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In Focus: Antisocial attitudes of others can breed bitter outlook

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Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, 12:33 p.m.

I recently learned an important lesson in one of the most unexpected places.

When I peruse articles and blog posts on websites, I try hard not to read the comments from readers that follow.

No matter the topic, there always is some reader who responds with something that is so rude, off-topic, illogical or nonsensical that just gets under my skin. I have to make a conscious effort not to “feed the trolls.”

But sometimes I just can't help myself.

Last week, after I was finished reading some random article, I found my eyes wandering down the page to the comments section. In it was a discussion between one reader and another who apparently frequents the website and posts nothing but negative things about its content.

In one part of the conversation, reader “A” told reader “B” that he or she needed to stop the unnecessary anger over petty things, and that they better watch themselves or else they'd end up bitter and alone.

Those words really made me check myself.

I'm the kind of person who finds it hard to simply ignore the small injustices of the world.

If you say something unnecessarily cruel to someone, I want to tell you about it. If you're on your cellphone at the grocery store while a clerk is trying to ring you out, I want to tell you about it.

But I'm finding that being angry about all of the insensitive and selfish people out there is counterproductive and that it's turning me into a bitter person. I don't want to be that way.

I keep trying to remind myself of something one of my friends said. She always seems so happy, so I guess it has worked for her.

She said that you can't control the things that other people do, just how you respond to it.

Kristina Serafini is a reporter and photographer for The Sewickley Herald. Reach her at

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