Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Friendship Requirements

I've noticed a growing trend over on Facebook lately, and it kinda worries me. Maybe you've seen it, too. Heck, maybe you're the one doing it. It goes something like this:

Random Facebook Friend: "ATTENTION EVERYONE. If you don't agree with me on [insert political, social, or religious issue here], then go ahead and UNFRIEND ME."

That's the short version, of course; it's usually accompanied by a ranty explanation of how said person can't take any more stupidity, plus a lot of incendiary name-calling, just for color.
 
Now, for a very few core issues, I can maaaaybe understand this kind of gauntlet-throwing. On the other hand, most of these posts I'm seeing are pretty broad, saying stuff like, "All bigots, UNFRIEND ME."

Of course these posts get all the likes and virtual back slaps in the comments, with lots of "Right on, dude!" and "YES THIS!" type congratulations - but I'm genuinely curious: If any of your Facebook friends are, in fact, bigots, do you really think they identify that way? Do they go around introducing themselves like, "Hi, I'm Jackie The Bigot"? (And if so, why don't you just unfriend them?)

The same goes for most of the common buzzwords I'm seeing so often: racist, homophobe, Communist, "backwards-thinking idiot," etc, etc. Even the people who you think ARE those things, dollars to donuts, don't agree with you on the label.  

So what's the point?

Not to mention, what about the friends who may not agree with you, but who don't talk about it? I mean, anyone can understand the frustration with That Guy who posts non-stop political memes, but most of us aren't him. Most of us believe lots of stuff we don't shout from the rooftops. So should we unfriend each other over issues we've never even discussed together before?

More importantly, when did we become so intolerant of opposing viewpoints that we feel the need to sever all ties  - with casual acquaintances OR our closest friends - over things like GMO crops and health care reform? When did agreement on ALL issues become a prerequisite for friendship?

The big things, sure. I mean, you can't be friends with someone who doesn't value you as a person. Or people who think dogs are better than cats. But you'd be surprised how many "big" issues you CAN disagree on, and still have an amazing relationship.

I come from a conservative religious background, and today I work - and love working - in the more liberal circles of the internet. Take the two most extremist people you know, one on each side, and that's my social sphere today. I'm friends with people who protest on both sides of major issues, and many of my dearest friends would vehemently disagree with each other on LOTS of stuff.

And you know what? It gives me balance.

The key is a willingness to focus on what you do have in common, and respect from both parties. (The geek community is fantastic for this, btw.) It also helps if you can step back from the Internet Outrage Machine and remember that the people you're railing against are still people. If you met them at a party, you might even like them a whole lot.

I'm not saying go out and befriend the people who are diametrically opposed to everything you stand for, but I AM saying that, sometimes? It couldn't hurt.

The same goes for keeping those friends who you just learned like dogs better than cats, or something equally heinous.

'Cuz who knows? Maybe that awful person who's trying to destroy the fabric of America with her liberal/conservative/dog-loving ways will turn out to be the best friend you ever had. Maybe she'll even change your mind about something, some day.

So why not let her stick around long enough to find out?

And hey, if you don't agree with me? FRIEND ME. 'Cuz we're still cool.

106 comments:

  1. WELL I NEVER... agreed with you more. Well said.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree! I hope we can still be friends.

    ReplyDelete
  3. THIS. YES. THIS.

    I posted similar thoughts on my own blog after having a WONDERFUL encounter with Adam Baldwin (I even asked you and John's advice about posting about it--THANK YOU for taking the time to reply!), only to be informed by some random person that he's actually "a jackass". Here's a quick excerpt:

    "I’m not sure when it became okay-to-the-point-that-no-one-even-bats-an-eye-anymore to assign labels like “jackass” or “horrible person” based on *whether or not someone agrees with you*, instead of on *how they treat you*. Even if you can’t respect someone’s views because you think they’re wrong, do you still at least make an effort to respect the *person*? Do you even try to treat them respectfully--much less, *kindly*? Or do you write them off as being on the wrong side, and therefore, *not mattering*? Do politics really determine someone’s worth or value to you? Because that seems to be the trend today, and I don't just mean toward Adam Baldwin."

    There's more to the story, but I've got a whole blog post on it, so I won't hash the whole thing out here. :-P Since then, I've seen a few more of his tweets...and let's not go there. But all the same, I still think that EVERYONE, whether or not they agree with you, ought to be treated as a PERSON, and that respect is not only due those who fall on the same side of every political issue as you do. EVERYONE MATTERS.

    Thank you, Jen, for making your blog a safe place for people of all views.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I work for a Christian organization so I'm around super conservatives all day long while my husband works with liberal folk. We're both kind of in the middle with a lean toward our respective environments. We both get annoyed and have learned to ignore when our friends post these ridiculous ultimatums. If we had to agree with our friends on every single topic, we would even be able to stay married. If they feel our lack of argument is grounds for un-friending, then apparently we didn't need to be friends, but it's gonna have to be their choice and not ours. I like to think we adhere Thumper's motto, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, that's what they created the "Follow" button for. If you start to get really annoying with your topical posts, whether I agree or not, I can just hide you from my feed. We don't have to break up over it.

      Delete
  5. I had a former classmate say that anyone who voted for Obama should unfriend her. So I did. That's pretty clear cut. In any case, do I really want to be friends with someone who thinks I don't have the right to vote my conscience?

    Also, I have this great desire to come out as an atheist on Facebook and see how many people unfriend me. Instead, I just hide it like I always do. It's not easy being godless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know how you feel. I'm agnostic (definitely not religious), AND I am a female that doesn't want kids. You want a topic that separates you from people? That's a big one. Especially when I last year I had a procedure to become sterile. Not something you can easily say on FB even among friends and family. But you find out who is willing to stick around for who you are as a whole person, and not just one piece of you.

      Delete
    2. I'm a female atheist, who lives in the bible belt, who doesn't want kids and had that taken care of, who also happens to work in a maternity store. Friends and family know, but otherwise I just keep things to myself. Not because I'm worried about what people will think, but it's just easier not having to battle people or have people preach to you. I'll never understand why people think everyone has to have children. I'm all for others having kids if that is what they want to do, but it isn't for everyone. Same with religion; if people find it comforting and want to believe in god, then they should. Each person has the right to make their own desicions, and people shouldn't bash or belittle you because of it. If "friends" can't get past who you are, then they were never a good friend.

