Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Facebook doesn't unfriend you..your 'friends' do

After much consideration and discussion with Goose, my husband and my best friend I have decided to give myself a gift for Christmas. The gift of 'Freedom' in the words of William Wallace.
Freedom from judgement,  freedom from anxiety,  freedom from scrolling for hours a week through everyone's posts..looking for something important, something life-altering, something that will mean something to me. What I'm really looking for is something personal. A message to me. Something for me from someone that was thinking about me.

Facebook posts used to be so much more...now I find so many of them simple 'shares' of pictures with quotes on them to make us laugh. Which is not a bad thing. But they become less and less personal. And instead of commenting on them, we hit the 'like' button. Easy.
'Facebook makes it so easy to keep in touch with loved ones.'
That was what I used to say. But now I see that it makes it too easy.
Too easy to add someone that you don't really know or like. Someone you have no intention of ever getting together with. Someone that you don't even talk to.
Too easy to argue or say something hurtful, because you don't have to see that persons face.
I have sent messages to people and not got a reply. In a perfectly oblivious world, you can tell yourself, 'Maybe they haven't been on' or 'Maybe they're too busy'. But now Facebook features tell you not only that they've read your message, but how long ago they have.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
I haven't quite decided.

I've seen people put up posts about things that are important to them, things they believe in and had people criticize or judge them in response. I'm sure I'm guilty as well. I feel like 'our' profile pages should be respected the same as our own homes. Our homes are where we can be ourselves and have the freedom of speech without persecution. If I want to paint my walls of my livingroom pink with orange polka-dots... I certainly don't want you coming in and saying, 'What were you thinking? You should not have done that!'

I have many friends & family on FB. Some of them, sadly... that is my only contact with them. Which is why I have wanted to remain for as long as I have. I see pictures of weddings, new babies, homes decorated for Christmas. I really do love having that window into their lives so I can see where they are in their lives. Many of them post about their beliefs, their religions, their favorite hockey team or political views. There are many that I do not agree with. Some I am outright opposed to. But I would never post judgements onto their page. (At least I hope I have not) That's not right. That's not fair.

But I would like to be able to be who I am online. Who I really am. Not smiling and nodding to please everyone else. Normally I am trying to make people laugh. That's what I'm known for. And I love that.
Put up a funny quote or picture and get 100 likes. But if you want to talk about something serious or a need for comfort, I find it's very easy for us to scroll past the needy...like not making eye contact with a homeless person on the street. If we don't look, it's not there.
I feel like if I let them know who I really am, they would turn away.

My Father passed away almost three years ago. About two years ago I was going through a really rough time and asked in my status for someone, anyone to share a happy thought or memory of my Dad. I thought it would help me hold him closer if I could talk to someone else that remembered him. I had almost 300 'friends' on my list at the time. And two people responded as I recall. And one of them didn't even know my Dad.
That should have been my wake-up call to Facebook not being for my greater good. I know now that when I think about someone or something if I feel the slightest anxiety it should be avoided.
But with all the bad hype the site gets..it really isn't Facebook that ignores you when you need someone to talk to. It isn't Facebook that deletes you without an explanation. It's the names without faces on your 'friend list'.

Goose, the hard-ass says, 'If you don't talk to them or if they ignore you delete them! I don't have time for that bullshit!'
But I am a very softhearted person. I am sentimental. At this age with everything I have experienced people are amazed that I am still open-hearted, loving, trusting and yes, even naive. I try to see the good in people and give way too many chances. Which is why I get hurt so often.
My personal experience tells me that if I 'be myself' or 'stand up for myself' that I will lose those that I love. It's been happening for years. It is precisely why I am now an only child of eight.

Most recently I got into a discussion with a cousin on FB. She didn't agree with what I said in my status. And when I tried to explain to her why I felt the way I did, she deleted and blocked me. I realize that she is young and maybe was afraid that it would turn nasty. But now, she is gone. I find myself wondering what a trip home might entail if we meet up now. People shouldn't turn their backs on Friends and Family because of a difference of opinion. We should be able to talk and have different views.
It shouldn't be that easy to click a button and delete someone from your life.

I know I am guilty of scrolling without clicking. I hate the posts that say, 'lets see who reads my posts' or 'many of you won't respond .. I know who will...' Those are annoying and I don't blame anyone for not responding.
I am also guilty of deleting people from my friends list. Roughly once a year I would go through my list and look at their face. I would listen to my gut and see if I had a positive response or a negative one. And if they caused any negative feelings or tightenings I would delete them. Sometimes it felt like a good decision. Sometimes it would hurt. Alot.
I have deleted family members on facebook and in real life because of the way they treated me and I just could not allow it anymore. And I cried. For a long time. Sometimes I still cry because I miss them.
But the fact that they have not tried to contact me, proves that I did the right thing. If they don't need me in their lives. If they don't miss my smile. If they can go for years without hearing my voice. Then I should no longer hurt because they are gone.

'I just got a new couch, you should come see it and we'll have tea!'
'Oh? put pics of it on Facebook so I can see it.'.....

I got my Family together for pictures a few weeks ago. We had so much fun trying to keep warm outside without our coats and getting the dog to sit still long enough and everyone to smile at the same time. Set the timer and run to get in the picture. And I remember the first statement from someone, 'Mom, get these onto Facebook a-sap!'

When I put something witty on my status, I need to see who responded. Who liked it, who commented. And then I get lost in the scrolling sea of posts again. An hour goes by, I lift my head to see my Husband smiling at me. And I realize that ...time is so precious.

I don't want to read your status.
I want to hear your voice.
I want to see your face. I want to feel your hug.
I want....Freedom!