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How an (almost) argument landed me a new friend

Kenny John Jacob 📘
I am a full stack developer with 5 years of experience. I am currently learning Android with Kotlin and how to improve developer happiness and productivity.
・2 min read

Misunderstandings between people can happen anywhere but it is more prevalent during online interactions than in real life interactions. The primary reason for this is the lack of non-verbal cues that we naturally pick up when interacting with someone in real life. I am writing about an incident that happened today, and hope that others can be inspired by it and have more positive interactions online.

I was going through an article on Indie Hackers and came across a very valid point that was added on by someone in the comments. It resonated with me and I replied to them with the intention of agreeing with him. The comment author mistakenly understood my intent and they got angry because they felt I was insulting them.

The person then went through my almost empty profile and commented on the one other post on Indie Hackers that I had written, and said I was a bad person spreading negativity. He also replied to my original comment in a negative way. I was very sad to say the least, and also felt so bad that someone felt that way about me.

To clarify, (and I am not bragging) I am someone who loves people and I try to add value to people wherever I am and whatever I do. So these negative responses from that person made me feel super bad.

I took a look at their profile, and realized that it was not a troll account, and that it was just a misunderstanding and I responded with a reply saying that I was sorry for the misunderstanding. I also mentioned that it felt hurtful to me because I was not intending to hurt him or provoke a negative reaction in the first place. Then the person understood the situation.

He apologized in the comments and deleted/reworded his original comments. I also accepted that my reply was ambiguous and could have been interpreted the way he did. I told that I would edit my reply to make it more clear, and he said he would be more careful too.

I put the incident behind me and wanted to be friends with them. We followed each other and I am happy to have made one more internet friend today 💙

Text as a medium is difficult because you don't have the context of body language as we normally would.

So be careful when writing online to ensure that the correct intent and meaning is coming through. Also, don't lose your cool online 🙂 you might just make a new friend like I did. And be nice to people.

Discussion (4)

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hanpari profile image
Pavel Morava

I put the incident behind me and wanted to be friends with them.
He apologized in the comments...

Is it them or him? I found how you address the other side confusing a bit.

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johnjacobkenny profile image
Kenny John Jacob 📘 Author

Just wanted to be gender neutral 😅 I think they/them is used when we are not sure about their preference, correct me if I'm wrong

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hanpari profile image
Pavel Morava • Edited

Interesting challenge, indeed.

Still, since you sometimes address the person as he or him, your text suffer from greater sin than the gender neutrality is. Inconsistency obscuring clarity is worse that these petty issues in my opinion.

Anyway, I am using they or them if speaking of unspecified group of people. In this particular case, the only solution is to replace he or him with the person and avoid pronouns completely.

Or perhaps, to be on the safe side, you may identify the person as "a creature I believe it can be a human". Because you know, you never can exclude an artificial intelligence or aliens from your calculation.

Just imagine the horror that you offend some extraterrestrial or divine entity who decides, unable to bear the insult, to exterminate the whole human race.

Interesting challenge, indeed!

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johnjacobkenny profile image
Kenny John Jacob 📘 Author

Yes you are right, I have not spent enough time in proofreading to ensure consistency. I will take your suggestion and avoid making this ambiguous. 😊