When we are faced with an ever increasing amount of difficult situations there is something that often goes unnoticed. Something that should be oh so obvious yet it sails away in the distance never to be thought about again. This is known as the Iceberg effect.
As a society there is this strict and unconventional bias to take situations at face value. It could be as simple as your friend telling you they’re having a bad day, as complex as watching someone go through a mental health crisis or anything in between. While society tries to fix the issue at hand through mild questioning or social skimming there is a lot to be desired.
If simple and complex issues are actually going to be solved in any meaningful way this social skimming needs to be put back several notches. While it can be a valuable tool in some situations it should definitely not be the gold standard. When issues are dealt with at face value the current situation may be resolved but it’s a band aid fix at best. For every situation there are deep issues at play and we need to be aware of them.
Personally, I always try to dig deeper when I’m told about situations. This has come with its own unique set of issues but as I’ve realized more and more I am part of the minority. I find this somewhat akin to putting out small fires in a house but refusing to acknowledge or not noticing the faulty wiring that is creating them. While this does solve the immediate issue of not having fires it’s only temporary and eventually one will be missed destroying the house in its entirety.
I came across a situation recently on a social media application that drove this point to its core. It is essentially a message board where posts are made anonymously and broadcast to anyone else on the application within 10km. While I find it hilarious I have also found a darker side such as with the following example.
“Lol found my girlfriend on pof [dating site] in the will respond section, glad I don’t trust shit”
When I saw this I simply could not resist asking the blaring and obvious question of.
“Why were you on there looking for women?”
To which his response was typical in that it was both evasive and defensive
“Can’t you read?! I don’t trust anyone.”
Seeing as how his response didn’t exactly clarify anything I decided to push it a bit further
“If you don’t trust anyone than you have missed what relationships are all about”
At this point other people started chiming in and I decided to give it a rest. Maybe he would calm down and listen to reason? After all he did just find a relationship ending piece of information and most people aren’t thinking rationally at that point. It’s all finger pointing at the other party while admitting no fault what so ever. Ugly stuff and as I’ve eluded to before there’s no point in giving advice when people aren’t processing information due to high emotions
After about 20 minutes the conversation had shifted from; “That sucks” and “You’ll find someone better” to something even more counter-productive.
“Never trust any girl 100%. They will use you in the end, its human nature”
At this point I felt the need to pull out my trump card. If I was going to get anywhere with this guy this was going to be the time.
“A lack of trust in other people speaks volumes about inner insecurities”
After inserting that there was this eerie calm that fell over the discussion for ten straight minutes. The up votes to the comment kept rising before someone new finally chimed in.
“Paw knows” [A yellow paw was my randomly generated icon for that particular conversation, distinguishes anonymous posters between one another]
While encouraging they weren’t my target audience but it was only a couple minutes later before I saw the fruits of my labour.
“Paw you finally made me cry and I’ve been asking for advice all day long!”
This wasn’t the reaction I was expecting but it accomplished what I had hoped for. I uncovered his iceberg and hit at the very core of the issue. While it was not something he wanted to hear and it won’t help him with his current break up it may just be the driver for change in the future.
This point was further cemented after the chauvinists tried to regain ground in a fury of demeaning and degrading posts to which the original poster simply shrugged them off saying it was time for “soul searching and me time”
While this is only one example there are countless more in your day to day lives that you’ll encounter. If you choose to take something away from this post let it be this;
We are all Icebergs floating around in society and more often than not all it takes is a little push to find out what’s really going on underneath the surface. We learn about what makes people tick but most of all we have insight to what our surface actions say about our own Icebergs. We are built to be interconnected as a species and that one or two extra questions can make the difference between inner growth and social hindrance.
Until next time,