      Delete
    3. I just recently "came out" on facebook--as a lover of Jesus. Funny, it was the gay marriage debate that emboldened me. The people who know me IRL of course know, but fb friends? Either it was too awkward to share my faith when so many of them are really anti-faith and frequently share really rude and small-minded anti-Christian memes, or I just didn't want the emotional weariness of always having to prove I'm not a homophobe or bigot or Republian. . . sigh. And on the other hand, I didn't want my religious beliefs to get in the way when I share about other things that matter to me--people tend to roll their eyes and disregard anything a Christian says, even a highly educated one. In my fb world it does not feel safe to be a Christian. To be myself. Just thought I would share that the feelings of having to hide oneself for faith--that's real too.

      Delete
    4. But on a brighter note, if we are surrounded on facebook by people who are so different than us and highly opinionated about it, then clearly we make them feel safe, and we are open-minded people for it! : )

      Delete
    5. I wish we could all live in the same neighborhood - I would love to hang out with so many people that follow Epbot. Y'all are good people :D

      Delete
  6. Thank you for posting this. I too have a circle of friends who don't necessary see eye to eye on many issues and I'm glad for it. It makes my life richer. Everyone is entitle to their own opinion - I don't have to like theirs and they don't have to like mine. I can usually agree to disagree with an opinion on most topics and if I can't I will just walk away - either literally or figuratively. So can we be friends now?

    ReplyDelete
  7. There are different kinds of disagreement. When two people live different lives, but both are willing to treat the other as full persons who are able and entitled to make their own decisions and live their own lives, that is a "disagreement." In cases such as these, such "Unfriend Requests" are hyperbolic at best.

    When one of those people sees the other's very existence as a threat, and therefore wants to deny the other that basic respect and autonomy over decisions about their own lives, that goes beyond "disagreement", because its consequences are or have become asymmetrical. One of those people deserves sympathy, but the other also deserves justice. In cases such as these, I've both accepted and issued "Unfriend Requests", and have never regretted it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you on this, Larry.

      Delete
    2. Agreed. I'm about as liberal as they come, but my favorite political discussions are almost always with two conservative-leaning Facebook friends. (I say Facebook friends because I didn't actually know either of them well in high school, but talk to them more now than many of the people I did know.) That said, as a lesbian, there are some things I won't tolerate. I think it's safe to say that one of the two aforementioned friends doesn't probably think I should have the right to get married, (or, at least be allowed to call it that) and we're still friends because he's generally respectful and treats everyone well, regardless of their background or whether or not it conflicts with his views. If I "unfriended" everyone who felt the way he did, I wouldn't be in contact with my Southern Baptist conservative family, either. But those other high school acquaintances who voted for same-sex marriage bans years back or had nasty things to say? They were weeded out years ago; I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. I typically block them, too, so I don't have to see what they say on friends' posts, either. That friend's twin brother who made a racist remark about President Obama? He's gone. Everyone's welcome to their own views, but the minute they prove to be deliberately hurtful (and yes, I do say deliberately, because I don't believe any of these people who make those "love the sinner hate the sin" type comments are stupid enough to believe that their bigotry isn't hurtful) toward other people or animals, our connection is done. -TAL

      Delete
  8. Agreed! I am very good friends with people I disagree with on certain issues. We are able to discuss our ideas and opinions without being hateful or mean about it, and agree to disagree. I have a few friends/acquaintances that I don't agree with, and when I get tired of seeing their ranting political posts (or annoying family stuff), I just unfollow them. That way, we're still friends, and I can still keep up with them, when I want to, but I don't have to see the crap they post all the time. I have also unfollowed people on FB whom I agree with on certain issues, but I don't like the way they approach things (hateful, vitriol-filled rants goading people into arguments).

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is kind of difficult for me in that a lot of things that people call "political", with the idea that they're "agree to disagree" things, are actually human rights issues being disingenously constructed by the media as intellectual discussions. As a member of several marginalised groups, someone "disagreeing", and putting said disagreement into practice democratically, could help get me killed. I don't think I'm obliged to welcome "balance" over that, or to prioritise their essential humanity over the choices they make when they're happy to help deprive me of mine.

    That being said, I'm not on Facebook, I'm overt about my circumstances and requirements of people so that people I can't be friends with tend not to befriend me in the first place, and I'm totally with you on people referring to "bigots" (you're going to have to be more specific, folks!). And I do have things I'm much more relaxed on; religion, fiction with nastier content, outdated language, that kind of thing.

    So I guess these are my personal boundaries; where I specifically draw the line. It's such a personal thing that if there were no two people with the same boundaries it would not surprise me at all. I think it can be hard on social media to remember that everyone is going to find some things easier or harder to deal with in the people they associate with; it can get tribal, with people assuming that everyone has to have the same comfort level, which I'm not into at all and I think will never be realistic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I identify with your comment, Jan! Well said!

      Delete
    2. Absolutely. If someone's racist, sexist, cruel to animals, or LGBTQ-phobic, we're done, but I don't think those things count as "politics," or if they do, then EVERYTHING counts as politics. As a woman and a gay person, I don't ever get to NOT be political, and I refuse to be an "issue" people get to have an opinion on. I'm a human being, not a talking point. -TAL

      Delete
  10. Seriously, thank you for saying this. I'm in a similar position with friends on various sides of the spectrum, and I've been enriched by those friendships. I hate to see doors and minds slamming shut when there are reasonable people of good will on all sides.

    ReplyDelete
  11. you know what, Jen Yates? we are THROUGH! how DARE you say that dogs aren't better than cats? UNFOLLOWED!

    ...did i do it right? ;)
    love, Miss Pooslie and Princess
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153314763702119&l=4207065771

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think this article sums it all up and goes along with what you said!

    http://madworldnews.com/unfriend-facebook-pal/

    ReplyDelete
  13. A voice of reason?! It is almost like you are too wonderful to be a part of the internet :) So few people seem to be able to be level headed these days.
    I had a family member recently unfriend me because I followed a trend (and my personal beliefs) and changed my profile pic for a few days. He informed me that once I change my pic, I can re-friend him. Pfffft! Right. I'll get right on that ;)

    ReplyDelete
  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Nicely said.
    I figure this sort of thing comes from a sort of "allergic reaction" humans have to large internet communities: We don't like being one identical nose in a sea of millions. We like having a small circle of people we trust by association, and a convenient box of "others" to take out bad moods on. It's a lot easier than having to judge every individual fairly every time. So if we don't get that and instead get an "everyone is your friend!" environment, we lash out and create conflict out of thin air, just to get back that feeling of allies vs. enemies.

