So, You Find Cat Videos Annoying? by Christina Knowles

knowyouwantmeme Facebook is getting tedious, more so by the day. Constant misinformation, misattributed quotes, and fallacies run rampant on political memes. Facebook posts have reduced my estimation of the collective intelligence of our population, but worse, it’s reduced my belief in the basic goodness of humanity. Not only are these tedious to see, but it’s a full-time job posting Snopes and Politifact links to these comments, but I try to be a good citizen. But don’t get me started on trying debate an issue on social media. It’s a lost cause that sucks you in and won’t let you go for about twenty-four comments, two unfriendings, and a blocked participant later. I’m not against all political posting. I love when people post actual news articles, thoughtful opinions or news that raises awareness, and links to insightful editorials. I like to have a calm exchange of ideology, as long as we adhere to facts for evidence and not tabloid headlines, but how often does that happen?

Then, of course, we have the “god blessed” me posts, crediting God with everything from parking spaces to the random luck of the wind failing to blow down a fence. (Wow! Aren’t you special! I guess your neighbors aren’t cozy with the big guy, huh?).

The next most annoying thing about Facebook is over-sharing, where people admit way too much, like how they were fired for stealing office supplies, to having gotten so drunk, they woke up with a total stranger. Really? This is information that only your best friend should have. Don’t force me to judge you, please. It’s not who I want to be. (Caveat: Sincere opening up and sharing who you are with the intention of self-expression and engaging in a relationship with your friends is not offensive, but someone never taught these people about the circle of trust.)

Then, there is the under-sharing, the ones who post some vague melancholy comment, and when someone asks what’s wrong, they say, “I’ll text/PM you.” If it was so private, why publicly build everyone’s curiosity by posting anything at all?

But, honestly, the most annoying posts on Facebook to me are the ones that try to manipulate me. I don’t surf social media to be guilted or forced to re-post or comment to feed your fragile ego. First, we have the chain letter post. The one where you are commanded not to simply share it; you must COPY and PASTE it into your feed, especially if you do not want to have your hair and fingernails fall out by morning. If you do repost in the proper manner, you will enjoy a landslide of money, blessings from Jesus, and all forms of good luck. If you don’t, well, you obviously don’t love your mother.

The other form of Machiavellian Facebook posting is compliment-fishing by pretending to hate yourself. I mean how can you really keep scrolling past a photo with the caption, “I look so (Insert word of choice: terrible, ugly, fat, old) in this picture.” I feel like I’m being forced to say, “No, you don’t. You’re beautiful.” Even if I mean it (which I often do—some of the prettiest people do this), I don’t like being manipulated into feeding your ego. But I have to on the unlikely chance you really mean it and are so depressed you are about to off yourself. I mean, someone would have to be a little depressed if they actually do mean it and want to draw these inadequacies to the attention of the world, right? Truthfully, whenever I see these posts, I can’t imagine why they think this of themselves or why they’d want to announce that they think it (again, over-sharing). Anyway, I feel manipulated because I don’t want to be responsible for someone’s low self-esteem resulting from my lack of compliment-commenting. It really is exhausting.

So, remind me, please, why were we complaining about pictures of dinner, glam selfies, recipes, and cat videos? –Christina Knowles


The Ten-Second Sage by Christina Knowles

Quotation-Kalista-Miller-life-live-Meetville-Quotes-181803Lately I’ve been reading a lot of life advice on Facebook, and a huge majority of it centers on living for yourself, doing what you want, letting people go who don’t improve your life, forgiving others in order to move on with your own life, and not letting others determine how you live your life. It seems selfishness is the new black. Of course, all of this can be good advice under certain circumstances, but it struck me that taking this literally as a mantra by which to live your life is a good way to be alone for the rest of your life.

There is nothing wrong with being alone if that’s what you choose, and if you really feel like you can’t compromise in the details of your life, then it’s probably a good choice. But if you happen to fall in love, you may need to rethink the whole “living for yourself” thing.

I am a very independent woman, who does not like to be told what to do. I consider myself a feminist. When I divorced my first husband, I reveled in the freedom to do whatever I wanted, make choices without considering what anyone else thought, and being able to completely change my life if I wanted without worrying about how it affected someone else. I was happy, and I vowed never to tie myself down with anyone again. And that is a valid choice. It didn’t make me selfish or shallow. However, “living for yourself” while in a relationship is selfish and shallow and is guaranteed to end in disaster.

Even before I met my current husband, I realized that the secret to a good relationship with anyone is unselfishness. When I fell in love with him, I decided I would always consider his needs above my own because I love him. Of course, if he did not respond to me in the same way, we would have had problems, and eventually, I may have felt differently about him because of it. But he does put me before himself. I believe that when someone you love puts you first, it’s a natural reaction to reciprocate in kind, and when this happens, both people’s needs are met and both people feel loved and valued. In contrast, acting out of self-serving motives and without considering the needs and desires of your mate leads to arguments, resentment, and eventually a break-up. When someone who is supposed to love you, cares more about himself, you feel unloved and unimportant, and then the tendency is to react by protecting yourself, becoming selfish in response. When you protect yourself from someone you love, you lose intimacy, and eventually love.Take-Care

