that’s the time to bow out. I see no benefit in trying to prove right and wrong when many issues are subjective. I can live with that difference; but live even better if I’m respectfully allowed my differing view.

    I’m so out of social media that I’ve no idea what’s been going down. Guess that’s a good thing, if it turns out not worth the wasted time.

    • The fence is huge room for anyone who wants to join. Love your edify the soul, maybe that’s my internal protection. I’ve been out of the loop for a while just dip in every now and then. Xxx

  14. Martine@themodernparent says:

    I am beginning to realise that some people actually thrive on drama and if there’s none around they will in turn create some. I also believe social media has made this easier to achieve. I must be living on a fence under a rock as I prefer to remain somewhat oblivious to much of these dramas. I am shocked that people actually call on others like yourself to enter into the battlefield. If they knew you at all they would also know this is not how you roll.

  15. oh! thank you for articulating everything I have been feeling but didn’t have words for – this is perfect. I realised this afternoon when i was thinking of closing everything down that it is simply ridiculous – no i don’t have the energy required to weigh in at the end of long days or keep up with a lot of social media. But i do have the energy to follow my heart, invest in good friendships and continue to dream. Move over on that fence there lovely xx

  16. I don’t know whether it is fence sitting, but rather an intelligent choice not to get involved in drama. Social media has made it all too easy to sit behind the keyboard and judge. We are nothing more than teenagers bullying, scrutinizing and taking sides, but as you say adults are harsher and hold grudges longer. I certainly have an opinion, but I have learned to express it in a way that is non-judgmental and open to other points of view. Not that I always get it right, but being aware is the first step.

    • I am a big drama avoider, I’m not great at handling drama it makes me flat and drains me, I want to have less of this feeling and I’ll keep trying to be aware.

  17. I’ve found it all very tiresome. And now I’ll shhhhhhhhh. Love you x

  18. I have a big dent in my bum from sitting on the fence. I’m OK with that and I happen to like it on my fence as life is just so much calmer with out the drama. xx

  19. “Sometimes I sit on the fence because intellectually I lack the grammar to be taken seriously. The big words don’t come easily to me. I know what I want to say yet struggle to get the emphasis of what I want to say down, without sounding like a child.”

    I know exactly what you mean. Especially when I know the other person is not that interested in my opinion anyway, it is easier just to say nothing than to try to form a constructive argument that will get your point of view across without offending. :)

    • It can get overwhelming trying to form a response to the high standard of a post, with someone who has amazing writing skills, I do try sometimes but more often than not I’m a much better observer :)

  20. Awesome post Nat.
    I think it’s wise to sit on the fence when it comes to Social Media. Without the spoken word so much can be misconstrued.
    Thankfully I haven’t encountered any of this yet, so I’ve not been asked to take sides.

  21. Well said. I have enough drama in my own little world without complicating it with other peoples!

    On an unrelated note – I nominated you for the Very Inspirational Blog Award because I love reading your blog and following you on FB and Twitter- http://alifeonvenus.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/very-inspiring-blogger-award.html

    • Thanks Sam :) always lovely to receive such a generous compliment. Due to a very big workload I’m not sure I will have the time to participate as I hardly have time to blog, I only blog about every 6 weeks, but I will pop over and have a read. Thanks again xxx

  22. Surely life is too short to continue high school squabbles through adult life?
    Well done you. When friends ask for opinions, it’s hard to sit on the fence. It takes strength.
    Strength you obviously have. In the long run, you will be the happier for it as the storms die down.
    And your friendships will remain.

  23. Fence sitting and speaking up- pretty balanced I’d say.

  24. Yes, exactly. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m a conflict avoider, but I have definitely felt like Switzerland over these past few weeks. Social media is difficult in much the same way as email is. You can’t see a person’s tone, or their facial expressions – it is rife for miscommunication. It’s the main reason why I won’t get “into it” on social media and certainly not in the public space. I find it tedious and not productive at all. I loved this post, Nat – I think it’s spot on. Kx

  25. I struggle with this sort of thing…but not really because I’m caught up in it…but rather because I’m not. Ha! I just run my own race, and when I (eventually) hear about these sorts of things, I wonder if I am too much in my own world (too much sometimes so it’s something I need to work on). I don’t know if that makes sense. I’m really interested in people, and love supporting what other people do…I just don’t like drama. I’ve been in the position before where someone was spreading lies about me — I was so shocked because it hadn’t happend to me ever before…but you know, I just left it. I didn’t fight it but just kept going…just kept going forward knowing the truth always comes out in the end.

    Can I say though Nat, that all the posts I read on your blog resonate so much with me. Thanks for being you. x

Trackbacks

  1. […] Working with children keeps me sane. Sane to the extent that their honesty and innocence is refreshing. They rarely hold grudges and speak their mind. I get on with kids. As adults we too speak our…  […]

  2. […] I am speaking my truth regardless of popular opinion and reserving my right to sit on the fence […]

  3. […] niche or clique. There’s an argument breaking out on Twitter, Facebook or a blog and I sit on the fence.  My writing; shock, horror, faint, head desk has grammatical errors. I sporadically blog and […]

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