    That, and we're still a far ways from "figuring out" how to make internet communities work. Making sure people have small circles will be part of it. "Criticize in private, praise in public." Making sure that venting rants are posted in private places, not where the people vented at will easily run across them. Practicing de-escalation: Always responding softer than a perceived slight, criticizing concepts, not people. Being wary of getting played to fight a conflict for others.
    One day, I hope we'll have figured it out, and the solution will be taught in schools. Maybe one day we'll tell the kids "You know, back in my day, harassment was a thing. People would cry for days because of people on the internet." And they won't be able to even imagine that anymore.

    I don't have the answers. I just hope over time we recognize the problems and find the answers.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I think those kinds of posts are a bit silly, and don't do them myself, but I understand why they've become common. I agree with others here that there's a difference between "you and I have a difference of opinion about foreign aid and I respect that" and "you think all Mexicans are rapists and all black people are criminal and I think you're a crazy person". In my life, as I go around and meet people and learn about them, I can make judgments on who I want to befriend and who I don't, and I do choose not to be friends with bigots, whether they call themselves that or not. But think about who the average person friends on Facebook. For most casual users of my generation, it's a mix of current actual friends, high school and college people you've lost touch with, family, perhaps some coworkers. The majority of my Facebook friends easily fit in to the "lost touch with" category. The problem is: do you know which of your high school buddies grew up to be racists and bigots and which didn't? I don't. I know who had babies, and who got married, and who went to Cabo last week, but I have no idea what the views of most folks are unless they're the kind of person who is constantly posting about their views.Most people I know who post "just unfriend me if" statements either a) are big on being part of social media trends, b) care a LOT about their Facebook friend list and like to remove and add people or c) the type of person who posts a lot of political stuff on Facebook. I have a friend who decided he would never have more than 100 FB friends, so to add someone he has to remove someone. People are like that. I just shrug about it, because to me, the way I use Facebook doesn't require me to approve of the private thoughts of everyone I'm connected to. You don't see posts like that on LinkedIn, and I think of Facebook more as a networking app than anything else, so I treat it like LinkedIn. I get my politics on Twitter :)

    Oh, and Dogs Rule, Cats Drool. Ok, dogs are the ones who drool, but still, they're so much better than cats! :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I come from a conservative religious background, and today I work - and love working - in the more liberal circles of the internet.

    Hear, hear! Only I'm working in the more liberal circles of academia. I just have to be careful what I say and hope that the two groups don't throw down in my FB comments. :)

    I've been on the internet for about fifteen years now, and lately I have become seriously distressed over this exact issue, because it wasn't like this when I first got online. If we only speak to the people who agree with us, it creates a giant echo chamber and reinforces all our worst ideas of the "others", and that can only damage us.

    --Adana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. I am an academic at heart, even though I teach homeschool high-schoolers instead of college kids now, and the most distressing thing I find on facebook--and in the media in general--is complete intolerance for opposing views. As a rhetoritician, it is dismaying also that slander is the dominant argumentative "strategy"--in the main stream media too! As a nation we are fast losing our ability to engage with others in civil discourse--we just try to shout down and bully silent those who dis agree with us. Please, please, those of you reading this excellent discussion Jen began--please make sure you are not doing it! For the sake of the generations to come, for the sake of liberty and America! : )

      Delete
  18. Too bad sending this to someone would also be horrible internet (and otherwise!) etiquette.

    Thank you. I love that this is a place where people are nice, and I love that you can see the benefit from multiple viewpoints!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm hardly ever on FB and mostly have 'friendships' with actual friends and family. I only follow a few pages, such as Cake Wrecks and Epbot (of course!). I have not seen these ultimatums of which you speak, but I don't see the point. Yes, can't we all just get along, but also, if we can't, I'm just going to unfriend you. I don't need to make it a huge deal. If you post some crazy rant, I may comment an opposing view before I unfriend you, but I think that is as far as it needs to go. I don't need to then 'threaten' the rest of my friends with unfriendship just because they are not exactly like me.

    -Just Andrea

    ReplyDelete
  20. This post makes me glad I "infrequent" facebook. I do have an account but check in about twice a year. It's an OK frequency to drop casual contacts a "Hi, how have you been?" message. All my other friends have other means to contact me. Also, I don't ever read my feed, so haven't seen those posts yet.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ugh, my dog and I are insulted! The cat looks pretty smug though. I gave up on Facebook a while back for numerous reasons and do not regret it one bit.

    ReplyDelete
  22. and Jen drops the mic.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Well said, Jen! It seems like it's easier to loudly and rudely demand "tolerance" (which I think gets mistakenly defined as "hearty acceptance and approval") than to calmly and civilly discuss opposing viewpoints and even leave those topics off the table, if need be. Thanks for the reminder that we can be tolerant, and even *gasp* friends, without being shamed or vilified for having our own opinions, too.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thank you so much for this!! It is definitely something I have noticed recently, and if I had gotten rid of those friends that I disagreed with, I would have lot 1/2 to 3/4 of my friends about 2 months ago. I had a number of friends who did post that, and it annoyed me to no end. It got so bad that I was close to deciding that it was time for a break from Facebook. I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who feels that you shouldn't have to 100% agree with someone in order to be their friend.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I always said if you want to have someone who agrees with you 100% on 100% of the things you say and think, befriend a mirror.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it was Anne Graham who said, "If two people agree on everything, then one of them is redundant."

      Delete
  26. Perfectly expressed. This country needs more friendships between people who disagree. I also share your background but also have friends with very different views. If someone's posts start irking me, I unfollow or hide temporarily. Seems like everything offends somebody these days. When did we get so arrogantly sensitive?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Ha! I did this for the first time very recently. And it was meant much more figuratively than literally. The topic I chose to post about is one of those things that I totally can't get my head around -- there are tons of things / people / foods / whatever that I don't like, but I can see how others could like them. Then there are those things where it's just incomprehensible that ANYONE could like said thing. I mean, I can see how some people like cauliflower, even though it smells like butt to me. Kale, on the other hand ... I can't wrap my brain around the idea that there are human beings who are not aliens wearing human skins who enjoy that stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Well said, Jen! Hear hear!

