About a month ago I wrote about my weight loss journey. It’s one that’s been a long time a coming and I’m good with that. You can read more about it here. The weight’s slowly been coming off. I knew that’s what would happen, it’s just the way my body is. That isn’t even the thing that’s annoying me the most, the most annoying part of it are people voicing their judgmental opinions and contacting me trying to sell me something.

I didn’t ask for suggestions. I didn’t post a picture of my breakfast only for someone to tell me that there’s a better food I could be eating. I didn’t ask for a critique. Why, if I didn’t ask for advice or an opinion, am I getting an opinion from every Tom, Dick and Sally out there?

I’ve been thinking about the sense of entitlement this community of well-meaning Internet users feel to voice their opinion when no one has asked for it. I don’t know why we do it, but I truly do believe that it comes from a good place. I don’t think that Sally Jo (who is a completely fictional character for the sake of this story) is sending me a private message about a miracle supplement that will help me melt the fat away to be offensive or hurtful. I think she genuinely wants to help and for that I’m thankful. I don’t think that someone I knew years ago, who randomly reaches out to me because she’s read my post about losing weight and has a great protein powder for me to use, is doing it out of any ill intention. I simply think that since the era of computer screen communities started, we’ve all become accustomed to saying whatever fits our fancy. It’s one thing to have something come up naturally in a face to face conversation; you have the personal relationship there to begin with. It’s something completely different to reach out to someone you barely have any contact with and try to tell them there’s a better way to do something. The personal relationship isn’t there.

A line has been crossed and we all do it. There’s something to be said about manners, about minding your own business. It’s not just something I’ve noticed as a writer who willingly puts herself out there. I’ve seen it on friends’ Facebook posts. I’ve noticed it on my own personal Facebook posts that are not available for all to see. Heck, I’ve done it myself. It’s time for a change, friends. The time has come.

From now on I will not offer any advice or opinion unless I’m asked.

From now on I will assume that the person posting on social media is sharing a piece of his or her life with me and that is a gift.

From now on I will treat another’s social media profile as if it were their home; I will take my shoes off, say please and thank you and act like the guest my mother raised me to be.

From now on I will offer encouragement in the form of praise and not advice. (I would move this up in the list because it’s a strong point)

From now on I will not type anything that I wouldn’t say to someone in person.

From now on I will treat everyone online with respect, the same amount I’d like to be treated with.

What do you think? Will you join me on my little crusade to go back to treating each other with a little sense of respect? Civility as well? (And for the record I wanted to title this article, “Keep quiet, I didn’t ask for your opinion” but then I thought otherwise.)

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Bert Anderson is a blogger and social media manager mom of three living outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She’s the author behind the blog First Time Mom, where she honestly chronicles the peaks and valleys of parenting. Even though she has more than one child, Bert maintains that whether you have one child or 19, there’s a first time for everything. She’s a lover of coffee, conversations, pop culture, healthy living and fitness.

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