Having Effective Conversations Online

I wasn’t sure where to post this question, I hope this is an acceptable forum for it.

I get into conversations with people online very often. I do think it’s important to spread the truth to people, whether we are taking religion, parenting- whatever it may be.

Online conversations are difficult. I realize that not everyone will walk away from a conversation agreeing with me. I know it’s my job to plant seeds, and it’s up to the person and the Holy Spirit to do the rest of the work.

However, I don’t know how to make peace with that. I also don’t know when to “dust my feet and walk away” or when it’s best to not say anything in that particular conversation because it will get me nowhere.

Oftentimes, it can be obvious. If a post/thread has already gotten heated and good points have already been made, for example, it would usually be pointless to try and add anything, or its obvious certain people aren’t open to listening.

Other times, when it’s a new conversation with little input already, its harder to know. I often see a post/question and think “I wish I could tell the person such-and-such. But I know people will automatically attack that position. Maybe I shouldn’t say anything…”

It seems like more often than not, people nowadays lack the maturity to have a civil conversation when people have opposing views. Even if you make respectful comments, people get overly defensive and/or angry. It makes me upset and disheartened. Sometimes I just want to stop saying anything altogether, and then I wonder if that’s exactly what the devil wants me to do.

What are some things that can help me when I’m feeling upset about a conversation I had, or when that went badly? I tend to get angry at these people for not listening and understanding, even though that is beyond my control.

Thanks.

Let me know when you figure it out … :smiley:

Sometimes I feel like I should never talk in person or online :slight_smile: sometimes no matter what I say people act like I told them I just robbed five banks :slight_smile: I should just never open my mouth :slight_smile: just joking ( kind of … )

I can’t believe you said that. I’m offended. :slight_smile:

BIB MT–you sure hit a nail on the head I actually took myself off of Facebook for awhile during the last presidential election because things got so hot! In fairness, I wasn’t above the fray always–which was one reason that I forced myself to take a breather as discipline. I tended to repost cute, but sarcastic cartoons though and seldom wrote hostile messages–until, of course, someone took me on–as inevitably happened! LOL! In my life, I’ve discovered that there are few things that people–even the best of people–get as passionate about as religion or politics. Everyone basically thinks that they alone are in charge of the whole truth. Occasionally, I post a catholic message on Facebook these days, but over all, I use Facebook to play games and visit with my 5 kids and other family who live great distances away from me. If someone were to post a particularly offensive post, I would respond to them and express my feelings–and most likely block them as a friend. I don’t like the constant “mama-drama” of verbal fights on line with folks who really don’t care what you think but wish to use media sites to hail their own beliefs and only their own beliefs. But, that’s just me–

Here is an old prayer that helps me when I get to the point of disliking the person I’m “talking” to:

For Someone We Dislike
The fault is probably mine, Lord, but I very much dislike Thy servant N. Instead of thinking about the hundred ways in which he maddens me I turn to Thee and ask Thy help for both of us. Give me the grace to meet him as a friend; give him the grace to conquer all his faults; and give to the two of us the grace of seeing each other as we really are – bought by Thy Blood and equally friends of Thine.

I printed this out and put it on the wall by my desk so I will see it when I am online.

Great prayer!! I copied it–thank you, FRIEND!!! :thumbsup:

Its a basic waste of time and energy, much like these Forums, which accomplish very little in my opinion. Just a way to pass the time, like reading a book. Except some of the Forums can be an intellectual challenge, makes one brush up a little. That’s about all I get out of it.

Linus2nd

You can help someone along in their journey and, you are correct, it is up to the person and the Holy Spirit for there to be changes and understanding.

If you feel called to say something, maybe you should. Know your audience and know if it is the right place to say something.

(Places like FaceBook are not really for discussing situations. Its best used to share conversations with friends, but it goes to so many people who may not be friends. So often, people post “forwards” that are designed to promote a heated topic. Those are best to ignore. They aren’t for real communication.)

When you feel you have responded in a proper manner and then you feel it is time to “dust my feet and walk away” or to say nothing, Do Not worry that it is the devil trying to discourage you. That idea will drive you to spin in circles.

People give the devil way too much credit.

When you feel it is time to walk away or say nothing… see if you feel at peace… say a prayer… take a break. God will help you to know it is time to speak no more.

The idea that it is the devil trying to get you to stop can be a habit of thinking or an OCD thought.

You have the perfect thought that we are called to help one another. We are to be a light of Christ, an instrument in helping. We are not responsible for what the other person decides.

The Holy Spirit may use us to help others, but it is up to the person to make their own decisions. The Holy Spirit helps hearts to change.

Sometimes, while our ideas may be perfect for us - it may not be the right idea for the other person or the right time for them to be able to accept it.

Be at peace. That is very important.

You don’t want to allow yourself to be angry. If you find yourself being angry at them for not hearing you, remember they have all of their life experiences to use to form their thoughts. You base your thoughts on your life experiences and understanding.

Keep this verse in mind in all that you do.

1 Peter 3:15
Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence

For you dearest BIB MT Numbers 6:24
The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!

St. Isidore of Seville ~ Patron Saint of the Internet ~ Pray for us.
St. Gabriel the Archangel ~ Patron Saint of Communication ~ Pray for us.

It’s difficult to be dispassionate when you strongly believe in something. That’s why I so admire the apologists on Catholic Answers Live. I know how they love the Catholic faith and how they want to share it with others, but once in a while the person calling in is very nasty. There was a mean sounding lady who called in with more of an accusation than a question, and the apologist very calmly and kindly stated the answer in several ways so that she might understand even if she didn’t agree. Meanwhile as a listener, I’m shouting at the radio, “Oh, just hang up on her. She’s doesn’t care. She’s just mean.” Most of the people who call in with that kind of agenda are totally disarmed by the joy and kindness expressed by the apologist and you can hear the caller’s anger melting and their hardened hearts warming in response by the end of the call. They’re just so surprised to be met by love. It’s often even more difficult when you don’t hear the other person’s voice but only see the words on the page, much easier to be misunderstood. Probably most of those who post online, even here on a Catholic site where you anticipate that everyone is going to be respectful and fair and open, have experienced the same feelings you have at one time or another. Stay with it. Share the truth with love and if someone knocks you, well sometimes you learn something from it. God bless you.

LOL

Here are some helpful thoughts from Mother Teresa to get you by all that.

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

I like that one…almost as much as the Mother Teresa quote.

Not that I can DO these things. But you gotta aim somewhere. :blush:

Thanks to those who posted the prayer and the Mother Teresa quotes. Actually, thanks to everyone, but those in particularly helpful!

What I’m running into, is usually not on actual “newsfeed” posts on Facebook, but rather when people ask questions in groups I’m a part of.

There have never been any problems with the person who originally asked the question! Even if someone doesn’t agree, they are usually respectful or ponder my response. Sometimes the OP ends up agreeing with me, and I know it’s been worth it.

The problem is other people who are responding will disagree with me, and then I feel compelled to further explain so my opinion isn’t discredited.

I’ve also noticed a lot of people will agree with me, and tell me so in private, but aren’t willing to say anything on the thread. It gets lonely fighting the fight sometimes! I often feel outnumbered by the nay sayers.

I really need to work on not becoming angry and to forgive. I find it so hard to forgive sometimes if I don’t have a reason. I know that’s not how it’s supposed to work, but it’s a struggle. Hopefully those prayers will help me :slight_smile:

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