There has been a lot of hoohah lately about friendship, about trust, and about fear. I won't get into the details-- it's not my place, and I am only semi-informed about the specifics. In other words, I know just enough to speculate and cause more hoohah. There'll be none of that here.
I just thought this might be a nice time to share a few common-sense suggestions you might wish to consider in times of discord, in order to help keep this loverly sandbox we call lj a happier place. This is by no means a complete list, just a few things that came to mind-- things I tell myself when situations get out of hand. Some may be applicable, some might not be. Take what you need, share the rest.
- Don't react to hate with hate. This means not feeding flames with more flames.
- Don't react to fear with fear. This means not reacting suddenly and expansively to what can best be described as a lack of information.
- Be rational. When faced with a dangerous situation, even a text-based one, our fight-or-flight mechanism kicks in and our blood chemistry changes. While this is handy for outrunning a bear, it doesn't exactly facilitate rational thought (there are certain exceptions to this rule, such as the emergency room nurse who has been trained to use that reaction in a rational manner, but I can think of no parallel in this situation). Take a moment to allow that feeling to pass before making any sudden moves.
- Prepare for the worst, but assume the best. The first part means being careful about what you put in your journal. There are innocent ways (and glitches) by which information can be misdirected. The second part means considering others innocent 'til proven guilty.
- Get your information from the closest possible source, rationally and without pre-judgement. You may be surprised at what you find. If you're getting your knowledge from a secondary source, be ever-aware of that fact.
- Know your source. Is the person directly involved? Is the person honest? How would you know? Do you trust this person? Why? How might you measure this person's integrity? And just how much of the story does this person really know?
- Don't allow petty likes and dislikes to get in the way of the truth. Just because you like person A and hate person B doesn't mean that person A is right.
- Don't confuse belief with knowledge. Thinking something, even believing something deeply, does not make it so. Don't jump to conclusions.
- Recognize that perceived truth is not necessarily the same thing as real truth. Just because someone is being honest and telling the truth as (s)he knows it doesn't mean that it's actually true beyond the realm of his or her belief. If someone tells you something, assume that they're telling the truth as they know it but don't accept it as law-- even if you trust that person. It's not a question of trust.
- Don't assume. Surely, you must know why by now.
- Realize that your knowledge of the situation is incomplete. No matter how deeply involved you are, you only know part of the story.
- Don't present fiction or belief as fact. If you're speculating, guessing, or otherwise don't know, don't pretend that you do. Make your lack of knowledge clear. Don't worry about looking stupid-- you'll look a lot stupider if you jump to a conclusion and are wrong.
- If you're implicated, know that the truth will prevail. If this is a good thing from your point of view, cope as best you can. It sucks, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone... but if you didn't do anything wrong and manage to hold your head high, your friends will figure it out. However, If the truth prevailing is a bad thing from your point of view...
- Do the right thing. Feel a twinge of guilt at sharing information that's not yours to share, or otherwise impinging on another's rights or betraying a trust? That twinge is called your conscience. Get to know it. It's there to help you.
- If you screw up, fess up. Everybody makes mistakes. It's part of what makes us capable of learning.
- If you're not directly involved, take a deep breath and step away. The only instance in which this action of stepping away is contraindicated is if you're directly involved or have pertinent information, and stepping away makes resolution of the matter impossible or much more difficult.
- Please don't delete your journal. Yes, these are trying times, and yes, deleting your journal makes it absolutely clear that you are upset about the situation. However, it only adds to the upsettingness (it's a word, I said so) of the people you still call friends. This does little to help the overall situation. Besides, there are things yet to be learned here.
- Hold tight. This, too, shall pass.
Thank you for your kind indulgence.
Much love, and hugs to those who need 'em. (I think there are enough of you out there who fit that category to keep me busy enough.)