The Inartful Art of Unfriending

Let’s be honest here for a second. Have you ever been unfriended on social media?  Have you unfriended?  The answer for me on both these questions is yes.  If I’m asking you to be honest, I guess I need to be as well.

The act of unfriending someone can be super satisfying. (Remember how I said we were being honest??!!)  Clicking that button in response to a wrong committed (or perceived to be committed) is the ultimate exercise of passive aggressive aggression.

“I don’t like what you said or did, or where you went, or what you commented on – so THERE! I deem you unfriended!” (Insert evil laugh).

evil laugh.jpg

It is like with that one button click, we have erased the offender’s presence not only in our timeline, but also in our lives.  It is like they have ceased to exist.  They (and whatever their annoying or hurtful action) are no more in the world!  Vamos!  Goodbye!

And for a moment, as we congratulate ourselves on our healthy removal of toxicity in our life, we can feel righteous in our actions. We (and of course, I am using the Royal “We” here – I really mean ME, MYSELF, I) have an internal dialogue about how justified we are in our “unfriending activity” because the “offender” was certainly no REAL friend of ours!  If they were, they would have NEVER done whatever it is we perceive or know they have done!  How dare they!? Who do they think they are?!?  Well clearly they are NO ONE now – because POOF they have been unfriended!

For myself, my unfriend finger gets most itchy when I am feeling slighted. Social Media has introduced to the zeitgeist a new phrase – FOMO – Fear of Missing Out.  My FOMO meter gets triggered when I see “friends” getting to do things or go places to which I was not invited or included.  Nothing gets my feelings of insecurity and injustice stirred up faster!  And instead of rejoicing over someone’s successes or blessings – CLICK – you are UNFRIENDED!  I’ll show you!

Worse yet, the unfriending can happen when a small infraction gets chewed around in my never-quiet mind to a place where that mole hill looks like Mt. St. Helen (in complete eruption mode – lava and smoke and all) – CLICK – you are GONE!  So THERE!

I’m 42 years old, readers!  FORTY TWO!!!  I’m not 12. I profess to be a Bible-believing, praying, active follower of Christ.  There are very clear, not difficult to understand processes laid out on how to address feelings of hurt and arguments with people –

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”. (Matt. 18:15-17)

I mean come on now – I’ve known this for nearly my whole life. I think at one point I had to memorize it for JBQ (Junior Bible Quiz for the unfamiliar), and let me tell you I didn’t often lose at JBQ!  I know for a FACT I wrote a paper on it in college in a course I took on Biblical Conflict Resolution (and I seem to remember doing fairly well on that assignment – I do like to write a paper, you know!).

But why do something as hard as actually having a conversation with someone who has ticked me off, when Facebook has given me such an accommodating and sin-encouraging button – right there, where no one will know that they have been unfriended unless they go looking for it?  I mean, it seems heaven sent – until it doesn’t.

As I mentioned before, I’ve been both the unfriend-ER and the unfriend-EE – and being on the other side sucks – for lack of a better term. I’m sure there are those who have unfriended me for things I really deserved to be taken to task for, and probably those who have done it for the same petty spitefulness for which I am often guilty.  Most times I’m blissfully unaware of it, but for the times I have realized the action – it hurts.

Now, I want to make a note to say that there are situations when things just aren’t healthy – stalking, abuse, threatening, etc. – these things should be avoided at all costs and should not be tolerated in a social media or real life setting!  Unfriend away with complete impunity those who wish to bring actual danger to your world.  I think that is healthy.

My point here today is that I would do well to remember how it feels to be on the “unfriended” side of the coin when my finger is itching to “unfriend”.  I needed a self-reminder today.  And because there are good things even in bad times, Facebook has a really cool feature called “On This Day” (reminders of posts from previous years) and I have a feeling that this may be something I want to be reminded of –

Taking the time to have a painful conversation protects my brain and heart and spirit – because the ultimate suffering of the unfriending is the one doing it.

At least it is in my case, because (as I was reminded by my sister last week) I tend to rehash, reexamine, rethink every single breath, word, sigh, side-way glance, hair flip, etc. of everyone – you, me, the dog – whoever!  So for me, the act of unfriending is more damaging to myself than anyone. Like that old saying – “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”  And really, at the end of the day that is what petty unfriending is – a passive aggressive form of unforgiveness – and one I am sad to say, I have engaged in way too frequently. I resolve to do better!  (It seems to be the year of resolutions for me – I’m doing pretty well on the reading, schedule and menu/grocery things – so let’s see if forgiveness gets on-board the success train!)

Ok – enough of this “sermon to myself”.

As Millie Vanilli said “Blame it on the rain!” It is storming like crazy here and has me in a contemplative mood.

Next post will be about puppies and babies or something more happy.  I promise.


Unless it is raining.

See ya soon.



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Mommy, Historian, Wannabe Writer.

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