    I've never had a Facebook account and never will. I know that having a Facebook account is pretty much a necessity for anyone who is self-employed (bloggers like Jen and musicians like my husband), but the whole social media phenomenon really creeps me out.

    I think, just like anything else online, Facebook has the potential to be both wonderful and horrible. I know it has helped long-lost relatives find each other, reconnected old soul mates, brought people together for important causes, and even saved lives. But, like Jen mentions in this post, it can also be a whole lot of shit-slinging, pettiness, offensive diatribes, angry ultimatums, and other ridiculous nonsense. I know this because I am guilty of looking over my husband's shoulder while he is occasionally checking his Facebook feed.

    Sometimes, if I sit down in front of our computer and his Facebook page is still up, I even scroll through it for awhile on my own. This is never a good idea for someone like me. I just don't have the mental fortitude. As I scan the posts from people I don't even know, I become outraged, disgusted, disturbed, stunned, saddened, and embarrassed. I'm always aghast at what people who are probably perfectly "nice" and "normal" choose to put online for everyone to see.

    And then, there's also the seething jealously because seemingly everyone except us is living amazing lives and posting the pics to prove it: summer cabins, new jobs, second homes, traveling through Europe, South American band tours, cross-country family road trips, beach condos... And yet, by some strange compulsion, I am drawn to it. What is so addictive about looking at someone's vacation photos or pics of what she cooked for dinner? I have no idea, but that is one reason I will never have a Facebook account: it's mostly a huge, mindless, energy-sapping, envy-inducing time-suck. Another reason I'll never have one is safety, security, privacy, and my paranoia that just having a Facebook account violates every one of those.

    Anyway, all this to say Facebook sucks. If you're on Facebook, keep the hate to yourself; don't put it out there just to get a reaction and start an argument! If you have to use social media, use it for good. Play nice. Practice acceptance. Use Jen's tips in a previous post to narrow your Facebook feed to trusted sources of happiness and joy and inspiration. You can just stop following the people who really piss you off so that you won't see their posts anymore. You don't have to respond to them, antagonize them, or unfriend them.

    Or, like Jen suggests, you could just tolerate them and, if you actually know them, try to remember what you like/love about them when they post stuff you disagree with (if you're more mentally healthy than I am). Almost everyone has redeeming qualities, so focus on the positives. It's good to not agree 100% with everyone you know. Wouldn't that be boring? Doesn't respecting differing viewpoints make you grow as a person? Try to understand where they're coming from. Start a non-confrontational conversation. Validate their emotions. Set a good example.

    Oh, and by the way, dogs AND cats are awesome, but rabbits are much better than cats, and horses are vastly superior to dogs. So, there! ;-)

    And, Missy (above), kale is freaking delicious.

    Peace,
    KW

    ReplyDelete
  29. Yes. This. All of this. Except the part about cats being better than dogs. All the rest is gold.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha ha ha ha... I agree.. ;) lol ;)

      Delete
  30. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    ReplyDelete
  31. You know, I've had more conservative acquaintances quietly unfriend me, but I've never seen anyone throw a fit over it. Political science is what I studied. I'm going to discuss it on Facebook because that's how I keep in contact with other people who studied with me, and it's my passion. MOST of my Facebook friends have strong political opinions and I'll take that over apathy any day. I don't think there's anything wrong with discussing important things on Facebook. I don't begrudge my teacher friends for posting comments about grading papers or lesson plans, I tend to either squeal or cry over my vet friend's posts, and I smile over my Whovian friends' posts even though I have no idea what they're talking about; I should be allowed to talk about my field of expertise, too. People who know me well enough to know my background understand where my passion lies and either put up with it or unfollow my posts, which they're welcome to do. I don't know or care about it.

    That said, not all of us even have the choice to be apolitical, Jen. A cisgender, heterosexual white person might have that luxury, but the rest of us don't. (Personally, I'd argue that women don't really have that choice either, but I've seen so many instances of the "I don't need feminism because" line of thought that I don't know what to think.) People who are LGBTQ+ and people of color can't divorce their lives from politics because everyone else decided that some of us are "political issues" rather than human beings.

    I'm gay. I don't get to be apolitical or refrain from taking a stand on Facebook or anywhere else. If I talk about the date I went on last night or announce my engagement or the adoption or birth of a child, I'm making a statement, whether I want to or not. Society's decided that my existence is something that they can legislate and a subject upon which they can agree or disagree, and somehow people who are horrible to people like me still get to be liked and respected and not thought of as a horrible person for, well, being a horrible person.

    They say it's a bad idea to read the comments on a post, and that's a decent rule of thumb, but even posts that are usually pretty safe from awful comments in the cis/hetero world (weddings, babies, dating etc.) bring out an astonishing amount of cruelty and vitriol if the subjects happen to be the same sex or don't fit constructed gender norms. I couldn't even post about planning my own wedding or my kid without it being political. It's not a choice I get to make.

    I appreciate and agree with the majority of your post, Jen. The people who make these sorts of ultimatums are behaving childishly and adding unnecessary drama to a problem with simple solutions. That said, I think it's important to remember that being able to remain apolitical is a privilege that not everyone has. -TAL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the post, Jen said, "You can't be friends with someone who doesn't value you as a person." and I think that's at the core of it. If one of your friends on Facebook (or in real life for that matter) doesn't respect you or doesn't see your worth, unfriend them and don't look back.

      Delete
  32. I want to share a brief story that... ok, is going to sound like Godwin's Law taken to eleventy thousand, but here we go. I have facebook friends that I'm friends with because we're friends. And I have facebook friends for networking reasons. And recently one of the networking friends, who had up until that time been posting stuff generally related to the subject-with-which-I-had-reason-to-network decided to weight in on the recent issues concerning race and police brutality.

    Specifically, he posted a image macro with a quote from a famous dictator and then went off on a rant about if minorities were so convinced they were oppressed maybe people should round them all up and get rid of them and then they won't be oppressed anymore.

    And you know, honestly that shook me up all day. I unfriended, but it still bothers me. And the fact he had at least half a dozen friends (not mutuals, thankfully) commenting and agreeing and making it very clear he wasn't just someone with amazingly poor taste in satire.

