Mr pricklepants is a toy hedgehog in Toy Story 3. Prickle pants is my title today as ’emotionally prickled’ is how I currently feel.

I feel like some kind of a social cactus…like I’ve encountered a lot of conversational prickliness today which has made me feel sore.

Today has been socially difficult…some days are aren’t they…because sometimes you have to have difficult conversations. That isn’t to say that prickliness is anyone’s fault. I lay blame at nobody’s door. As humans, we will inadvertently prickle each other, despite out best intentions. The conversational prickles are not usually intended. Certainly no one has intended to upset me today. I know that. But still being a sensitive soul, I’ve felt prickled.

Today I’ve felt like I am walking on a fine balance beam, in a noisy overwhelming social- gymnastics hall.

I have tried to stay upright…I have tried to behave well….I have tried to communicate clearly…I have tried to write on social media and on FB Messenger with positive intent. But that isn’t always enough to avoid that horrible sense of mutual emotional prickliness that feels crap when it happens.

I wonder sometimes how things would be without computers, without such wide social contact with people you haven’t ever physically met.

Online friendship is a large part of my daily social activity. I spend far more time online than I do with my ‘in-the-same-room’ pals.

But the trouble is, we judge and navigate our way through the world socially, with people we have often never physically met. Sometimes we may not have heard their voice or how their body moves through space or what they look like in 3 dimension rather than flat images. We cannot get the same accurate sense of a person if we only message each other, compared to meeting up face to face and feeling that person’s energy and seeing their face move.

No-one taught us how to socially assess people online…Is there even a method?

When we meet someone face to face we have all the non-verbals to digest. Unless you have an autistic spectrum disorder, we usually possess an inbuilt ability to sense things about people in a very short-cut intuitive instinctive way.

What happens with forming social judgements of someone we have only ever messaged? No non-verbals are available. In the absence of non-verbal communication, we are forced to judge by punctuation, by sentencing structure, by vocabulary, by emoji useage, by what parts of a sentence are emphasised in the text…and unless we are extremely skilled in our ability to write sometimes inevitably we will make mistakes, or we will not express ourselves well, or someone will interpret something differently to how we expect.

Maintaining a mutual understanding of how the written interaction is going down, from both our point of view and the other person’s point of view is a tricky thing to achieve! It is akin to pushing gravy up a mountain-pretty damn exhausting and sometimes futile.

Mistakes happen. Prickles happen. We are human.

We are not all the same. But we ride in our social media bumper cars, socially bumping into each other left right and centre, but all by COMMENTS, EMAIL, MESSAGES- it is all the written word! No non-verbals!

This is a photo of my laptop. 

This laptop has the power within it’s keys to make other people feel very happy or very very shit. All you have to do is press the keys in particular order, and bingo…your words have the power to affect people in a variety of ways.

You’ve heard of keyboard warriors, right? People with internet balls who say very direct and offensive things which they wouldn’t have the guts to say to someone’s face…well what about the keyboard peacemakers? Those that aim to be considerate in their interactions, but still encounter occasional pricklepants prickliness, or even advertently become the source of prickliness themselves by not thinking about punctuation, sentencing, precise wording and emoju use. The social prickle perpetrator (!)

I try and stay away from prickliness, but on social media, prickliness finds you.

There is always someone in their bumper car wanting to bump into your bumper car.

It makes me want to hide. It makes me wonder why I bother spending time online chatting to people I have never met and may never meet. But I don’t want to allow these pricklepants experiences turn me off and take my focus off all the good bits about online friendships.

There is much good…I just wish I could interact socially online without the social media prickliness that sometimes ensues. I don’t wish anybody ill. I don’t wish to upset anyone. I just wish for people to not upset me. I need some kind of online protection…some kind of forcefield to protect me…a magic cloak or something…something that the prickles can’t prickle through…that would be lush.

I would like that LOTS.

QUESTIONS….How do you deal with social media communication? Do you think face-to-face is better? How do you handle pricklepants prickliness when it happens to you online with mates you haven’t met yet? I would appreciate your insight thanks people :)

summerSHINES Â©





7 thoughts on “PRICKLE PANTS

  1. Buffy Devane says:

    I can’t really offer much here as I really enjoy online communications, but then I don’t think I’ve experienced any obvious prickliness… I’ve had a tiny bit of deliberate silence, which is virtually impossible to deal with (!)
    Part of me would like to experience that prickliness — but a bigger part is content not to. Eep.

