I have written before about the difficulties of navigating friendships during your 20’s, as well as the difficulties of having friends at different places in life. And while my blog may paint a different picture, as I’ve written before about the loss of friendships, the truth is that I’m fortunate to have many different friends in my life: former co-workers, childhood friends, college friends, blogging friends, faraway friends. While I don’t have one “best friend” or one “exclusive group” of friends, I feel so blessed by the myriad of people who are in my life. I’m a lucky girl.
And, as we all know, friendships grow and change and evolve as circumstances change, and over the weekend, I saw the manifestation of that.
A bit of back story: my first year of teaching, H and I worked together. We were fast friends, and spent a lot of time with other people we taught with. As friendships grew, I became acutely aware that I was not really “part of the group” and was invited to events occasionally, while the rest of the group spent more time with one another. Sure, this could be hurtful, as plans were often discussed right under my nose and I heard regularly about things that occurred over the weekends, but because I was dating Andrew, live a considerable distance from school, and had other friendships I was really busy with, I let it go. H and I still stayed fairly close, and would get together with mutual friends we shared. I was asked to help plan her work baby shower, and attended the one held outside of work. When she left to go on maternity leave and didn’t return to work, we still talked occasionally and even had lunch this past summer.
The Almighty Facebook let me know that the group of people I once considered friends were continuing to hang out without me, and while I missed them and made that known, the truth is that I didn’t particularly care. I am well-aware of the fact that friendships grow, change and manifest differently at times, and that is natural, and positive. But, over the weekend, I went to post something on H’s Facebook wall, and realized I’d received the ultimate social media insult: I had been unfriended.
I sent H a quick message, inquiring as to whether or not I’d inadvertently offended her, and if there’d been a conflict I wasn’t aware of. I got a prompt response that no, there was no “conflict” but that “our friendship had been going downhill” and “she didn’t want to be the life raft that held our friendship up, because she wasn’t even sure I wanted to be friends.”
My first reaction? Laughter. Honestly! Who takes the time to UNFRIEND someone?! There are plenty of people on my Facebook (no, not you!) who I’m not particularly close with. It makes me sad that as ADULTS, as opposed to sending me a quick message or a phone call saying, “Hey, I feel like we’ve lost touch, could we hang out some time?” I was just written off and deleted without a second thought; however, the friendship clearly wasn’t worth a phone call or email to her AND IT WAS TURNED AROUND ON ME. It begs the question: if you choose to not invite me to spend time with you, or with our mutual friends, than how am I failing to hold up my end of the friendship!?
Also, not to play the sympathy card, but with my family situation, maintaining friendships with people who show no interest in supporting me during such a tumultuous time isn’t exactly my highest priority. I haven’t been banging down ANYONE’S door to hang out—most of my close friends have pursued me, knowing all that’s going on. To be even more frank, I think that using Facebook as some sort of tool is sort of the “coward’s way out.” In my previous Facebook rant my dear friend remarked in the comments that, “Facebook allows people to behave poorly without any real discomfort to themselves.” I tend to agree here—as opposed to having an ADULT conversation about the fact that she felt I didn’t want to be friends, and perhaps clarifying and potentially salvaging the little friendship we had left, it was done in a manner that sent a message without speaking.
The bottom line is this: we all have choices about who we hang out with. Clearly, our friendship had faded semi-naturally. I don’t see the necessity in cutting someone off from one of the most impersonal methods of keeping in touch.
Internet, weigh-in here. Am I the lone reed who DOESN’T unfriend?! Is there some code of conduct I am missing? Should I do a good un-friending round on my Facebook? Or, am I right in thinking that most adults simply let the chips fall where they may in real life, and don’t stress so much about drawing the line using social media?
*Alternate title to this post: WHY FACEBOOK SHOULD JUST CEASE TO EXIST ALREADY.
*Paranoia alert: I really do have a ton of friends. Swearsies. I just blog like I’m a loser.