    I think I could probably safely post "If you honestly think genocide is an awesome thing, please unfriend me!" without feeling too sanctimonious. But I will admit that it did bother me knowing he was on my friendslist for so long and I didn't know.

    ReplyDelete
  33. This is one of your BEST. POSTS. EVER.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I've unfriended people for their political view being too far right for my liking. Yes when i knew them in person i didn't know that, but once i did, well, i just didn't think of them the same way. If they were pro the (Aussie) politician they were pro, they couldn't be the caring person they seemed to be. I didn't rant, though, I just quietly unfriended. I also, however have had to put another friend who has the same views as me onto ignore because he posts political stuff all the time. I mean, the only friends he must have left must have the same opinions as him, so why bother?

    Actually I'd like us all to go back to posting pictures of our meals and cats and kids and telling each other what we did or felt today, because i am over all the shares of memes and causes, and that seems all we see now. I think the, "people who talk about themselves on FB are selfish," thing made us all too scared to post what matters, but really, if we aren't actually learning about what is happening in the lives of our nearests and dearests, why bother at all?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Internet commenting has been a terrible blow to society.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Aaaaaand this is one of the many reasons why I'm not on FB, Twitter, Instagram, Oom-Pah-Pah or what ever the newest and bestest social media platform is this week.

    I appreciate those who are on social media (especially those wonderful bloggers who highlight wrecky cakes and their crafting genius -- hi Jen and john!). However, I want to pick and choose what I see and read on the Internet. I have enough drama in my life; I don't need to go hunting for more. I realize that I'm probably missing out on connecting with people I'd enjoy, including catching up with old friends/classmates/etc. I guess that's the trade-off.

    As always, I appreciate your thoughtful and open approach to an important issue.

    ~Zippy

    P.S. I always thought of myself as a cat person, but I've become a dog person (she's on the couch next to me a-snorin' away -- she's louder than my hubby and that's saying something!). I've also had my share of rodents, reptiles, amphibians, fish, crustaceans and arachnids, so I guess I'm just a "pet person." Does that count?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oom-Pah-Pah! Holy dang, that was my second favorite thing about this blog post (the first being the actual post).

      Delete
  37. honestly, i believe this is exactly why i prefer twitter over facebook. people seem to "fight" much more on fb because they have more room. 140 is beautiful.
    :)
    i wish more people understood the concept that we all don't have to agree (what a boring world that would be!), but we have to respect that there are actual people on the other end of their keyboard and those actual people are more than just one soundbite and those actual people have actual feelings as well.
    (related, do you agree with run-on sentences?!)

    ReplyDelete
  38. This vid tho: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WHRerf-lrw

    ReplyDelete
  39. I had this issue with a friend over the usage of "Merry Christmas" vs "Happy Holidays". He unfriended me, and I sent him a private message saying, "I thought we were bigger people than resorting to pouting and unfriending over a simple disagreement of opinion!" Ha apologized and re-friended me saying he couldn't believe he'd almost lost a good friend over something so stupid.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Removing people from my newsfeed but remaining friends with them has been a god-send. And honestly, I've only done it to two people. And even though one of them does have very different political opinions than I do, she was blocked because she just. constantly. updated. all. the. time. It was tiring, man.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I love this post!! We need to have a bit more tolerance of people! I myself work for the Republican party in PA now, in the very Capitol building. I grew up in an extremely liberal house where the very word 'Republican' was treated like the worst of curse words. But after college, I needed a job and was desperate. So I took what I was offered.

    And I've learned SO much through this experience. Not every Republican is the same, some are good and some are not so good. But the same is with the Democrats. And there is a lot more working together in the government that ever gets publicized. (which makes me happy).

    It has taught me more tolerance and understanding than I could possibly say. I never in a million years thought I would last long here, but I'm going on 3 years now and have no plans on switching. I love my job and my coworkers. Our differences are less important than I would thought when I was younger. I kind've wish everyone would be forced to work in an environment they consider the 'enemy' for awhile just to see that maybe, just maybe, they aren't as evil as you originally thought.

    And no, they have not altered my views or 'brainwashed' me. My beliefs are still by and large the same I've always had. I just can see things from different points of view better now :)

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I call it "Facebook Politics"

      I wouldn't be surprised if the dudes with the loudest most vitriolic public image are doing the most bipartisan work behind closed doors. Most of it is a kayfabe of sorts.

      Delete
    2. I love that Joani! YES we should all have to get to know the people we view as "other" whomever they are. Because with understanding comes empathy! We would all get along so much better. I posted an article link way down at the bottom of this post--you would like it! The link is called "My Coming Out As a Friend"

      Delete
  42. Cats rule! And dog people are okay as long as they don't leave the dog out to bark all night long or set it loose to sniff/lick/attack the innocent. It's so nice to see a reasonable post. I hope it goes viral. I will be sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I think the "attention everyone" posts are exactly that...attention-seeking. And also immature and ridiculous and one-sided. But sometimes YOU do have to unfriend someone. I have lots of friends with different political leanings, but when one friend's "I don't like Obama" turned into "He's not really an American" devolved into "He might be a lizard person" and then became "I hope his whole family dies in a fiery car crash", and then of course the natural progression (?) to "All Muslims must die"...well, that goes beyond "differing opinions" and into CrazyLand. My Facebook is part of my public persona, and when my OTHER friends are able to see violent, threatening posts against the President being posted to my wall by a "friend"...well, sometimes you've just gotta call "Uncle" and back away slowly.

    A general thought...The Internet gives crazies a chance to find each other like never before...that guy who lived down your street who wore the tinfoil hat and ranted about government conspiracies? Back in the day, you kept a polite distance and he was alone in his lunacy. Today, he can hop online and find THOUSANDS or MILLIONS of people who are exactly like him, and those numbers give the feeling of legitimacy to anyone's craziness. That one girl in high school who had an eating disorder? Now she can go online and find "support groups" that teach her how to keep her parents from involuntarily committing her to treatment, and telling her that her skeletal body is beautiful, and giving her tips about how to get even thinner.

