Have You Been Discarding Facebook Friends?

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Article by Wendy McCance

This year has been a mess. Lets just be honest. Between the presidential election, clashes with police, race relations and terrorism, this country has taken one hell of a beating. I am not one to write political articles and this article is not political in nature either. That being said, what I want to discuss is values and what type of people you choose to associate yourself with.

Facebook is quite the vehicle for people to discuss their feelings. From talking about family and friendships to moments when your are going through a rough time, Facebook tends to be the place where many people let it all hang out.

Unfortunately (or maybe it is fortunate) many people will discuss political, religious and opinions on people they view to be below them.

In the last year, I turned off the follow button for a few people who expressed opinions regarding presidential candidates, race and class, opinions on who should be considered a terrorist etc… that not only didn’t jive with my personal views, but in all honesty greatly offended me. I have since gone ahead and unfriended these people.

Now, I would like to mention that I am all for people having a different view about politics, religion etc… But, this particular year was brutal. When hatred and segregation are introduced into the conversation and people feel that instead of coming together we should fight each other, I can no longer embrace their feelings. They are just much too different than my own. We are no longer a good fit for each other.

Why did I choose to not follow them but keep them on my friend list for some time? I guess at first it was a combination of not wanting to offend anyone and ego over how many people I was connected to. Sad, sure, but honest. I was also hoping that maybe they were just feeling fired up and their comment wasn’t meant in the way it came out. I did try for some time to find a way to excuse their words because I was in disbelief that these were my friends. After some reflection, I realized that what I was seeing went beyond disappointment about what they really thought. I was under the impression that these former friends held different values and were more open-minded, but I was wrong.

This brings me to that comment about maybe it being fortunate that they posted their offensive views. It gave me the chance to reflect upon what type of friendships I wanted. Who did I want to be connected to and would I be proud to call that person a friend. I have worked hard to keep my life as toxic free as possible. The people I call my friends are honest, loyal, open-minded and decent. There is no bashing or gossiping and there is no hatred towards others.

It was an eye-opening experience to find out how close I really was with the people I was connected to simply based upon their comments. I realized that I had really lost touch with how some of my old friends felt these days. I cut some people out when I realized we were in no way compatible anymore. I feel it was the most honest thing I could do for myself as well as for the person I once called a friend.

What about you? Have you had some of the same experiences within the last year? Are you disappointed to see how many people you would need to cut from your friend list if you honestly just hung onto the people who shared the beliefs and values that were most important to you? Everyone has a non-negotiable list. What is yours?

Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: mccance.wendy@gmail.com

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11 thoughts on “Have You Been Discarding Facebook Friends?

  1. I was just having a similar conversation with my husband. There are so many bad, awful, hateful, divisive things of late happening all over as well as way too close to home. On top of how upsetting the events themselves are, it has been a real eye-opener as to the true colors of people I associate with, both personally and via social media. Similar to what previous commenters have said, I think differences of opinion are important and can be shared thoughtfully, but there is no place in my life for the kind of hate speech and bullying that is so easily being spoken. Where I struggle is when the right time is to comment and push back, and when those comments will just be used for additional fuel to the fire and it’s better to just walk away. There’s no easy answer for me.

    • Yes, this is exactly what I have been experiencing! It is so sad and especially during a time when people need to support each other more than ever. I don’t bother getting into a discussion. If the conversation turns me off because it is filled with hate, that is enough for me to know to walk away from that person. It’s not worth it for me to comment when I don’t want to hear more of their thoughts. Thanks so much for commenting.

  2. Hi Wendy — I share your sentiments and can understand how you would choose to unfriend and not read their posts anymore. I don’t know that I’ve had any that have pushed me to that point so far. But, if it continued would probably do the same. The most I’ve done is uncheck ‘get notifications’.

    The world is in turmoil enough not to entertain more of it on the internet and social media we don’t feel or believe the same.

    I’ve come close, not on FB, but blog posts but have managed to try to leave a comment that hopefully sheds food for thought and a little love. Don’t know if that really makes any difference. It wouldn’t be a blog I would visit often.

    • Thankfully, it has only happened a couple times. It wasn’t just a comment, but a barage of negative thoughts (in both cases although different topics) that were so far from anything I agreed with that I just couldn’t stay connected. I welcome different points of view and would never want to live in a society where everyone felt exactly the same on each subject, but this was just way too much.

  3. I have only unfriended one. I usually just scroll by something that is not what I believe, as I think we need to be respectful of each other’s opinions. But, this particular person was being vile. This person was also, in my opinion, being a bully, stating in effect, “If you don’t believe or think as I say, unfriend me.” Again, I would have scrolled by, but the language was awful and the words hurt me. I attended this person’s wedding; was a colleague, etc. No more. I wrote a blog post, stayed friends long enough for the individual to hopefully read what I wrote, then I clicked “unfriend.”

  4. Hi Wendy. Quite a challenging post. I welcome political rhetoric, as I like to view other’s political views. No, I will not unfriend political rivals. I will unfriend those who would post offensive material on my time line. Those who would post offensive language, emotional bullies, etc. It’s been a difficult year, and I agree with you. There are those who do not want to hear your side, but would rather force their beliefs on you. I’ll give them the opportunity to read what I have to say, and the opportunity for them to express their views, but when they persist, and begin calling me names other than the one given by my parents, then I draw the line, and wave my magic wand. “Poof, your gone.” Good read. Blessings.

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