Sometimes it is necessary to act selfishly. Sometimes it is survival. As I said above, under certain circumstances, taking care of yourself first is good advice, but it is never good advice for making a relationship work. Sometimes you need to leave people behind, let them go, but adopting a permanent attitude of self-protection and complete independence means choosing to be alone or in constant conflict.

forgivenessAs far as forgiving others so that you can move on, I think this is terrible advice. If you merely forgive others for your own sake, you probably haven’t really forgiven them at all. You’ve just moved on, and put whatever they’ve done to you out of your head. Forgiveness should always be a gift to someone out of love. You love who hurt you more than you dislike what they’ve done, and you love them enough to give them a clean slate. You love them enough to be vulnerable to the possibly of them hurting you again in the same way. You don’t hold it against them, expect them to repeat the mistake, or ever bring it up again. If you can’t risk it, don’t forgive them, but let them go and forget about it. You don’t need to forgive them for you; they need it if they want to stay in a relationship with you.

When I fell in love with my husband, I knew I had a choice to make. I knew I had to give up making all the decisions myself; I had to give up the freedom to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I decided that what I was gaining was better than anything I was giving up, and I’ve been lucky because being unselfish is easy with him. He treats me with such concern, such unselfish love, that I automatically care more about his needs and desires than my own. Sure there are times when I want my way, and it’s not the same as his, but all we have to do is realize how important something is to the other, and then it’s easy to compromise. That is love, and love is unselfish.

So I don’t think I’ll be utilizing any ten-second psychology from Facebook any time soon. These sage-sounding aphorisms make good memes, but not good relationships. There is enough selfishness in the world; I don’t want it in my relationship with my husband or anyone else I care about.—Christina Knowles

You Know Who You Are by Christina Knowles

grumpy catPeople often mention their pet peeves. I really didn’t think I had very many until I started to think about it. I mean, I’m pretty easy to get along with, and I don’t usually get upset about little things. I do have a touch of OCD about a few things, and I’m kind of particular about how I like things done, but I don’t believe I really put that burden on the people around me–at least I try not to. I don’t expect the same things that bother me to bother other people. With that said, there are some things I consider to be more than slight irritants, and I apologize in advance if I sound rude or snippy, but once I started listing them, I started to feel a little annoyed. But what did you expect? Pet peeves do that to people. Here they are:

1. Napkins stuffed inside glasses: I’ve known a lot of people who do this. I find it utterly repulsive, mainly because I can’t help imagining the person who has to pull it out.

2. Leaving used tissues anywhere but the trash: Even my own used tissues disgust me. It makes me want to sterilize whatever surface they’ve touched.

3. Students who stick their gum under their desks or stuff trash into my cabinets: Seriously? There is a trashcan less than 15 feet from any desk in the room. Do teenagers shove their trash in their cupboards at home? Or is this some type of protest behavior, and I’m missing the point?

4. Vandalism other than protest graffiti: If you aren’t Banksy, you have no reason to deface any property that is not your own. Vandalism is truly the most senseless crime, and you probably aren’t as talented as Banksy anyway.

5. Giant flagpoles in the middle of the front yards of residential homes: Your house is not the White House, and you are not the president. Buy a regular size flag and mount it on your porch like a normal person.

6. Closet and cupboard doors left open: This is definitely an OCD thing, but come on, how hard is it to shut the cupboard after you take out the cereal? Someone could bump their head, or be driven insane until they are forced to get up in the middle of dinner to shut it, and then have to explain that they have OCD.

7. People not flushing toilets: You aren’t saving the planet because someone will have to flush it before they use it anyway, so it is still getting flushed the same amount of times. Stay until you see it go down. Repeat if necessary. Thanks.

8. People who have road rage: You are either way too stressed out before you ever get into the car, or you are leaving way too late for a job that you fear you are about to lose. Set your alarm for half an hour earlier, put on some classical music, and get a more laid-back job.

9. People whose only posts on Facebook are cryptic remarks that don’t say what they really mean, or who post suicidal song lyrics without saying they are quoting song lyrics. Want attention much? If you don’t want me knocking on your door in the middle of the night to see if I need to call an ambulance, please use quotation marks and credit the author. Even then, you may want to mention that you are not thinking of taking your life. I don’t need that kind of stress.

10. Speaking of Facebook, people who post ridiculous stories or claims from satirical sites because they think they are actually real, then get upset at you for posting a Snopes link on their wall. And while I’m on the subject, people who post false and mean-spirited memes that dehumanize or demoralize a person just because they disagree with his politics. Attack the issue, not the person, and by the way, the more preposterous the libel, the crazier they seem.

11. People who expound on issues as some kind of intellectual authority, but do so in run-on sentences, littered with homophones, and with no commas, way too many commas, or no punctuation whatsoever. If you cannot write using accepted conventions of your native tongue, I’m not likely to consider you an expert on anything intellectual. Disclaimer: I don’t judge every post this harshly. Sometimes a person is quickly posting something funny or replying briefly in a casual conversation, but if you are attempting to persuade someone of something with your wealth of knowledge, please demonstrate a wealth of knowledge.

It sounds much worse than it is. I rarely am bothered by any of these, which is why it took me some time to think of them. What it did for me, though, was make me realize that sitting around thinking of what annoys me. annoys me. It is not really a good idea . . . unless it causes a certain someone to stop leaving the cupboard doors open. You know who you are. –Christina Knowles

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