    There's an upside to the increased connectivity...it's nice to be able to find other people like you and find support for things when you thought you were the only one in the whole world who..., but it's also become really easy for people with dangerous opinions or mental health issues to find people who are willing to cheer them on instead of reeducate them or get them into treatment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That girl with an eating disorder? She can also go online and find out that she's not a "crazy" and that she can get help without being automatically committed. A major fear of teenagers with mental illnesses is that they will be committed to a facility and have no control over it. And she needs to be told she's beautiful no matter what she looks like and that being healthy in body and mind is more important. What harm is there in people with outlandish opinions finding each other? So what if he wears a tinfoil hat and talks about aliens with his buddies! It's a better hobby than farmville and candy crush.

      Delete
    2. Maybe you are not familiar with "pro-Ana" websites. It is certainly not "help" for someone with an eating disorder.

      Delete
    3. Of course those websites aren't helpful. They don't cancel out the real help that online communities can bring. I can find a "Beat your sinful homosexual ways with Christ" website just as easily as a "Being gay is okay" website. The internet means that a harmful message cannot cancel out a helpful one, just because the one has more power. How many people with mental illness live their lives with friends and family telling them there is something fundamentally wrong with them and it's all their fault? They're afraid of being seen as "crazy" so they hide it and try to deal with it on their own. For all the problems the internet has, bringing people together and showing them that being ill or disabled or just different isn't a character flaw.

      There a plenty of places where a girl with an eating disorder can talk to people who have gone through the same thing and receive support on helping her deal with her eating disorder. People who have gone for therapy and counseling or entered a facility where they found help. When someone says "I went to this clinic and these things happened and it was so helpful" it can remove some of the fear of entering a clinic. It can give her the courage to tell her parents or another adult. Instead of a secret shame "There is something wrong with me, why am I this way, it's my fault" she can see others who have beaten the disorder. That's very important and it's something she might not have if her parents don't understand or if they deny it.

      Knowing that you're not alone is very important when things seem insurmountable and sometimes the people nearest you geographically or biologically only make you feel more alone. God knows I need someone to tell me "I understand" every November when I talk about how important my writing is...and the universe answered with the NaNoWriMo forums. I've seen people request certain kinds of fanfics on prompt memes saying "...because I feel like giving up" and ten people pop up to say "Email/IM/Skype me if you need to talk."

      Yes, I do feel very strongly about this, why do you ask?

      Delete
  44. I have had to defriend a couple of people over political/personal issues (as a lesbian married to Christian minister with a kid in the military, I have a couple of hot-button issues that tend to make me very uncomfortable). I've also hidden a few that I want to occasionally check in on, but not to see their diatribes - one of them, a close relative, doesn't even seem to notice that I don't comment on anything he posts anymore, but still respond to Facebook messages directly to me about a mutual relative that is very sick. There isn't much I'd say that would make my 'if you believe this, unfriend me or I will' list - the folks that sent out messages that gay people were destroying the country and should be convicted of treason and hung (yes, as bluntly as that) went away, as did the 'all Christians are intolerant jerks that should be sent to concentration camps' (again, direct quote) and the 'military people are all murderers and idiots being used as puppets by a corrupt government', too. I will admit, I've hidden the 'God wants gays to die' and the 'fat people are horrible and should just get their jaws wired' ones, too - but thankfully, that's been a grand total of about 2% of my Facebook friends. I still have a couple of right wing nut jobs (posting confederate flags and guns) and left wing nut jobs (posting that doTerra oils and homeopathic water will cure my narcolepsy) on my feed, but I mostly ignore them, and when they repost from their nutty friends, I hide the posts from those sources so that I never need to see them again (a feature I LOVE). I still care about these people as human beings (and some of them are family, practically family, or long standing friends). I just choose to not allow them to assault me with their more virulent opinions that impact me personally.

    Thanks for saying all this, Jen - you are far more eloquent that I could be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now see, this is where I think I don't fit in on facebook. Because a lesbian married to a Christian minister with a kid in the military? Even if I don't agree with half of that (guess which half, ha!) you sound like a person who doesn't fit into boxes--and it would be so interesting to talk with you. : ) I don't have to agree with people to like them--but I do care if they disagree about that. And I think that's the thing on facebook--seems like most people just post for people just like themselves, and end up offending and alienating everybody else.

      Delete
  45. Love ya Jen! Thank you for once again taking something many of us are feeling, and putting down on virtual paper perfectly. I will be sharing this on my facebook feed.

    ReplyDelete
  46. My mom was a dyed in the wool Liberal Democrat and her best friend was a dyed in the wool Conservative Republican.
    They had many vigorous discussions and yet still remained friends. They knew their vote (both worked the polls) would cancel each other out but they voted and that was all that counted. I was taught not to judge a book by it's cover until you read 1/3 of it. Same goes for people on soapboxes defending their point of view. Talk to them reasonably , if possible, before labeling them as "THEY". You might be surprised at what you find behind the verbage.

    ReplyDelete
  47. As has happened before, I read your post and thought "how I wish Jen and I could be friends in real life!" Thank you for putting it far better than I could!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I've seen this so much on Facebook lately its annoying. I have some very conservative views and some more liberal, but I get really tired of my "family" starting fights cause I disagree with them. I have had to block so many posts cause it just makes me angry. And when you present the facts, its like a playground in second grade trying to get through their logic.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Perfectly stated! If you only surround yourself with people who think like you, you will never grow or change the world.
    We need to drop the idea that a differing opinion equals hate. Sometimes it just equals different.

    ReplyDelete
  50. I just really like you so very much. :)

    ReplyDelete
  51. While, I have never done the attention everyone if you don't agree with xyz unfriend me. I have quietly unfriended people whose opinions I cannot be ok with ever. I have friends and family whose opinion I severely disagree with and as such we do not discuss certain things. However, if said friends and family started to rant about these things and constantly cram them down my throat. I can honestly say we wouldn't associate. I do not say everyone you associate has to agree but they should be respectful about it. If i say I do not agree and I do not want to discuss it either, the request should be respected, if not, for me at least, it means you do not respect my boundaries and I am not OK with people who can not respect a boundary.

    ReplyDelete
  52. On August 4, 1987, the FCC rescinded the Fairness Doctrine, which required radio and TV stations to present multiple sides of controversial issues. Maybe the reason people can't tolerate others' viewpoints is because they've only been fed one viewpoint for most of the last 30 years. They don't know how to see the other side of an issue any more.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I have someone that I thought was a internet friend (known him online since 1998, friends with his now wife) who has been increasingly intolerant of anyone who doesn't have his same opinion about just about any popular talking point you can think of. I usually don't express my opinions at all because I don't want to be a target. Yesterday he posted a long tirade about science and ended it by deciding to idiot shame (his words) those who dissented, even family members.

