Yes, I Just Kicked 50 People to the Curb
Growing up as an Army Brat, you are used to people coming and going in your life. When you’re on the move every 18 months, there’s always someone new to meet, and old friends to let go of.
Social media changed a lot of that. Now, it seems you never let go. But it doesn’t feel right holding on, either.
I unfriended around 50 people on FaceBook. I didn’t do it because of anything they did, but rather because of what they didn’t do.
I take the word “friend” pretty seriously. If we’re friends, we’re friends for a reason. There’s something we’re both bringing to that friendship, and it’s got to be more than just stalking people from afar. Are we discussing interesting games? Do we share a passion for similar music? Are we supporting similar political causes? Is there a professional connection?
For the longest time, I refused to accept friend requests from anyone at the office with whom I didn’t also have a non-work relationship with. So if we worked together, but were also in the same game group, or the kids played soccer together, or our wives were good friends that we spent social time together, no problem. But if I only ever saw you at the office, or at company-sponsored Mandatory Fun™ then nope.
But now, I’m also unloading people, as well. In the past 24 hours, I’ve unfriended high school classmates and recent co-workers, grad school friends and former military colleagues, fellow soccer parents and former teachers.
I unfriended people across the political spectrum, including a good number of them whose politics I never knew.
I unfriended fans of all sorts of music, sports teams, and restaurants.
I unfriended people I only really knew online, and people I’ve known in person for over 25 years.
The underlying common theme to them all was that there was just no interaction.
I would see things they’d post. I’d ‘like’ stuff, make a comment, post a GIF, whatever. Acknowledge that they did something. Participate. Engage.
But when 4 years go by and I don’t ever get anything from you except the obligatory “happy birthday” (which you only know because FaceBook tells you) then are we really friends in any way that would defined as “friends” beyond the way FaceBook defines friends? Is there anything we’re actually sharing other than just passively watching still shots of someone else’s life roll by? When I’m subjected to a constant stream of what you think is important, but you’ve got no time the rest of us? Or worse, you’ve got time for certain members of the ‘rest of us’ but not all of us?
If you really miss wanting to interact with me, you’d’ve been interacting all along. And if you never really notice that you were bumped off the list, that probably just reiterates my entire point in this exercise.
Sometimes, you just need to let go, and not ‘collect’ friends like they were comic books, or postage stamps.
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