Friday, October 19, 2012

unfriending

I've been unfriended on Facebook... more than once.  The first time I was aware of it, I was upset.  Yes, I am opinionated and I'm not shy about sharing opinions, but I try to be respectful of those with whom I disagree and I try to learn from them.  I also try to help them better understand my position.  Yes... there is a degree of "evangelism" inherent in that, but I am more concerned about discussing and learning than about converting.  I really wanted to know whether there was something I had said that was offensive and fix it.  I didn't try but I still am curious about that first unfriending.

I never imagined that I would do it.  I have some pretty conservative friends and I treasure their input especially when we don't agree.  That reminds me that there are other ways of seeing the world and they always have something to teach me.  They also remind me of some of the fallacies on my side of the theological, cultural, and political boundaries.  That is very good.

This week, for the first time I unfriended someone.  It wasn't easy for me to do.  I really do treasure those connections across viewpoints and I really do try to be both respectful and humble.  This time, there was no discussion and no respect coming my way at all and no interest in seeing anything from another's viewpoint.  More than once I got messages from other friends asking what was up with that person on my timeline.  Then the questions became "why are you putting up with that?"  and I began to see that some of the remarks were hurtful to other friends or worse than that, were bringing out the worst in me and in other people.  So, I unfriended this individual.

I wish we had been able to talk and learn from one another.  I wish that both of us would have been stretched and encouraged to see things in new ways.  That just wasn't happening and as another friend reminded me, "don't feed the trolls."  I don't regret it, but I am sad.

2 comments:

Mindie B. said...

Social media really is an entirely new form of communication - isn't it? Now we have to learn how to sever virtual ties. I find setting my own rules makes the unfriending easier.

I think every person - every single person - has some beauty, something to offer or share, something I can learn from - so I'm happy to connect with most anyone on Facebook, so long as they're interested in the connection - not just selling me their stuff.

But if someone is rude, unkind, or flames one of my other friends in a comment - I unfriend. If someone is straight out selling with no interest in reciprocal communication, I unfriend. If I fear the person is a total whack job, I unfriend.

So when I wonder if I should unfriend, I look at those guidelines. Then it's relatively easy.


Loved this post. It brings up something we should all be thinking about.

mb

roy said...

makes sense Mindie. I think I'll take on a set of guidelines like yours.