If you can’t be Civil you won’t be listened to – But you are Still my Buddy (Mostly)

Okay, this post is as much non-amateur radio as amateur radio, but I want to clear the air with my readership.

You folks matter.

You are my internet buddies, and guess what, I truly expect at times we will never 100% agree on much of anything.

But that is a-okay.  It would be pretty miserable if we all agreed all the time.  Actually that would be awful and it would be boring.

But we have to “disagree agreeably” or it simply won’t work.

In the recent political upheaval I have had friends go loopy, basically demanding reaffirmations of the beliefs they hold and unilaterally declaring that any other conclusion besides theirs has to be actively disavowed.  They basically expected a public affirmation of their views and an affirmation that I am a member of what they have decided is their “tribe.”

Kind of sad, as a few European and local friends basically demanded of me that if I didn’t start parroting their position on things political, that they tell me that my not joining up with them is evil – even calling me a Nazi because I wouldn’t echo their sentiments on their cue – and subsequently ruined decades old friendships in the process.

On the bands you can hear heated conversations – at time rowdy would be an understatement – as groups basically slag each other off.

On email I create a “folder & rule” that directs their emails to either deferred reading or a dead mailbox, dependent on how toxic they have become.  One group of amateur radio enthusiasts includes a particularly toxic drunk who rates a direct to my junk folder rule just on general principles.

Your mileage may vary, but here are my email guidelines:

  • Unlikely to be redeemable overt Troll – direct to the junk/spam folder, pre-marked as “read” and all alert/notification shut off.  If they want to contact me they can call me up by phone or use an intermediary to get my attention
  • Possibly redeemable troll or other time-waster/drag – direct to a dedicated folder which I may scan periodically (ends up pretty much every day or so), but without any alert/notification.  These are left marked “unread” until I review/read them.
  • Known Grifters – unless I have an investment in them, direct to my trash folder.  An investment that saves their email from instant disposal may be blood or emotional or faith.
  • Poor Signal/Noise Ratio correspondents (usually retired or between jobs) – direct to their own “Arrived to Read” folder which I do scan periodically.
  • Select High Value correspondents – designated VIP status so I get  specifically notified when they communicate.  Some get a dedicated mailbox.
  • All the rest – general inbox process as ordinary email.

I do something similar on social media when participating, while avoiding the whole syncopates/friends/mutually-known/unfriendly situation as I am pretty purpose driven in my social media involvement.  Much like my shopping – know what you want, go in, get it, check out and leave.  I simply don’t have the spare time to do social media in real-time or as a substitute for living a real life. Also on email and social media I have put numerous folk on “sleep” regardless of where their viewpoint falls compared to mine if they are going to waste my time.

One important thing, I do my best to not get mad.

There are a few that I have done specific highly rude shut-down email messages because I needed the space from their abusive emails and bluntly because ignoring my request to not puts words into my mouth, to not claim you know what I am thinking, and to not drop endless email rants have been ignored enough that they need a shot over the bow to make them aware that the choice is theirs – they can demand others conform to their sharply limited world view & politics ending up living in a bubble of conformity and perhaps dying lonely because they drove off their friends.

One could say I am bailing out of a relationship because of their conflicts, and that I will perhaps suffer the same bubble isolation and loneliness as a result.

Knowing of that risk I try to hang in there for them as long as I can.  But at some point you do have to triage situations and certain relationships have to be set aside to either heal on their own, or bluntly just die their natural death.

Yet in the end I do consider these folks in exile to be my buddies.

We may not have ended up in a sustainable relationship, though until things got insufferable we did share a lot over the years.  That history I will always value, and by considering them buddies I leave room in my viewpoint for a future mutually acceptable new relationship.



[edited 18JAN21 to enhance clarity and fix typos]

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