Social media is a weird place. (And yes, actually, I do get the irony of me typing that sentence into a blog.) On one hand it’s a great tool to stay in touch with loved ones, family, and friends because we are a more global society than ever before. But mostly, it seems like it’s the corner of the gym at an eighth grade dance. Everybody is standing off to the side in their own little clique, staring down all the other groups and being judgy.
How many people do you have on your Facebook “friends” list that you don’t talk to very often? Or at all? How people are following you on Twitter or Instagram don’t know you? Or don’t know you now, because you’re not the same nerd they graduated high school with?
I have people on my personal Facebook (because I also have the FB page for my cause/blog, XwF) that I haven’t heard from in over a year or more. These are people I would have called good friends at one time, but we’ve gone different directions, or we don’t have the same things in common anymore, or I’ve done something that leaves them smirking at me like we’re all in middle school. I know that I have “friends” on Facebook that have quit following my postings and staying in contact with me because I have committed some great atrocity of social ineptitude. In other words, I have done or said something that let them feel superior and because we’re girls and high school never really ends, they’ve gone off and don’t talk to me anymore. But they don’t “unfriend” me because then they would look shallow and catty.
I realize that by saying these things I look like I’m the one being snarky. But I also know that if I have one great flaw, it’s that I tend to be too honest. I find that I prefer brutal honesty over velvet covered lies. And people don’t like that. I can be tactful, but I am real, and honest to a fault, and people find that uncomfortable.
This was never more apparent or more true than eight years ago when I left my husband. I was miserable and desperate, and if we’re being brutally honest here (and we do), I was suicidal. I left when I realized that I had planned out every detail of jumping off the local bridge. I left because I have three kids and I didn’t want them to have to say “my mom committed suicide”. But no one asked me why I left. I was judged and abandoned.
I survived that year, and found myself, and swore that I would never lose my identity or any of the truths that I know about myself again in the name of being socially appropriate. I know that I can come off as a little prickly or aloof at first if you don’t know me. And I know that I am as raw and as real as it gets, and that can be tough to take.
And those people that don’t talk to me anymore? It really does boil down to high school social BS. If you judge me because I post something about being exhausted in the middle of family functions, and you smirk about how ridiculous that is because you’re busier than I am on a regular basis, have you taken into account that I’m living with a brain tumor? If you move away from me in our social circle because I’m not conservative enough, that’s okay with me. I’ve had some really great friendships that relied on the ability to leave out politics and religion because we shared enough other similarities. But I’ve seen those fizzle out too.
Life happens. People grow and change. Often for the better, but not always. Friendships grow and die. People move through your life.