Guest column: How to deal with conflict on Facebook

Facebook is a good way to connect with friends and family, but how much should you share with people? Facebook allows you to easily talk to and interact with people you might not see very often. You can post a comment and let people share their views on whatever you’re talking about.

Unfortunately, this ability to interact with people can be a double-edged sword. Because anyone is able to comment on your posts, there could be times when someone’s reply could be offensive or insulting to you.

So what should you do? It would certainly be easy to respond by insulting them back. Nothing could stop you from digging a particularly vicious comment out of your head and letting so-and-so know exactly what you think of them and their opinions. That way is easy and probably a fun way to deal with someone you don’t know.

But what if it’s someone you do know? Now you have the person you know get insulted. They start replying back in equally hurtful ways. As you both go back and forth, other family members and friends take sides, causing the other side to eventually stop talking to you.

Admittedly, this is a pretty extreme example. Usually, it’ll just be the one commenter getting mad at you. In most cases, they’ll just get over it. But there is a chance they will take offense to your comment and hold it against you.

If that person does happen to get upset with you for your comment and posts an angry reply, there are a couple of things you can do in response.

The first thing you could do is fire off insult after insult, but I wouldn’t really recommend it.

The second thing you could do is respond to them in a calm manner. You could let some of that anger go and calmly and carefully explain to that person why you said what you did. If they are still angry, then keep explaining until you agree to disagree.

You can also have more time to think about what you are going to say when you use this method. If the person blindsides you with a question you aren’t prepared for, you will have time to think about an answer if you talk to them online.

This method takes advantage of Facebook’s main strength, which is the fact that you can communicate with people you don’t often see. You don’t have to meet up with the person and apologize in person when you can just use the Internet.

While this method is quick and easy, it could also be problematic at times. When you type a message to someone, they could doubt that you really mean what you’re trying to say. Since you’re not talking to them in person, they can’t tell if you really mean what you say by looking at your face or listening to the tone of your voice.

The third thing you could do is meet the person you know face to face and explain what you meant. This way, you can deal with it privately instead of having a big argument where everyone who happens to be on Facebook can see.

A good thing about doing it this way is that you will probably be more believable than if you talked to them online. It also will show that you care about that person and how they think of you since you took the time to actually talk to them face to face.

A downside to this method is that it does take time, especially if the person who’s upset with you lives far away or has a busy schedule. You have to find a time that’s right for both of you.

Keep in mind, these three methods might not work at all. There is no surefire method to calming people down. But hopefully, we can keep these methods in mind as we use Facebook, and we can use them to defuse any potential problems we might face.