The problem with an online persona is that you don't get the body language, voice inflections, ect. of people. Just cold, unemotional words.
Well...the emoticon come in handy to a degree...but then you have those people that can't figure out their own feelings or how their trying to express themselves and make it worse by using the wrong one.
I always assume the best of people, just to keep my own faith in the human race not being a bunch of idiots...
Yeah...I usually try and do this as well...but my faith in the human race has been getting its ass kicked lately.
I'm the same way, always try to see the best in people. In the last year though, I've learned something about that. This is a little story about how weird life can be...
At least for me, it was my Internet Community experiences that made me want to pursue this saintly path of believing people are good. Too many meaningless arguments with people you don't know makes you realize how meaningless arguments are. Upon returning to the real-world, (Read: Life, Land of the Living,) I found out something rather interesting, all caused by an encounter with a... Let's call him an old nemesis.
We never got along in High School, he'd pick on me and what-not. I was never the confrontational type, so I just ignored it. But I ran into him again somewhat recently. He was still a jerk. I was no longer non-confrontational. Rather, I had become non... Well, I didn't wanna just ignore him, but I didn't wanna lash out at him either. So I walked up to him, said hi, started talking to him like we were old friends. That's when his girlfriend, (I assume it was his girlfriend, for reasons explained later on,) walked up and heard him make a rather snide remark about me. At this point I reverted to my good ol' non-confrontational self, as she was getting angry with him, and I left.
Now, they didn't break up. Quite the contrary, they worked out the problem with him being a jerk towards me, and got married. He later invited me to be in his wedding party. I declined as I only do Best Man gigs, (Pfft, yeah right, that was a joke btw =P) but he friend'd me on Facebook and asked if we could meet. I was rather shocked at both of these things. I accepted the meeting, knowing that, since I didn't somehow accidentally destroy his relationship, my ass was safe and sound and kick-immune.
He chose to meet me on the spot where he had last made fun of me... Which was even more re-assuring, since it was an exceptionally public place, and unless his goal was to also humiliate me, there was no way he would risk beating me down for jail-time. I figured I would do the same thing I did last time, just to be sure I wasn't going to get beaten... So I walked up and said hi in the nicest voice I could without sounding girly. Without saying hi back, he began apologizing for his behavior before and in High School... Now instead of smiling and trying to look completely harmless, I just looked like someone had told me I'd won the lottery, or something similar. Dumb-founded.
He said something along the lines of, "The fight you saw me having with my fiancee, well, it was a real wake-up call. You were being perfectly polite and kind and I was being an ass. The only time it's okay to be an ass is when it stands on principle, and when you're sure you won't back down on the subject, and it's important to you." (What he said was so much more elegantly put... I wish I could remember it verbatim...) Apparently the fight I'd accidentally incited caused him and his future wife to have a heart-to-heart about life and what it meant to be an adult. He thanked me for nearly blowing up his relationship, and repeated the offer to be in his wedding party. (In case it wasn't clear, the line above about declining because it wasn't a best-man thing was a total joke. This is where I actually decline the offer.) He said he understood, thanked me again, and went on his way. I haven't heard from him since, though I did receive the official letter inviting me to the wedding. He's been married for several months now, and I, through passivity and genuine, if strained kindness, dealt with my former nemesis...
Just an example of how being blindly optimistic, believing the best about people, and acting upon it can actually change something every once in a while.
As far as online personas go... In case anyone can't tell... I like to type. =P