How To Handle Angry IM’s.

It will happen. Trust me, it will. Someday you’ll log in and find an irate IM from either a close friend or someone you don’t know at all. You’ll stare at it, perplexed, and then the anger will set in. You’ll be convinced that you must respond immediately and with as much scathing wit as possible.

Or maybe it’s you writing the irate IM. You’re sitting there seething, just waiting for the person to log on and read what you’re writing. You pound the keys hard enough to make them fly from your keyboard like so many wayward, rotten teeth. You’re verbally whooping ass and taking names–and you’re on fire. You finish your wall of text and are about to press enter…but wait.

Let’s take a step back and think about this for a second. How well do you know this person? Are you close? Consider for a second the possible ramifications on your relationship. Yes, you’re angry, but remember that it’s next to impossible to read emotion and sarcasm through text. Are you sure that they said what you think they said that made you so angry? Are you willing to sacrifice your friendship with this person and maybe your entire clique?

If you don’t know the person you’re writing to, what do you really know about them? And because context is always king: are you sure they meant to say what you took to be offensive?

There is a lot of drama in our little virtual world. Many SL users are very easily offended (that number goes way up if you’re in the fashion community) and are quick to jump the gun and air their grievances. I know that I’ve learned quite a few things from reading the comments on my other blog and seeing people respond to each other.

There are generally two kinds of responses: you can either handle it with class and flare, or you can come off as a flaming, butthurt jackass. There is a middle-ground, but it’s very, very thin.

Here are some pointers on how to effectively handle an angry ‘discussion’ and come out still smelling good at the end:

  • Take a deep breath and walk away. Really, even if it’s just for five minutes, take a break. Give your brain some time to think rationally about your response.
  • Like I said above, consider the context. Are you sure they’re saying what you think they are? Re-read the statement that made you angry.
  • Plot out your response before you start writing. Just make a mental point-by-point outline in your head of what you want to convey.
  • Keep the obscenities to a minimum. Yes, we all do it. But over-use will just make you sound kinda dumb.
  • Is the situation funny? Make a joke and tell them so. Lightening the mood is always good.
  • Keep it to the point. Tangents can be confusing to the other person and lead away from your overall point.
  • Is there something else about the situation they or you don’t know? Leave a door open for more discussion. Most disagreements stem from a misunderstanding, often on both sides.

Keep those in mind and you’ll be a genius at conflict resolution and witty debate before you know it. It’s a new year, so let’s all start it out by being a little more patient with each other.


4 Responses to “How To Handle Angry IM’s.”

  1. Love this post, Iris! I am guilty of all points above and have learned the hard way. Hopefully this post will help someone learn the easy way! LOL


  2. This is very appropriate for right now, as there’s been a lot of negativity even among the freebie community. About a week ago, I not only received an angry IM from a shop owner, it was in broken English, which I can find very grating. I really wanted to strike back for all the things the creator did wrong in contacting me, but I was also out of state with my family and I needed to focus on them rather than start a seething battle of text. I debated ignoring it as well, but I also act as a doormat too often.

    I eventually settled on writing out a notecard with my points about proper etiquette and bearing the holiday spirit in mind. I did not use any obscenities or sarcasm, was very clear, and when I was done, I logged off for a while. The individual accepted the notecard, but I received no reply. Personally, I am happy with this, as it’s in their ballpark now to mind their manners.

  3. Elizabeth Hallstrom Says:

    Great advice Iris! Of interesting note in the SL electronic club scene these crazy situations can easily occur in public chat, not just in IM. Last night I was with a male friend who is a DJ and we were dancing side by side (not as a couple). A young lady who I have only scene maybe a couple of times, got in between us and proceeded to light up her flip title with the words ” Are you jealous I’m dancing with…..” Soon after when said DJ friend started his set this young lady began to message in public chat something like this – “Are you still pissed I cock blocked you from your man. You probably spent 10,000L to look as good as I have with freebies.” Said DJ and I both IMd each, WTF? He also quickly said, “please just ignore her – I don’t know this girl and neither do you, just let it go.” So i did an Iris, stepped away from the keyboard for a few minutes, came back and said nothing. The girl was quiet the rest of the evening and everyone else had a great time.

  4. That is all so true! With me, when the anger sets in, I write up a storm and keep wording excrutiatingly formal, while also covering all points in order to bring the discussion to a screeching halt, and not hear from that person again. *sigh*

    Also, it might be just me, but I think that SO many people on the fashion industry are bipolar…not literally, but to some degree. To some extent, fashion designers can be your friends one day, and the next you are out. We are really sensitive. I speak from experience, it’s happened a lot this year, a lot of the people in our little clique got the boot.

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