It’s not you, it’s me.
And it’s not even that I want to see other people, I just don’t want to see so many people.
Last week, BFF Mindy sent me a link to Messy Canvas’ link – which inadvertently led me to “unfriend” over 1000 people on Facebook. And, as Mandy (from Messy Canvas) then said over Twitter, it’s an odd mix of achey and empowering.
It’s achey because it’s choosing to let go of friendships, admitting that I cannot and will not and do not want to be a friend to all. But it’s empowering because it means that I’m saying YES to a greater few.
It’s achey because it means admitting and realizing that some friends were just for a particular season in life, and that I won’t forever be able to be Everybody’s Best Friend, like my inner high school prom queen sometimes still vies for. But it’s empowering realizing that less truly is more.
It’s achey because I wonder if, by detaching from so many people, I ruin my chances at reaching my audience, ultimately destroying my writing career. But it’s empowering realizing that friendship is not a selfish, one-way street, and that at the heart of it, I’m not writing for feedback and affirmation. I’m writing for me.
And it’s achey admitting the value I’ve placed on the number of Facebook friends I have, thinking that somehow having 1400 people at my computer screen fingertips oddly equates to popularity, or at least to being loved. …But it’s empowering choosing intimacy – and if we’re honest, I think that’s what most of us initially craved through the portals of social media anyhow.
We want to be known and we want to be understood, so we post witty updates and cute pictures and we make our voices heard. We invite our “friends” into our lives, hoping that they’ll respond and affirm, but in the meantime, we’re so caught up in mindlessly scrolling through status updates of people we haven’t seen in 15 years that we forget to live life in the present.
So I broke up with them: It’s not you, it’s me…
I broke up because we dated.
I broke up because we dated in my head.
I broke up because once upon a time I thought you were hot, and I wanted to Facebook-stalk you. [See also: we dated in my head.]
I broke up because you were dating my friend, but you, as it turns out, were not The One.
I broke up because you were my student.
I broke up because you were my Young Life kid – I friended you once so that I could invite you to club, but then never spoke to you again. Shame on me.
I broke up because we were in ministry together, but as I realize now, that didn’t necessarily make us friends…
I broke up because we worked together for 48 hours one weekend and declared ourselves besties (but then we never spoke again).
I broke up because you are a friend of a friend.
I broke up because we met at a party once. Once.
I broke up because we were friends in high school, but I haven’t talked to you in 16 years. Literally.
I broke up because we were friends in college, but I haven’t talked to you in 12 years. Literally.
I broke up because you’re friends with my husband, but we’ve never had a conversation.
I broke up because you just want to see pictures of my kid – okay, I admit, he’s cute.
I broke up because, well, you’re creepy.
I broke up because you were my professor. [See also “you were my student.”]
I broke up because your status updates make me seethe inside.
I broke up because your status updates annoy me.
I broke up because I can’t remember who you are.
Does this make me a bad person? No. Does it leave me feeling achey and empowered all at the same time? Yes. (Will I screen through my Friends’ list in a couple of months again, and dump some more, but then re-request a few more that I’m actually missing? Probably).
The truth I realize is this: the friends remaining on my Facebook page really are my friends. If they showed up on my doorstep, I’d invite them into my home and give them a knife so they could help chop the tomatoes and dice the onions; we’d clink our glasses of wine, and we’d sit on the floor playing with Cancan, laughing with the HBH. We’d reflect on memories and we’d accept each other for who we are today – the questions and the stories would be boundless, and at the end of the night, we’d embrace and say, thank you, thank you. YOU are a dear friend.
We’d keep on going steady.
We wouldn’t break up.
What about you? Is breaking up hard to do? Have you thought about unfriending and detaching from Facebook as well? Have you broken up with Facebook altogether?