    I don't know these family members but I am firmly against bullying, which I feel shaming of any kind is. I posted a well-thought out post about opinions and ended it with what *I* thought was a perfectly reasonable comment that "idiot shaming is like fat shaming or ugly shaming- just because you can do it doesn't mean you should". & yes, you guessed it, he proceeded to attack me.

    In this case, I unfriended him because I am definitely opposed to being attacked for trying to point out a better way to act. *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
  54. There are things people post that will certainly lead me to quietly unfriend them ... because, no, I don't want to be associated with that. (Racism, homophobia, etc.) I sincerely can't respect someone who thinks that way, and respect is necessary for a friendship, I think. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Do you? But I would do it myself, not post something like what you cited.

    I'm not sure if it counts, but I've also set people straight when they're disseminating urban legends and, especially, bad science, because the latter can seriously hurt people and I won't let that go.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Years back I decided that I would not discuss politics, religion or sexual orientation when it came to family. I came from a very disjointed family group and married into a very verrrrrryyyyyyyyyy conservative bunch. (Like small town, bible belt, the road used to be used for kkk stuff...town) My husband isn't like that, but the family is. One of the family members is a frequent crap poster to fb. I've had to "unfollow" him as I don't need that negativity in my feed. It's worked great for me. I took the same sort of stance when it comes to fb. I don't post, share or deal with the large majority of politics on fb. My actual group of friends knows we can always have a decent debate in person, but I'm not going to argue on a social media site about it. Those friends have various views and yet we are all still friends. Do we always come to an agreement at the end of a chat about a controversial topic? Nope, and that's fine. Sometimes we change each others views, sometimes we don't.
    Those types of posts, as do all the Share if you love Jesus, ignore if you hate him, or Share if you are the 1% who care get ignored. They don't do any good in the long run. If someone in my feed was really a bother to me, I'd unfriend them, and FB has made it even easier with the unfollow function as I don't have to Unfriend a family member, I can just hide them. Then poke my head in from time to time to make sure I'm not missing something important.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I totally agree with what you're saying here. I think I have unfriended a few people over the years - like the guy who posts non-stop political memes. And I unfriended the family member who suddenly started attacking all of us for our views-completely unprovoked, by the way.

    Lately I've taken a different tactic though... I've had enough of negativity in general. I have filled my facebook newsfeed with positive things, art, and beautiful photography. I have unfollowed a few friends who continue to post angry or hateful things (on both sides of politics and religion). I tend not to post my own view points on facebook or twitter because it's easier.

    For the record, I believe that dogs are better than cats. But that's a personal choice and I have a lot of cat loving friends and I totally understand their reasons for liking cats better than dogs. And I'm still friends with them anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. I don't come to Facebook to be provoked or feel bad about what I think. I have only unfriended one person who constantly posted stuff that made me crazy to see. I thought about it a long time and I decided if we were at a party standing in a group, would I stand there and listen to her spout off all this junk? No, I wouldn't. I would move on. So I did. Unlike many people on Facebook, I personally know all my friends and could call them on the phone. I also don't have hundreds of friends on my Facebook. I like it that way. I'm fine with agreeing to disagree but I don't see the point in having someone up in your face all the time.

      Delete
  57. People hide behind the Anonymous.
    We are afraid of confrontation. We are afraid to tell you how we feel to your face. We are afraid of taking a stand in person. Our backbones have started deteriorating. But when we get on the computer we have a need to tell a child they're worthless while playing a video game or tell the world our feelings about Obama, or the gay community, or the fact that the neighbor is an incessant jackass who never turns his music down.

    Here's how I feel about it: I don't care. I don't go on an adding spree on FB. The only friends I have on there are people I know and have met (and can stand) in real life. People have their opinions. I respect them. If I don't agree with you? I won't say anything. If I do agree with you? I won't say anything. Not my place, and I don't care.

    Whatever your religious beliefs are, cool. Whatever you vote for, cool. Whoever you love, cool. I don't care. Just don't push your ideas on me if I don't already feel that way. Not everyone is going to agree with you. Not everyone is going to like you. Who cares! As long as you like yourself, that's all that matters. You are the only one who has to put up with you for life.
    --Piper P from Washington State

    ReplyDelete
  58. What about those "opposite" posts...? the ones that are like: "SHARE THIS OR YOU HATE YOUR MOTHER/hate Jesus/HATE KITTENS/eat babies" posts? Who are the people perpetuating those? Or even "SHARE THIS IF YOU LOVE your mom/your daughter/your late best friend". I won't be guilt-ed into accumulating likes or shares either way-- but who the heck keeps those going?

    Sometimes I roll my eyes so much at FaceBook it gives me a headache.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THESE are the posts that drive me most crazy! And the ones that are like "you're probably not a very good friend, so if you really are you have to prove it by reading this whole thing and then replying something very specific in the comments." Sometimes I just post different things (or not at all) just out of spite at being guilted. ;)

      Delete
  59. If you don't think I'm a full human being who deserves respect, I don't want you in my life. Period. If you think I'm going to "hell" because I'm not straight, or that I owe subservience to the men in my life because I'm a woman, or that I don't deserve food because I'm poor, or that I don't deserve to be in public because I'm fat, or that I don't deserve to make my own decisions because I have a mental illness then no, I don't need your "opposite" views in my life. They don't "balance" me. That's not what "balance" is. They other me and make me feel like shit and I don't allow people who think it's okay to make me feel like shit in my life.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I'm not on Facebook to pursue a crusade. I just want to see pics of friends and families and be part of their lives. I have been unfriended for this view. I have hidden friends feeds because all they do is rant on the same topics. I have unfriended people who cannot stop talking about their chosen topic. If I post a pic of my kid playing soccer it is not an invitation to rant against religion or bash political candidates. It is my kid playing soccer, that's all.

    And I don't care what you tag me in or the cause it is for, I will not spend my money or dump ice water on my head because Facebook told me to. Just say to peer pressure.

    ReplyDelete
  61. For this reason, I have recently immersed myself in the reddit community. They have to be civil to each other and they are really funny, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooooh, be careful there. MRAs practically run some of the darker corners of Reddit.....

