Confrontation offers best solutions to problems

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Junior Mariah Brady looks at her phone while she prepares to send a tweet. She allows people to view her sporadic personality through her Twitter profile. Photo by Maddy Jones

Ann Fitzmaurice

Photo by Maddy Jones
Different people have different ways of confronting problems. With the rise of social media, especially Twitter, passive and indirect methods of solving disputes has become more common. A freshman college student at Penn State went viral on Twitter after hanging up her roommate’s subtweets in their dorm.
“Today I found all the subtweets my roommate has made about me, so I printed them out and hung them up in our dorm,” @jessyjeanie said on Twitter.
The subtweets reached an all new level of petty, with the subtweeting roommate posting things such as “two weeks down and I already hate my roommate!” and “I’m da allergic to my roommate.”
After jessyjeanine’s tweet went viral, the roommates developed a rivalry and both received many criticisms online.  
Social media is an outlet for people to share milestones, feelings and connect with friends. With this digital freedom, however, comes the potential for conflict. When two friends have an argument, the internet can become the outlet for their frustrations, allowing people to confront a person without the unwanted stress that comes with a face to face confrontation with a troubled friend.
Indirects, or passive aggressive behavior, is talking about someone on the internet while knowing full well that they’ll see the comment. It’s saying something negative about someone without the ability or desire to say it to their face.
Psychology Today concludes there are many differing reasons why passive aggressive behavior begins. Expressing anger is socially undesired, whereas secretly slipping in a few indirect words on social media is much more acceptable. For example, if someone is sad and crying, another person’s first reaction may be to comfort and ask if they’re okay. If a person is angry and yelling, however, a first response is usually to tell that person to calm down in a non-sensitive manner.
These underhanded ways need to stop. On Twitter, half the tweets under the ‘subtweet’ search are more subtweets talking about people who subtweet. It’s an endless, vicious cycle. Indirecting online is a bad habit, and the only way to break it is by confronting the conflicts in person. Whether they be with peers, a teacher, or someone who is trying to turn left onto Southampton, you have to let that person know — then and there — that what they did was problematic in your eyes in order to move forward with a clean slate.
Hand in hand with constructive criticism, confrontation builds character and betters a person’s work ethic. Greg Walker of Oregon State University’s department of speech communication said confrontation becomes positive when it comes as assertive and collaborative. Only by listening, understanding and moving forward as a team will confrontation achieve the established goal of whatever change is needed.
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art by Dzung Nguyen
Along with indirectly asking someone for change comes the act of just pushing the conflict aside and waiting for it to solve itself. As the saying goes ignorance is bliss, but in this case, however, ignorance is shoving problems under a rug and hoping they disappear. Prop tip: they won’t. Ignoring the elephant in the room does not keep the problem away; it’s not going to leave with the last of your acknowledgements.
Ignoring the problem enables it to become worse. Just as a dog doesn’t know chewing shoes is bad before a scolding, not confronting a bad situation is subconsciously encouraging it. Also, spreading these posts around allows assumptions. So, confronting these problematic posts and getting them taken down as soon as possible is the only option to prevent negative digital footprints.
Online presence can make or break self esteem and relationships with other people. Indirecting others in times of turmoil solves nothing. It creates tension among parties and takes steps back instead of forward. Passive-aggressive ways of dealing with troubles need to stop. Confrontation isn’t easy, but it is necessary. In the case of the quarreling roommates, a simple conversation would have kept their argument from going viral.