When we were little , my sister had a younger next-door-neighbor friend who would come over almost every day. If for some reason things weren’t going this friend’s way (say for example, she was losing a game of Monopoly), she would start to have a tantrum, shed tears, cry out “I’m leaving and I’m never coming back” and stomp out the door. On her way out she projected forlorn glances, her body-language demanding that we plead for her to stay.

Our programmed response to this was to dispassionately (except for maybe a chuckle or two) watch her leave and then resume whatever it was we were doing. We knew she’d be back the same day or the next day. Often she was back within a matter of minutes.

No grudges were held. We’d tease her a little bit, but that was it. She was still a neighborhood buddy and her status as such had never changed. The door was left unlocked and open for her and she knew as well as we did that she could walk right back in at any time. This was a predictable pattern. No big deal. We just grinned a little bit when it happened and went on with our lives.

What is the point of sharing this story? Sometimes in the bloggernacle, a long-time well-known established participant/friend will become _____ (weary, angry, discouraged, embarrassed … fill in the blank) and walk out the door, announcing more or less publicly to the rest of us that he or she will never return. It’s the blogging equivalent of “nobody loves me, everybody hates me, think I’ll go and eat worms.”

Yes, the feelings being expressed are real and intense. I’ve felt them myself to some extent. But the indignities or wounds suffered are usually superficial and transitory. Generally, people seem to recover from them. They may modify or adjust their participation in the bloggernacle to some extent, but they usually still want to be involved.

So, if you see this happening to someone, it’s best not to give it too much attention. Unless something really unusual has happened, there is nothing to worry about, no need to respond. Just leave the front door unlocked and open while allowing him or her to take a break or somehow vent the negative energy. Ninety-nine percent of the time, one way or another, he or she will be back.