VERBAL “DRIVE-BY-SHOOTINGS”

COMMUNICATION: SIMPLE RESPECT. This is the first new post about  everyday communication. Most of these will not be big, deep comments, but small ones that can improve and brighten everyday dialogues.

In a drive-by-shooting someone in a car or on a cycle or scooter passes someone, fires a shot, and vanishes. The person who is shot has no chance to protect himself or herself or to retaliate.

One kind of comment has something in common with this. A person makes a mean,  insulting or otherwise hurtful comment to another and then vanishes. Maybe in a car, a crowd, into an elevator or room as the door closes, or anywhere else where there is no chance for  a reply. The remark may be right, wrong, or a complete misunderstanding, but the recipient has no chance to explain or correct it.

The recipient may feel feeling demeaned, angry, violent depressed or something else—usually negative. Occasionally he or she feels forgiveness or pity for the small mindedness of the person who made the remark and sped away, but injured feelings are more often the orm,

Why are verbal drive-by-shootings destructive? First, often they cause avoidable pain or suffering for the hearer. Often, of course, the “shooter” doesn’t care. Second, they often trigger a craving for revenge. “I’ll get that S.O.B. back!” If you’re that S.O.B., the reprisal just might come when you least want it. Passive-aggressive intentions to embarrass you terribly or stab you in the back are commonplace. Third, positive feelings that may have existed between the two of you are likely to be shredded or diminished.  This can send a relationships downhill fast.

Sometimes such actions are unintentional, A person may not expect their remark to be hurtful. Or they may be in a big hurry to go and just not think to wait for the other’s reply. Such incidents can often be repaired by later conversation and / or apology. But until then at least one of the people is likely to feel bad.

Also, some people in some situations may just think “FY too” and forget it. Or  may have enough self esteem that the comment just rolls off like water from a duck’s back.

But many people don’t. In the meantime, this communication tactic, habit, or error is best avoided. Leave space for a reply!