Thursday, July 10, 2014
Facebook is not supposed to be complicated. As a general rule, I don't "unfriend" people. I also don't "friend" people often. Mostly, because I am lazy. I have little motivation to sort my 200-some friends (Edit: I overestimated this number. I come in at a lame 188.) into lists, or to basically rank who gets to see what.We live states away from family, so Facebook has truly been a blessing: people that otherwise would not be able to connect with our children can see photos and hear about our lives. It saves an introvert like me from making dozens of phones calls to update our large family. Another perk? I get to see the children of my friends from childhood and adulthood grow up. I am privy to details I might miss out on because of distance. I have the privilege of seeing my friends raise a generation of kids that I wish could live next door to my own. Facebook has been good in my life.
I have also been a part of some really great conversations about serious matters on Facebook. Of course, there are discussions that get out of hand. Even some of the heated conversations have been some of my favorite, however.
Recently, I had a terrible experience with the "unfriend" Facebook button. For months, the interactions between this person and myself had seemed needlessly heated. With every comment from the individual, I would receive a private message from someone else asking "What's the deal?!" I would vent and ask for prayers privately. Status updates that included topics from raising kids to summer meals to (finally) courtesy parking would erupt in seconds. For a month or so before the finale, I had even been hiding a great deal of my updates from the individual just to preserve the relationship. I like this person. If we lived closer, I'd have a beer with this person. This person is on my Christmas card list. It only took one Saturday morning's observation in a post I forgot to limit. One seemingly harmless conversation in the week that included the Hobby Lobby ruling and all ties are cut.
I don't really want to admit it, but I am a bit hurt underneath all the puzzlement. Months of judgmental comments that I tried to step over, and even a few unsent private messages trying to figure out what the hell happened. In some ways, I suppose it is a relief. In many other ways, it just plain sucks.
Almost everyone I know has had a similar experience on Facebook. It makes family get-togethers awkward. Perhaps it is not being able to hear tone when you are reading a post. Maybe the comfort and anonymity a computer brings makes matters worse. It is possible that some people really are like that in person. It might just be stubborn people being stubborn.
I suppose I am writing this post to get it out of my system. I don't enjoy being attacked and I don't understand how someone can continuously attack and then be upset enough to "unfriend" someone when they are challenged back. I also don't like the taste left in my mouth over this whole experience. I don't know how to resolve something like this. Are my only options to censor my own Facebook page or to get off of Facebook?
How do you handle tense situations that start on Facebook and bleed into real life?