I’ve had several occasions lately where I had to walk away from a disagreement, or I witnessed others disagreeing and wished one of them had walked away. Most of this has been on social networking sites – both internal where I work and on Facebook which I am on nearly all day every day because it’s both part of my job and personal life.
At work we’ve had a debate in recent days about whether or not a group that exists to discuss politics should continue to exist on our internal social networking site. The reason the question was raised is because a few people don’t know how to just present their position and then walk away. They insist on bickering back and forth and spending way more time than any employee should discussing items not work related. If I was their manager I would either have reprimanded them or given them a lot more work responsibility by now. The existence of the group isn’t a bad thing, and discussing non work-related matters isn’t a bad thing either, but bickering constantly throughout the day between a few folks has pretty much ruined the group and the purpose of it for nearly all. Some need to learn when to state their case and walk away.
On Facebook, the times I’ve been reminded of this lately are when I see posts that are violently opposed to basic values I hold dear (depending on who espouses them). I am Facebook friends with a large variety of people and that’s a good thing for being exposed to others who believe and see things differently than me. I have no problem with that. I have to either not comment at all or comment simply and clearly and resist the temptation to get sucked into an argumentative, back-and-forth exchange.
Arguments are frustrating and I usually avoid them. Whether that is wisdom or avoidance of conflict, I’ll let the psychologists decide. All I know is that I avoid the distraction and frustration by exercising what I have learned in leap year lesson #134 – Learn when to walk away.