I had a very pleasant surprise the other day. I received an email from someone that I used to be blogger friends with several years ago asking to mend fences. For reasons I won't go into a flame war had developed previously and I ended up on the receiving end of a lot of nasty comments and negative statements which caused some very hurt feelings on my end. There was a group of bloggers that I shall refer to as "The Click" from various parts of the United States that had formed a very close-knit group - to the point where they all got together for a few days on an annual basis to chit-chat and get to know each other better.
I had intended to make the trip and had even sent in my registration fee prior to the flame war taking place. I quickly changed my mind, opted out and got my money back when the little "camp fire" developed into the atom bomb. I decided I didn't need those kinds of people in my life as my life was complicated enough at that point. At that time I broke off communication with all the people in The Click and closed my blog.
Needless to say, the members of this group were and are still around, reading many of the blogs that I read on a regular basis and commenting on many. Some of the comments that were made on people's blogs were of the sarcastic and snide variety. It got to the point where when I saw the names of these bloggers under the comments I wouldn't even read them, quit reading that particular blogger and removed them from my Google Reader. I just didn't want to have ANY connection with these people anymore.
As time went on my feelings healed. But these particular commenters seemed to be covering a wider and wider range of bloggers, having their comments show up on more and more blogs. So I decided to "poke" in on them and see what was happening in their lives now. Was there still chaos in their lives; was venom still being spewed? Yup - history seems to have repeated itself and another flame war has developed causing hurt feelings and breakups of friendships. I don't know the details, nor do I care. But it just seems to me that there are some people who can't live without chaos in their lives. If their life is going smoothly they do something to stir things up because that's their comfort zone. The world could certainly do without these kinds of folks.
Unfortunately, the The Click had influenced me so strongly in the negative that if I opened up a new blog and saw their name/names under the comments I wouldn't even attempt to get acquainted with the new blogger. My thought was, "If you're friends with THEM, then I don't want to be friends with you!" It's my loss that I probably didn't get acquainted with a lot of very nice people because I judged them by the commenters on their page. My bad. But - - -
You see, there's this phrase called Minnesota Nice. In case you don't know what Minnesota Nice means, Wikipedia says Minnesota nice is the stereotypical behavior of long-time Minnesota residents, to be courteous, reserved, and mild mannered. According to Annette Atkins, the cultural characteristics of Minnesota nice include a polite friendliness, an aversion to confrontation, a tendency toward understatement, a disinclination to make a fuss or stand out, emotional restraint, and self-deprecation. It can also refer to traffic behavior, such as slowing down to allow another driver to enter a lane in front of the other person.
When this flame war was going on very negative comments were made about my being naive, that I alluded to innocence, that I hadn't a *&@# clue about anything, and that I was dead weight in the blogging world. I often wondered if the bloggers who made those comments would have had the nerve to say them directly to my face. It's so easy to hide behind an email or a blog.
The interesting thing is that many times what goes around comes around. History seems to be repeating itself, and now, apparently, some of the members of The Click seem to be getting some of their own medicine back. When something like this happens they're very fast to lock up their diary so they can make even more negative comments behind their target's back and allow in only those that they choose. Unfortunately they just don't realize that they will all get theirs in the end. As I said previously, what goes around comes around - sometimes you have to wait a long time, but it eventually happens.
Ole and I can bear witness to this - in one instance where we chose to completely separate from a family member due to her negative behavior towards us, it took from 1986 to 2001 - but she got hers - and we had nothing to do with it. She did it to herself. Another instance with a different family member - it took 12 years. Paybacks are a bitch - and she found that out. All of the members of The Click are going to find this out too. I think some already have.