It’s a shame, particularly to do this right before Christmas, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to let some of you go. Why? Because I like you. And I want to keep liking you. But you’re not making it easy.
Let me explain: I love Facebook. Over the past few years, it’s allowed me to re-connect with old friends, and those connections have kept me relatively sane during the really rough times. Facebook even made it possible for me to re-connect with Tammy, and we were married a year ago this month. So Facebook has truly changed my life, for the better. Much better.
When I first started on FB, I posted a lot of opinion stuff, and had more than a few heated arguments with friends, with whom I had political and philosophical differences. And although they remain friends, I did not enjoy the arguments that sprang from my Facebook postings… or those of others to which I felt compelled to respond. So I decided to keep any opinions that might be considered controversial, off Facebook. Now, I find, it’s a pretty congenial place to be. It’s sort of like a big party: most people avoid topics like religion and politics because, well, it’s not polite to get into arguments in a social setting. Makes other people feel uneasy.
Gradually, then, I set Facebook rules for myself: no controversy, keep it generally light and upbeat. If I’m feeling down, it’s okay to share, though, because someone will come along and say something cheerful. I even like those posts that some people find annoying: I just finished two slices of French toast! They’re not offensive, and, well, it doesn’t hurt me to know that Charles or Bill or Pat enjoyed their French toast this morning. But if I want to get involved in a good rant, or a knock-down-drag-out argument, I’ll find another venue. In fact, I’ve found several.
But some of my friends… some of whom I like, respect, and generally find to be good company, both online and in person, love to post rants. Sometimes, and I know it’s not intended this way, they rip and slash and insult the very things I hold dear. By proxy, they call me stupid, evil, or wrong for holding some of the positions I hold. They’d never do that in person, but they rip to shreds some of the things I hold dear, and some of my deeply-held beliefs. They don’t mean to get me all riled up, but they do. And if they want to use Facebook as a place to rant and vent, well, that’s their perfect right.
But more and more, I find myself actually hiding their comments, so I’m not tempted to respond. And I’m getting a little tired of it. It’s like having to avoid the loud opinionated person at the cocktail party because you’re just there to relax and visit with friends.
So after careful thought, I’m afraid I’m going to have to let you go. I don’t want to de-friend you, but I want to continue to like you, so that’s really my only choice.
And to be perfectly honest with you, I won’t even be fair about it. If you’re someone with whom I’m likely to agree, and you choose Facebook as a place to rant and rave, your position on my friend list is safe. Why? Because, since I generally agree with you, you don’t get me all riled up, and it’s not difficult to keep on liking you.
I didn’t say this was fair. I’m just doing it for my own self-preservation, and to keep my Facebook experience generally positive, upbeat, and fun. If it’s not, what’s the point?
So, good-bye to some of you. I still love you and I want to keep it that way. I hope you have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, a Happy Hanukkah, and a Joyous Kwanzaa. I hope you live long and prosper. I hope you’ll stay in touch.