Crazy People are Boring

So I removed him.

My attitude toward social networking has remained essentially unchanged since the days of (I missed out on the Friendster phenom). One is not to take net-based socializing seriously, or perhaps more to the point, not to take it any more seriously than a bit of gossip bookended by a game of Scrabble and shoe box of embarrassing photos from 1994. However, a recent event has me feeling a bit sick and longing for my halcyon days of care free networking.

Robin Lindsay thinks your philosophical outlook amounts to: what if we are all living in the matrix… dude?

Above is a status update of mine. Typical for being mostly non serious, but also for the subject matter being a favourite target of mine: flakey cosmic stoner philosophy. It quickly resulted in a few comments by those who got the joke, and then a full on and remorseless debate between myself and a routine antagonist. That debate, like most, I welcomed, and despite being a confrontation with little quarter given and no end in sight, was not a vehicle for bruised feelings or personal insults.

But in walked another. You know the type. Overly sincere. Irony is lost on them. Somewhat paranoid. This fellow from my past injected himself into a conversation above his head, and when I failed to agree with his assertion that “I should stop wasting my time with…” had this to say:

“you are controlled by emotion. you would state the opposite of what I said, no matter which, if only to be contrary. you have no control of yourself and could easily[sic]played like a fiddle.”

I gave him the chance to explain this overtly hostile and insulting remark, but he pressed on with “you always disagree with what I say” and a list of further character assassinations. For the record, we have had precisely one other conversation, very short, and unremarkable. So, I did the only thing I thought appropriate: I deleted his posts for being embarrassing to the both of us, and removed him from my friends list.

Ugh. Much like a draftee might resent his government for turning him into a killer, I now resent my former friend for making me be harsh with him – to take Facebook seriously. The situation is further complicated by what might be a real-life encounter at a NYE party, hosted by a mutual friend.

I feel compelled to write to an advice columnist. Perhaps Prudence, at Slate.

Dear Prudie,

A nutter insulted me on Facebook and then I deleted him. I might have to see him on NYE, and don’t know how to handle it. What should I do? Avert my eyes? Pretend nothing happened? Try to make peace? Prepare for hostilities to continue?



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3 Responses to “Crazy People are Boring”

  1. Prudie Says:

    Dear Crazy-people-are-boring-and-make-my-life-hard:

    If you can avoid crazy people all together, then it is best to so do. If crazy people insist on engaging you in conversion, look them straight in the eye and say: “I am neither qualified nor paid enough to deal with your lunacy. Go away.”

    Keep staring and say nothing until they walk away.


  2. sarah Says:

    i agree with prudie wholeheartedly, in real life matters it’s best to keep the tentacles of crazy off your person.

    but the interweb requires a whole different set of kid gloves. i am so prone to wild and unfounded misunderstandings that i have a lot of empathy for anyone who might take something a little too much to heart. i was following the exchange loosely and it just sounded to me like the bleat of of a poor beast who just wanted his opinion acknowledged and respected.
    that wasn’t really the underlying purpose of your debate so he just got hostile while you tried to steer the conversation back to it’s original intent.

    someone like that doesn’t deserve a blocking, they just need lessons in
    1) not taking it personally
    2) not taking it too seriously
    3) laughing at themselves

    again, it’s not your job.
    maybe if there is no way to extend these basic gestures he doesn’t belong on your friend list in the first place.

    so here’s my advice to you:
    1) don’t take it personally
    2) don’t take it too seriously
    3) have a good laugh at the absurdity of this and it’s place in the overall scheme of things.
    4) get some champagne in you already. you sound all too sober.

    • rockrobinoff Says:

      Yeah, I hear you. I am not trying to take it too personally, and I can forgive all manner of confusion and dumbassery. That said, I can’t abide a personal attack followed up by another shot after I gave him a chance to clarify/take it back/ calm the fuck down.

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