Sunday, March 14, 2010

Commiseration, Not Condescension

For me, Facebook is a great tool. It is how I keep in touch with my family and friends who are spread across the country and the world. I am not very good at phoning people, but I am good at emailing, blogging, and keeping my profile up to date on Facebook.
There is a catch, however. You cannot read tone of voice. So, when I post a status update like, "My daughter slept through the night, but my son woke up three times," people may not understand that I'm not complaining, I'm just stating a fact.
Regardless of whether or not I'm complaining via my status (which I try not to do), I do not want condescending or veiled passive-aggressive comments left by my well meaning friends.
To the status update above, my currently childless friend commented, "It may not seem like it now, but they will eventually sleep through the night." Yes, I know that. Barring sickness, I do not anticipate waking up at all hours of the night when my kids are in grade school. For some reason, her remark really irked me, but then, I should know better than to take it personally, because that is just who she is: well meaning, but often times comes off as condescending.
By posting my status, I was not asking for trite reassurances that my kids will eventually sleep through the night (especially from people who don't have kids). I was just looking for commiseration from people who are or have been there. And I did get the commiseration I was looking for. I also deleted my friend's comment.
Now who is passive aggressive?