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Comic - Glorpfacers
Trying to Not Say "Cool, bro"
Tell me if you struggle with one or more of the following scenarios:
- You receive a compliment on something you made and you want to thank them for the compliment, but struggle to come up with something to say before ultimately settling for a "like" or "reaction" on their message(if even that.) This is assuming of course that there is no doubt that the person who tried to talk to you isn't expecting a detailed response... if there is that doubt, then usually you just give up and move on to something else.
I have found that I struggle with the feeling of whatever I say being inadequate. It is as if what I have to say is not enough; I need to impress whoever's listening or otherwise not say anything at all. Why is that?
To get a better understanding of why this is (at least for me) such a big problem, it helps to first understand how I would feel if I were on the other side of it. What would happen if I said what came to my mind? The result is something along the lines of... "nice." "frikkin' cool dude." "OMG LMAO"
I feel secondhand embarassment when I see something like that, as if the person couldn't think of anything more comprehensive to say. It's worth mentioning, however, that this is typically associated with those instances where those simple responses are the only thing the poster has in their repertoire, in response to everything everywhere. You probably know at least one person like this... such people don't typically start conversations or have a reputation for engaging in long discussions with others. And that's OK, not everyone wants or needs to be a frickin' coversationalist philosopher! ...But as someone who has anxiety towards putting anything out there that isn't my absolute best work, there's a pressure to impress that's always floating above me, even during the most intimate conversations with close friends.
So What Can We Do?
If you are suffering from this feeling at least half as much as I do, you might be wondering what you can actually do about it.
For starters, recognize the fact that it's okay to say the filler stuff. "Wait, what?" you may ask, having just read the last paragraph. It sounds silly, but even if the content of the message is not super-detailed, the very existence of the message can hold value. Picture a friend of yours who you are somewhat close with, someone who you enjoy hanging out with. Perhaps you've had the experience of either one giving the occasional response of "nice" to the other's messages, or even no response at all, but you don't mind it given that your relationship with them doesn't necessarily hinge on if they respond to every one of your messages. Your mileage may vary with this, of course, but the point is that you understand that they are not able to respond to everything and therefore can settle with the idea of "they saw it, cool." It's when you don't know their ability to respond to messages that the pressure starts to sink in.
You may find(assuming the other person is reasonable) that you can be honest! Sometimes saying "That's pretty cool, I'm currently busy but I'd love to talk more later" can make all the difference. The other person is just as relieved to hear it as you are after saying it. You can arrange a time if you're that kind of person(I'm not), or just let them know you'll get back to them when you can.
Another thing that irritates us about short messages is the lack of reciprocation. Some people put a loooot of effort into their posts online. Those people might expect a lot of effort in return! Try to gauge the level of effort the post is asking for and develop a response on the same level. At the very least, I think it's good to meet them halfway, but that's only if it's something reasonable. You need to have some level of discernment here, because you may not want to respond to some large wall of text with something of the same caliber. You have leveraging power as an individual to determine the course of the conversation if it gets out of hand (i.e. making it clear if the conversation is too verbose).
Believe it or not, there was a lot more to this that I would have liked to write about, but I think that will come at a later date.