Should You Use IM to Fight?

I know that confrontation is something that no one looks forward to. However, there comes a time when confrontation is necessary and can’t be avoided. Even then, instead of speaking to the person you have a disagreement with face-to-face, many people resort to other methods — phone, email, or instant messaging.

And when it comes to instant messaging, especially hosted instant messaging, confrontation and fighting over this method of communication isn’t always the best method to use. For one, if you are using a hosted or secure IM client to have your conversations, what you say may be recorded by the program and can be seen by the security administrator of the program.

Even if you aren’t using a hosted IM messenger, confrontation is best handled face-to-face. This way, what you say can’t be misinterpreted because the other person cannot see your face or the hear the tone of your voice. Sarcasm also usually doesn’t carry well over instant messaging conversations, and this may “fuel the fire” and make an argument become bigger than it needs to be.

Face-to-face conversations also tend to be more productive because each person is solely focused on what is being said, instead of trying to multi-task during an IM conversation. Overall, if a confrontation arises, it’s important to handle it as soon as possible so it can be resolved and no more useless energy and anxiety is spent on it.