Wednesday, June 16, 2010

misery loves company

As much as we love sharing happy news with our family, friends and social networks, bad days, bad news and bad service always seem to stir up quite a reaction. Sharing our frustrations not only seems to act as a stress reliever but also encourages others to do the same thing. Who doesn’t love to commiserate with their friends, or even a stranger, about how late the bus is or how rude the cashier was? Negative experiences seem to lead to a positive reaction. It’s something we all have in common. Who hasn’t had a bad day that made you wish you hadn’t gotten out of bed?

A friend of mine recently posted online about her negative experience with a furniture company. What better place to do this than on the World Wide Web, right? Where hundreds of your friends can read your vent, sympathize with you and vow never again to use this terrible company? Wrong. After several “I had the same thing happen to me…!” stories, one cautious friend politely hinted at this article from The New York Times. It details the danger of posting critical comments online - posting your negative opinion about a business could get you sued! I found it to be such an interesting read as I know there are so many of us who wouldn’t think twice about sharing our opinion online with whomever will listen - especially if it’s harsh or judgmental.

So if you’re having a bad day or can’t believe how long it took for your pizza to be delivered last night, maybe sharing it with your neighbour as you commute into work or with your colleague as you ride up the elevator is the safest bet for all of us critical commentators. My guess is that they’ll have had the same thing happen to them last week, last month, last year...and they probably won't sue you for it!

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