Fight or Flight on Social Media: What You Need to Know About Pet Peeves and Your Options

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Today, I am inclined to write about some pet peeves that most of us “normal people” have.

Let me explain why the words normal people are in quotes. I’m going to characterize this assort of a cartoon, if you will, so please bear with me.

In a previous article titled “Social media and the American dream,” I wrote about how social media is a melting pot, enabling everyone to participate.

Social media is a bazaar, a kind of street fair and every carnival that ever existed(and have yet to exist) all in one domain we call cyberspace.

As such, we find that people are online for various reasons, both personal and professional. The instantaneous publication of our lives in real-time enables a new way of life, freedom of speech, and a norm never before seen or experienced by previous generations.

Many people are looking to create a life for themselves through the platform of social media. And why not? It is lucrative and the possibilities are endless!

Sharing our human experience with others (around the world, no less) in the collective forum of social media is a technological marvel.

Many entrepreneurs have utilized the power of the various social media channels to promote, market, and publicize their businesses.  Not only are people selling widgets online, entrepreneurs are encouraged to express authentically, essentially selling themselves.

There’s no doubt that social media has enabled a new freedom of being in the parallel world of cyber-space.  The world that is social media has become a viable and invaluable complement to “real life.”

No longer is our circle of influence restricted by region or those we have physically met. Our entire global arena has become smaller in that we can reach people from around the world, by the touch of a button.

We are able to cultivate relationships with people we meet online. And I’m not talking about the casual “Hi, how are you” type of relationships. It is a total possibility these days to develop deep relationships with others whom we’ve met online.  In fact, many people have deepened relationships that initially started online to a point of marriage, business collaborations, and forming lifelong friendships.

In social media, as in life, there are certain aspects of human interaction that we universally experience. 

When you post an accomplishment, it feels good to share the excitement, and have others root for your success. When you are sharing about challenges you are having encouragement from others creates a feeling of validation.

Social media allows us (individually and collectively) to feel seen, heard and understood.

Until we don’t.

Communication breakdowns on social media are similar to ones we have face to face.  And I dare say that due to the sheer volume of people you are interacting with each day, you may feel irked by some of the seemingly rude and inconsiderate people you might come across.

What is it about interacting on social media that could get our blood boiling?  Yes, there are those with whom we resonate and befriend.  We feel they’re awesome people because our interactions and experiences with them are harmonious.

And then, there are those who seem to poke and prod us along, activating & challenging pet peeves we didn’t know we had.

Pet Peeves

Now, all of us have pet peeves.  

We are all susceptible to the lower consciousness of complaint, blame, criticism, and upset when triggered. Believe me, social media can have many triggers that can cause us to be upset.

A Step Back to Clarify...

A peeve is an annoyance.  A pet is a domesticated creature we keep for companionship or pleasure.  For many people, pets are like our own children: raise it, feed it, clean it, and look after it. We love and nurture our pets.

Now, a pet peeve is an annoyance that’s nurtured like a pet — it’s something someone can never resist complaining about. 

Pet peeves are self-serving. 

If you really think about it, having a pet peeve is insanity.  Remember that the word insanity is defined as doing something over and over again expecting different results.

Pet peeves are crazy making stuff. It is something we love to hate.   Nurturing a pet peeve and droning on and on about it is to mindlessly and wastefully put all of our energy into complaining about something that will never change, that you have no control over. 

Examples of pet peeves are the following: the toilet seat cover preference, misusing punctuation, driving slowly in the fast lane, talking on the phone while at the movies.

All of these are the actions of someone else’s behavior. Now, how many times have you been told that we can only have control of our own behavior, and not anyone else’s?

If something drives you crazy and you have to yap about it, it’s a pet peeve. Pet peeves tend to be smaller issues. In other words, something really onerous and horrific like terrorism is not a pet peeve.

Pet Peeves Around Social Media

I’ve been thinking deeply about some of the triggering aspects of social media that almost everyone experiences.  These triggers become our pet peeves and lie dormant in our consciousness ready to pounce.

Pet peeves are irksome.

If you’ve been around the social media block a few times, you’ve probably been triggered by someone on a social media interaction.

Someone engages with you in a way that triggers a pet peeve and it is upsetting. You may not even consciously know why it is upsetting except that it boils your blood.  

Here are some unacceptable behaviors on social media that might trigger you:

  • Follow/unfollow
  • Nasty comments: Rude, hateful, ignorant
  • Cyberbullying
  • Monitor Others 
  • Speak badly about special needs

Many times, our reptilian brain takes over & we lose our higher thinking.  Even the best of us wants to lash back & growl, block them, and send virtual poo-poos back at ‘em!  Argh! 😤

What You Need to Know

Here’s what you need to know

Just as you are where you are, they are who they are at.  We are all walking a path. It is hard to believe, but everyone is doing the best they can with what they’ve got. 

If you are that triggered and frustrated with them, imagine the frustration they have within themselves to be who they are?

The lessons and norms that were instilled in us as children, they never learned.  The niceties of sharing, please and Thank Yous were never learned. Imagine the brute of children taking, grabbing, impatient, shoving. This is the world in which some troglodytes live. 

Whatever their understanding is of life, norms and acceptable behavior, how they behave offline gets transferred online.

Consciousness, after all, has nothing to do with age. It has to do with awareness, particularly self-awareness.

So what do you do when you are face-to-face on social media with another person who has a different level of awareness then you?

Options From Mother Nature: Fight or Flight

Nature has proven two ways of effectively dealing with confrontation: fight or flight.  

Fight: Show Them Up

When someone irks you, you might feel the hairs on your back stand straight up. Everything they say and does makes you feel defensive and all of a sudden, you realize how an alleycat must feel, ready to fight its opponent.

Flight: Stay away

Get away from this person as quickly as you can. Simply avoiding dealing with nonsense and pooh-poohs that are emanating from there being.  


We’ve already established that there is disharmony in your interaction with the other person. 

You know that they think differently than you. They are where they are. Do you see life through a completely different set of lenses?

Is it really worth your time, energy and effort to fight a stranger about a topic that they have dug their heels into?  

Wouldn’t it be easier to leave them be and go about your business, allowing them to be them, and you to be you?  

Wouldn’t there be more peace in your life and your heart if you simply agreed to respectfully disagree?

Do you need to be right?

If you absolutely need to be right in every interaction and conversation, that might be something to reflect upon for furthering your personal development.

The Gift

Here’s the opportunity (the gift) that you may not realize as you are in the middle of dealing with upset.

Triggers help us realize what’s not in harmony with what’s happening.

When we can step away from our feelings and emotions, and take a look at the situation as it is, we become more aware.  Awareness fosters perspective and paves way to wisdom.

When we can step out of our situation and look at it and describe what is happening, we do not get caught up with the crazy.

Let your triggers be the space that creates an opportunity for forgiveness.  We can forgive those who have trespassed against us because they may not know a better way of being. It is not a personal attack. They just are limited in their capacity to deal with others in a way that is acceptable, or harmonious.  How they are treating you has nothing to do with who you are but it says mountains about who they are.

So let the rude ones go. Think nothing of it. Like overhead in business, it is the cost of doing business. The cost of social interaction is to lovingly release of that which no longer serves us. This may be to let go of some followers or some disharmonious beings on our path to building community in social media.

Rather than follow the negative energy, we can come together in the Spirit of collaboration, and gain.  More than friendships and followers, we can raise our consciousness to a brave new world.💝

What makes your hairs stand up with regard to interactions with not-so-harmonious others?  What do you do when you are triggered?