Friday, March 20, 2015

Things That Annoy Me #4

You get a two-fer of annoyance and they are both Facebook related since I am spending copious time there today.

There is an odd habit that some people have where they explain a problem they have, ask for help and advice, and then proceed to shoot down every suggestion as impossible.

The other day I saw on a group page where someone said their family's spending was out of control and they wanted advice about budgeting. Every single suggestion was declined.

"Track your spending" We buy stuff at too many different places.
"Cut nonessential spending" Most of our expenses are required.
"Buy Budgeting software" I don't have time to input data.
"Use envelopes" I don't like carrying cash.
"Have budget meetings with your husband." He doesn't think we have a money problem.

Since keeping my money records up-to-date is the housekeeping task I prioritize over anything else, these exchanges caught my attention. Now, I don't think everyone needs to be as fastidious as I am about it. I wish I could relax a bit, but my spreadsheets make me so happy.

But it is practice more than the specific topic that I'm pointing out. I ask questions on a regular basis, but I really want suggestions. If you don't really want help, why ask for help? If you just want to whine, whine. But this ritual of whining in the form of advice seeking annoys me.


The other thing that bugs me is when people delete threads and posts over minor disagreements. I know that the online world can get ugly and that when things go astray, the delete button is a legitimate option. I certainly understand needing to take drastic action when the discourse descends into a lunchroom food fight. I am not talking about that.

I am talking about when someone posts a link to an article and gets any response that is anything less than, "This is so awesome! Love it! I am so inspired!" For some reason any ambivalent, "I am not sure I agree with this." type of response demands the delete button. This annoys me because it seems so fake. Why must everyone be in lock step agreement all the time? Is there no room for respectful discussion where there are points of disagreement?

On some pages, the answer is that there is no room at all. If we all smile all the time, that means we are all happy, I guess.


bearing said...

Because when they have asked for help and have "proved" to themselves that they cannot actually do any of the suggestions, they can rest easy that there is no point in doing anything about their problem and they can stop feeling guilty about it.

Or possibly because their spouse has suggested to them a change that they don't want to make. By asking for advice they are "trying" to change and by shooting it down they won't actually have to change.

Literacy-chic said...

I have simply had to relegate most of the people who have "friended" me, including many family members, to "acquaintance" status, post to "friends, not acquaintances," and hide everyone lest I be tempted to interact. Why? Because I am critical. My very existence in their online sphere is a collossal downer. So yes. I very much get the irritation over everything being a mutual admiration society. Life is to short to agree with everyone! :D

Melanie Bettinelli said...

I'm so guilty of #1. Here's why I think I do it.

1. I'm really asking for advice that I haven't thought of, trying to crowdsource to see if people have ideas that haven't occurred to me, but I'm bad at explaining that up front. And then all I get is the stuff I've already found unworkable for whatever reason.

2. I really wasn't asking for advice but everyone read my bitching post as if I were and I find myself shooting it all down.

3. Sometimes I did a bad job of explaining the problem in my initial post or people misread it, and so all the advice isn't really answering the real question I had.

4. Sometimes all I get is bad advice.

The Sojourner said...

I am probably guilty of Melanie's #1 a lot...I will ask for solutions for something but not feel like explaining "I've already ruled out A, B, C" up front. So all I get is A, B, C, and no D, E, or F.

Sometimes this happens even when I preemptively rule out Suggestion A, though. Like the time I asked one of my groups if there was any solution for toddler whining other than baby sign language (which we already do) and all I got was recommendations for additonal DVDs and websites to teach signs. -_-

Melanie Bettinelli said...

The deleting posts thing bugs me too. I can understand saying, I don't have time to argue about this. Often I don't. And I understand saying, I thought this was a good piece but the criticism it's received has changed my mind. But I don't get deleting something out of pique because no one agrees with you. That's so petty.

Jenny said...

I think there is a fair bit of bearing's explanation to account for many of these types of posts. Announce they want a change and then explain why change is impossible so it can be forgotten.

But I also think Melanie's explanation might account for a lot of them. Specifically people might not explain exactly what they are asking or be misunderstood in the not asking.

So I will try to be more patient and give them the benefit of the doubt that they have just misstated rather than assume it is an odd attempt at attention.

Also Melanie, I haven't really noticing you doing this, but I'll pay more attention. :D The place I notice it is on large group boards where most of the members don't really know each other. Perhaps if I know the person I am more likely to read the correct intention?

BettyDuffy said...

I've deleted posts before because I don't have the energy to engage. I might have thought, hey this might be interesting to someone, but when I find myself in a boondoggle, I'd just assume forget about it. Usually, because no one wants to be convinced on the internet, as you pointed out in the first annoyance, they just want to complain, state an indubitable opinion, or be cheeky. That said, I usually do it AS SOON as I realize a post isn't going to play nicely with my time. If I'm in the mood for respectful disagreement, I usually seek out a thread that someone else is moderating, so I can bow out whenever I need to.

BettyDuffy said...

Another reason I can see for deleting cantankerous facebook threads, is that everything that falls below your post ends up being associated in some small way with your name. I don't really want to be one of the names everyone associates with shit slinging, over-sharing, shaming, and all the junky stuff that can happen under your post (even though I have committed all of those crimes at various points in my history). If that means no one reads my posts and I fall out of the algorithm, I'm ok with that.

Jenny said...


That's funny what you say about finding other places to have arguments than your own thread. I generally feel the same way. I know the people who might read it and hope they don't when it happens under my name. But I like arguing, respectfully though. I don't know what that says about me that I am more willing to engage when it is less likely for family and neighbors to read.

Also I completely understand deleting boondoggles, it just the very mild disagreements that suddenly disappear into the ether without explanation that exasperate me.

Joy said...

Some people have no intention of solving a problem. They just like to complain.