      Delete
  62. A friend of mine did one of those.

    "IF YOU'RE A REPUBLICAN I DON'T WANT YOU IN MY LIFE. UNFRIEND ME NOW!"

    My response:
    "You damn well know I'm not one but this sort of intolerant hate-mongering bullshit is not something I'm going to tolerate out of my friends. Consider it done."

    I kept blowing him off from that point forward until he got the hint and gave up. This is the bullshit that will lead our nation into it's next civil war. I'm not going to let anyone who contributes to that into my life.

    ReplyDelete
  63. *clap, clap, clap, clap, clap*

    I love you so much right now.

    I am friends with/follow on Twitter/reblog on Tumblr people that I don't always agree with, but as long as the tone of the discussions remain respectful, I'll never remove someone (or publically encourage them to remove me.) However, I have removed people I've agreed with when I feel they are disrespectful just for the sake of being disrespectful.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. Much needed sanity. Thank you, Jen.

    I've been on a facebook fast this past week because things have gotten so ugly there--the final straw was that a "well-meaning" but very politically-leaning extended family member posted an article that called Those Who Might Logically Disagree "Fucking Idiots." Yes, really. The title of the article told people what to think, and told them what they were if they dared think differently. And the family member knew she had relations who would disagree, so how could she have posted that without meaning to upset us? Double ouch. (And the article was trying to say a very well documented bit of evil going on in our nation right now wasn't really happening, so triple ouch.)

    Facebook should be such a space for blessing, but for me it is just. . . hard.

    But in the spirit of your posting today, I'd like to share two articles! Please at least glance at them--such truth about not fearing confrontation with those who see us not as who we are, and how we can be fully and beautifully ourselves with others when we are not threatened by differences!

    My Coming Out As a Friend

    The Gift of Mistreatment

    I'll be your friend ANYDAY.

    ReplyDelete
  65. I have friends all over the various political spectra, and I definitely don't agree with all of them on all their points of view. But I do try to understand *why* they believe what they do. And that understanding help me to remember a)why they're my friend and b)that we care about a lot of the same issues, we just search for solutions in different ways.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Maybe people are AFRAID of having their minds changed! As a scientist, I'm totally comfortable with changing my views as new information comes in, but I'm always amazed at hearing a lot of people saying science/research is all bulls*** because things that are 'known' change all the time. (Er, that's how it's supposed to work, and how you know the process is good!) Maybe the same thinking applies to all other areas of their life...

    ReplyDelete
  67. There's a spectrum on this one. The guy who I gently rejected multiple times who sent me a friend request of facebook years later (you know, once it had been invented and all)-- I had no problem unfriending him when he started posting tons of anti-feminist posts. The person who was an intern at my job for a summer 6 years ago who now only posts horrifying animal rights stories? No big issue unfriending her either. People who I actually will see and interact with? That's another matter. Facebook "friends" are not always people who you have a realtime relationship with. There are different rules for interacting with the,.

    ReplyDelete
  68. I disagree with you but I have to say that this is never a problem for me, because intolerant people were already unfriended by me a long time ago. Why should you have to deal with people's crap on Facebook that you can't stand? I mean, I agree that 'unfriend me if you think ANYTHING differently' is stupid but- if someone is anti-feminist, pro-life, hates welfare/other races/constantly posts Confederate Flag "southern pride" rhetoric and you know they're just a bigot, EVEN if they don't identify that way...there is enough hate in the world. Sever ties with those who just promote hate.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I love this. Thanks. I use FB simply to keep in touch with people who I don't get to see very often, including my family. I would rather not have to read/hear political tirades at all (that's one good reason why we don't have a TV--miss all the negative political ads). But it's easy enough to simply scroll down the page and read something else instead.

    Has anyone here read Jon Ronson's book "So You've Been Publicly Shamed"? It has some fascinating stuff about internet comments and people using social networking as a means to do a lot of name calling, insulting, and other tiring behavior--and even criminal (or borderline criminal) behavior (threatening, stalking, posting addresses, names of people's children, etc.). It is an interesting time we live in, and the need for civility is even greater because of the speed with which things can spread.

    If I have a FB friend who posts something that is patently untrue, I'll gently call them on it (with references to reliable sources) but otherwise I'll just skip over the screeds and read something else. I agree with folks who have commented here that it can be enlightening to read others' opinions about things and not simply read things I agree with. But they have to be thoughtful and fair, and not just screaming memes. (ha ha! I may have just made that up?)

    ReplyDelete
  70. So I must be own of those few hermits still not on Facebook, but I think your perspective also translates to friendship in general and I thank you for sharing such wise words. Of course cats are better than dogs! ;) lol. Seriously, I hope we're able to finally meet up one day - thank you for all the spunk, creativity, and geekiness you enrich my life with! :)

    ReplyDelete
  71. I have Facebook friends that I quietly mute when certain things come up in the news or we hit a point in the election cycle. I don't mention it, I don't make a fuss, and it's not forever. I just figure that there are some people I want to keep liking and I'm not going to if the name-calling and so on starts. Often, I have people on both sides of an issue that I'm quietly ignoring while they go off the deep end. I mean, I'm strong-willed and opinionated and perfectly thrilled with a good debate, but this nastiness does nothing for me (and I don't want to present myself that way,) so I avoid the situations where it can get out of hand.

    ReplyDelete
  72. It exhausts me having to explain to my more...'unaware' friends why what they're saying is sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. I'd just rather not bother.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Well said, Jen. :) I've found that when political time comes around, it's easier just to unfollow for a while. That way, you can remain friends and retain your sanity. Especially if it ratchets up you anxiety to the point where you can't function (as it does with me.) People who really know me know where I stand on things. If they don't like it, tough...not my problem. :)

    ReplyDelete
  74. I'm a long time follower but I don't comment often. This post brought on yet another "I love Jen Yates" moment, so I thought I'd say so. Thanks for reminding everyone that there are real humans on the other side of the internet!

    ReplyDelete
  75. I'm in the gray with this one. I'm not the type who would actually *post* that. But I have and will continue to unfriend people who are diametrically opposed to certain key issues. The only exception is family, and I will block it down so I don't have to see any of their nonesense too, if they are bad enough. Some things you know you aren't going to change your mind on (civil rights).

    ReplyDelete

Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>