Edit 8/20 4:35 – of my own accord, I changed a little of the language, as I thought it could read as harsher than I intended for it to read.
I have decided – it is official (please pretend there is whooping, hollering, and musical fanfare behind this post) – I am leaving facebook at the end of this month! Yay!
Here’s a little bit of why.
The best I can reckon it, there are about 4 types of people in my life.
Type #1 – I’m related to them. Whether I like it or not, we are closely enough related that we see each other, whether we want to or not – ha! But seriously, on all sides of my family I have wonderful family members, and even though sometimes there is tension, I’ve been blessed to have wonderful blood relatives and wonderful in-laws.
These are the people that, if I was eaten by a shark, would be devastated and would have to decide what to do with my stuff.
Type #2 – my actual friends. I have a pretty strict definition of “friend.” A friend is someone who wants to invest in my life, be a part of it, interact with it, or receive any of those 3 actions from it. They want to be around me. If it were not for connecting circumstances – i.e., if we did not work together, were not related, did not used to work together, did not used to go to church together, they would still want to connect with me. And that is a friend. The connection may happen more often for closer friends, and less often for not-as-close-friends, but there is a connection there that is selfless – the interest and investment of another individual, without the motivation of self-gain. It goes both ways, too!
I cannot tell you how uplifting it is to have someone reach out to me, unwarranted – “just because.” Few things in life are more special than when someone “checks up on me.”
And few things are more sad to me than when someone stops doing so. That is one reason that it is difficult going from one church to another. Because many move from “friend” to the next level down – “acquaintance.” That is part of life. I thank God that many of our relationships from Florida, Ohio, and Tennessee stood the test of time! But I always have regretted that many have not.
There are the people that, if I was eaten by a shark, would cry, and would attend my funeral or send flowers to my family.
Type #3 – Acquaintances. These may be friendly, but they are not friends. (Edit: These are not bad people! I have wonderful and great acquaintances!) These are most of my facebook friends. These people and I make no effort to be a part of each other’s life. They are the folks that I’ve not made an effort to connect to, either. Sometimes the acquaintance is mutual, and we share something in common – but the key point is that there is no real investment into each other’s life.
Sometimes, friends make an investment into my life, and hopefully I see this and acknowledge it and am grateful, and return in kind. But when I miss it, I’m guilty of treating them wrongly and they deserve better.
Sometimes, I, on the other hand, attempt to communicate to these people, and there is no return.
That is what facebook is, isn’t it? A platform for us to present ourselves to other people, and all the time hoping they’ll notice and take the small action of clicking a “like” button? What a small reward for what a friend is supposed to be.
In some cases, these can be the people that have no reason to invest into my life, unless they are wanting something in return. They want to be heard, not to listen. Or they want the satisfaction of their own desires, and treat me as a step to attain personal satisfaction in some way. The calls are only when convenient, or needed.
In some cases, these can be the people that are only cordial when you agree with them. I’ve not had many of these people over the years, but I’ve had some.
You choose to be friends on your terms and someone else’s – it is two way! Acquaintances are relationships only on your terms and timing, however.
These are the people that, if I was eaten by a shark, would not find out, or would briefly hang their head, sigh, and then go about their day.
Type #4 – Strangers. These are, obviously, people I don’t know.
If I was eaten by a shark, they’d not find out, or perhaps would read about it in the news.
I’m fairly convinced that no one stays in a static position on my list, or on yours. We are either developing a relationship with each other (even if slowly), or we are letting it dissolve.
I recently deleted 100 friends from my facebook. I expect that not one has noticed yet, or will notice (how I would love to be mistaken on that!). They were acquaintances. And I got the feeling that I was desperately waving photos and snarky status reports in hopes to impress these people. And I just have no desire to do that anymore! If we did in real life what we did on facebook, we would all be desperate, miserable people.
So, I am going to say goodbye to the remaining 493 facebook friends. And I’m smiling. Do you know why?
The ones who are still related to me will still be related to me. They have no choice! muahaha….
The ones who are truly my friends won’t stop being my friends. They’ll just have to, along with me, choose to continue developing our mutual relationship in a different forum. Phone calls, cards, seeing each other. My guess is, a third or so of my facebook friends are these folks.
The ones who are my acquaintances won’t notice, probably won’t read this blog, and won’t have their life positively or negatively affected by this decision. And that’s ok 🙂 They aren’t bad people! We just aren’t in each other’s life right now, for good, bad, or ugly!
The ones who are strangers will still be strangers.
Will you miss my unbelievably witty statuses I post from time to time? Then we’ll have to speak!
Will you miss my photos? Then you’ll have to actually lay your eyes upon those things which have previously been in my photos!
Will you not miss anything at all? That’s ok too! We can only pour our lives into so many at a time, and I understand that.
I, for one, would rather spend more time developing less, but more important relationships, than to spend less time on each individual, and many non-signifcant relationships. And so, I’m “outta here” at the end of this month.
Friends will still be friends. I don’t see how facebook can separate a friendship anymore than it could build one in the first place.
So if we don’t keep up much, but you’d like to stay in touch, would you let me know?
And if there are any of you I have ever treated like an acquaintance and have thus offended, let me know that too! Relationships are some of the most important things we have in this world. I’ve been convicted that I should put more time and energy into living, breathing human beings that the Lord has put in my path.
(All of this isn’t even to begin to mention the privacy concerns, the public access of one’s information, or the lack of respect facebook has for the individual consumer.)
Here’s a neat video that’s sort of related to the topic. Make sure you watch this video! It is fantastic!
And I end with this appropriate picture from the movie “Sharknado.”