    As a rule I prefer a face-to-face (or voice-to-voice) knowledge of someone, though I’d been told that “I write as I talk” — which may or may not be true!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mrdaffyduck says:

    I can honestly say that I have met a few people from different groups i’m on after only knowing them on line.
    Each time my instincts have been right and I generally find people are how I find them to be on line.
    Without social media I would have missed out on knowing some really nice people, including you, so I have to say yaay for social media.
    I’d love someone like you and others I know to be a walk away, but you’re not so we make the best of it. Sometimes it bites you on the bum (ouch) but then so do people you know to meet.
    Sometimes people aren’t what they seem – but aren’t people you meet sometimes too?
    Must stress – no one has ever actually bitten my bum, but just that people let you down however you know them at times.
    We’d all prefer face to face but i actually think its nice to really get to know someone before you meet them. A lot of the awkwardness is out of the way and i already have an opinion of them. How do i deal with on line prickliness? I sulk a bit, sometimes a lot. I then reach out and try and resolve the issue just like i would someone i knew face to face. Most times it works.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. thedailyannagram says:

    Because my online shizzle has a daft bent, I have so far avoided online prickles. Except for one guy who said I shouldn’t have had kids and a woman (who I went to school with!) who said I was obviously very unhappy… ARSEHOLE!

    I think people aren’t that different online or in the flesh. Prickly here, prickly there. But I do know I’m more honest online, or at least in a different way than I am in person, and I am so grateful for that channel.

    You are doing wonderous things. Prickles will always hurt. Better they come from people you don’t have to wake up next to or work alongside? I think so.

    Ps I been offline for much of last 2 weeks and miss it so much. But also sometimes does you good. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. summerSHINES says:

    That’s a good point actually that maybe it is better to experience prickliness with people who are not our nearest and dearest in terms of life at home…that’s a good point to balance things out 😊👍 I am spending too much time online…it’s become slightly addictive I think. I need to retreat to my bed shed more to ground myself.. (my bed shed is a real thing….my shed has a bed in it 😂) I didn’t see you on telly 😣 as I didn’t record the programme and couldn’t find a clip online 😔 Gutted!!!


  5. BelleUnruh says:

    I have had people be quite mean to me, but that is usually in newspaper comments about politics. Lol It doesn’t bother me. Blogging here, I haven’t had anyone say anything mean. One time an atheist commented who hates Christianity, but I can understand his viewpoint, so it didn’t bother me. He has a right to his opinion.

    I have been misunderstood a few times. I guess I didn’t make myself clear. I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings. One time, I was very blunt (mean?) with an anorexic follower because she was refusing to eat OR drink on a weekend. I said I was sorry she wanted to die. She said she didn’t and it went on from there and she left me. I thought I needed to shock her into drinking at least. I hope she is alright.

    I don’t know why, but I find angry comments from people online to be funny. What they say just makes me laugh. I think they take life waaay too seriously. One thing I think I’ve learned is not to try to change anyone’s mind on any subject – I just write about what I myself do. I used to argue about there being a literal “Hell” with Christians, but they all got very angry with me. Lol I don’t believe God tortures people forever and ever. They get pretty mad if you challenge that. I’ve given up on debating politics too. It is a waste of time.

    I hope you don’t give up blogging because of some sour pusses. Just block them and ignore what they said. They don’t know the real you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rayne says:

    I prefer face to face. It’s intimate and real. You can’t ever really know if someone is being real in the online world. I even prefer to give my friends a phone call now and again, because texting back and forth just isn’t the same. Texting is way overrated. But sometimes we don’t have a choice because friends or family live too far away, some even in another country, so we have to make due. I only have people who make an effort with me, friends and family, to keep in contact on my FB profile. It’s not about the quantity, it’s about quality. Like with you for instance, when I ever come to your side of the world, I’d make an effort to meet up face to face. That’s real connection. :)

    Liked by 1 person

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