Have you ever read a posted comment or received an email from someone who insists on using all capital letters in their response? They spew out their apparent anger and frustration in long, run-on sentences with paragraph upon paragraph of entirely UPPER CASE type face.

ALL CAPS is often used to denote yelling or high volume speech. The larger, bolder and more menacing upper case letters read a bit like having a crazy woman screaming at you on the street. It's quite unnerving.

Do they really think it actually serves as a functional form of effective communication? It doesn't. In fact, it says far more about them as person than the subject at hand.

Intense and highly emotional individuals are prone to dramatic forms of expression. In their defense, I don't mean to imply that their anger is unequivocally unjustified or their message meaningless...quite the contrary. Their points may be valid, but it can be drowned out in all the literal shouting going on.

Each person casts a reflection of their life experiences upon those they meet through the forms and style of interpersonal communication in which they engage. It may not be realized, but the impressions left upon you from your past echo forward at varying levels depending on how much and how well they've been processed and integrated by your pysche.

For example, if you were yelled at as a child, that's how you learned to communicate,with force and anger. I can imagine that the complexities of the psychological impact from an unpleasant childhood can take a lifetime from which to recover. Add to that years of other forms of potentially dysfunctional relationships with colleagues, coworkers, siblings, friends and lovers and no wonder so many of us can become unbalanced.

Angry forms of communication often beget reactionary defensive behavior. A cycle of ever destructive actions can be started through this type of dialogging. It's not a fun roller coaster to ride.... I should know. I've been guilty of falling into that trap in the past. I prefer a more civil discourse utilizing logic and reason. However, this takes practice... and control.

It's not easy to engage your emotions, especially anger. Some people are more sensitive in nature than others and thus, susceptible to being set off easily. Utilizing patience, understanding and compassion you can deal with situations of ill feeling. Listening to another's point of view and emotional content takes skill to truly hear what they are saying. You can right the ship and sail on to calm waters.

I'm as capable as the next guy at getting angry and yelling to make a point. Usually, that's because of frustration of not being "heard" or more apporpriately, understood. However, I've also had angry feelings surface and been able to express them freely. That's because I've been fortunate to have had the other party listen with the full intent of understanding the underlying issues instead of hearing only the louder volume.

These are things that occupy my mind as I reflect upon my own experiences in life. Some lessons are learned the hard way. Others are gained through intellectual knowledge, but until dealt with in a real life situation can still pose the potential for disaster. My hope is that calmer hearts and minds prevail.


just kidding

Much Love,

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  • 10/8/08, 1:26 PM  

    I just tried to educate a friend of mine about all caps and netiquette; a complete disaster. I've only hurt their feelings and pissed them off, plus made myself look like an elitist all in one blow.

    Trying to practice compassion and patience with them, and enhancing their future communication was my only goal. I didn't stop to think about their underlying emotional intelligence or experience, which definitely shows through the all caps typing..... *Sigh