I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. It’s becoming less loving and more hateful as time goes on, but it has also become a primary point of contact for many people who I want to keep in my life. There are plenty of people who I am “friends” with who I wouldn’t call real life friends, but I keep them around anyway. I enjoy seeing pictures of things that make people happy, like babies and puppies and fun getaways. I don’t mind civil political disagreements, but I tend to hide posts that will make me angry or sad. Some people I hide completely, but I still would smile and say hi to them if I ran into them somewhere. Then there are the people I have unfriended. The list of people who I have unfriended is pretty short, but they all had to go.
1. Family members. Yup. I unfriended close family members. Several years ago, Facebook was kind of fun. I could be irreverent or post about politics without wondering who was taking notes for the next holiday dinner debate. That eventually changed when more family members boarded the FB train. I love my dad dearly, but his political posts made me crazy. His need to comment on everything I posted was sweet when it had to do with family things, but maddening most other times. I know. I’m a monster for unfriending my dad (and other family members). But I promised to email pictures of my daughter and I see him many times each week. We’re better with the in-person relationship that we’ve had since I was born than with the Internetting thing.
2. Mean Girls. I ran into a girl from high school shortly after unfriending her on Facebook. She actually asked me about it, which could have been a little bit awkward, but I just told her that I was downsizing my friends list to include mostly family and very close friends. The real reason? She was the kind of person who would take pictures of strangers and ridicule their appearance. She was a girl who ridiculed *my* appearance in high school. I could see that she hadn’t changed. I just wasn’t interested in her mean-spirited posts. There was another acquaintance that I unfriended who commented often on my posts. I thought we were friends, but I could sense the negativity building for months before she said something intentionally to hurt my feelings. At one point, I respected her opinions because she is a super smart lady, but all respect flew out the window when I realized that she just isn’t a good person. Finally, another mean girl who never posted a thing, but lurked in silent judgement had to go. We met each other a couple of times but every encounter produced stay-away-vibes that I’ve learned to listen to. Yes I could have hid them, but if people feel completely toxic to me, I feel better distancing myself as much as possible.
3. The celebrity crush. When a musician I love joined Facebook, I did not dare friend request him. Then I noticed him accepting a smattering of my friends on Facebook, so I decided it was harmless and sent the request. He’s awful cute and charming and makes me feel like a million bucks when he talks to me, so it was very exciting. I think he’s pretty great, but I don’t know who he really is and he doesn’t care who I really am, which is completely expected, normal, and fine. I don’t want to be the creep checking out his friend list and family photos. I realized that I had an unhealthy obsession and decided that his personal life was none of my business. I just want to watch him play music while I sing along with friends, not worrying about looking like a dork. Shows are much more enjoyable now that I’m not worried about being interesting or exceedingly unattractive should I garner his attention. This is fortunate since my mind goes blank when he does speak to me, even when I’m not worried about being a weird troll of a human. Since we’ve met enough times, I can’t go back to being an anonymous fan, but I can own that I’m just a fan who really digs him, his band, and their music.
There you have it. If you are my Facebook friend and want to stay that way, don’t be an overly political family member, a bitch, or someone I might have a stupid crush on.