Monday, August 12, 2013

The Worst Threat

I got unfriended on Facebook sometime ago. I am not exactly sure when it happened because I was still seeing this person's posts on my timeline. I did not realize anything was different until I went to comment on one of his posts and could not. That seemed weird, so I went to his page to look and it said I was just "Following" him. I had learned in the past that Facebook has a policy where if you allow Followers and unfriend someone they will be "down-graded" to Follower status.

What surprised me most was my reaction to this discovery. Frankly...I was hurt. Not because this was someone that I was personally close to, but because this was someone I looked up to in my online running community.  It felt like I had been rejected and deemed somehow "not good enough" either personally or as a runner. And then I felt more than a little foolish because this was just FACEBOOK for crying out loud. And I am supposed to be a grown-up. This should NOT be such a big deal. hurt and I even cried a little which only increased my own feeling of ridiculousness in seriously over-reacting to something that should not be such a big deal. Basically - rejection sucks...even online.

Remember when you were a kid? What was the scariest thing you could hear from a friend? For me it was, "You're not my friend anymore!!!" That was the worst threat. Generally any break-up did not last very long. Maybe an entire recess.....or if it was really serious - an entire day. Still that feeling of rejection and loss of relationship was devastating. And I was (am) the type who would try very hard to keep her friends happy to avoid hearing those awful words.

Now, as a grown-up....I have been unfriended on Facebook before. And also Blocked by someone I went to highschool with. It hurt those times, too. I am not sure why the one former FB friend blocked me. If I ever get the chance and am brave enough I will ask in person. I have even been unfriended by a family member who got upset with me. What is the saying, "If you aren't offending anyone you aren't trying hard enough?" That is not quite right, but hopefully it gets the gist across. Still...I don't TRY to offend people or make them angry. In fact, I try to be nice. And I value kindness VERY highly. I am a recovering people-pleaser. I am happiest when everyone in my life is happy and getting along and butterflies are flittering and there is laughter in the air. But, of course, reality intervenes all too regularly. Apparently I am still learning that you can't please everyone - whether you are trying to or not.

I've spent several days praying about just what the lesson is that I am supposed to be learning through all of this. I believe God always has a way of giving us something of value out of everything we experience. (No, I do NOT believe He plans for us to hurt or suffer. Those are built into the broken world we live in. But I do believe we have the choice to find the good in everything we go through. And, I will stop there with that train of thought because it could go on indefinitely.) Anyway...back to the lesson in this. Does this mean I spend too much time on Facebook? Probably. Does it mean that I need to remember to value true relationships with the people I blessed to share to personal physical (not virtual) space with? Yeah, probably that, too. Does it mean I should toughen up and get a thicker skin? Well.....maybe......but then again, I hope not. I love people. And I value being in relationship with them in whatever form that may take. I do not accept or make Facebook friend requests lightly. I share a lot of my personal life there. That means that I am making the choice to let myself be vulnerable to anyone in my little Facebook world. It involves risk - and that is downright scary.

I think for me the lesson is that I want the relationships I have to matter. I know that different people view Facebook differently. That is their choice. On my personal Facebook page that means that I WILL care if you choose to end that friendship. And, yes, it will hurt. No, my life won't end. And no, I won't start hating you. I am not that kind of a person. I will still care. And I will miss getting to share little glimpses of your life. I will respect your choice to unfriend me. And while it might be pathetic in the World's eyes,  I pray it is God's plan that I will always be a little sad at the loss of a relationship.