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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

#TR30Days Unfriending Pt 2

Once upon a time, the act of BEING a friend meant something. I mean, I know it still does; but I think it used to mean something quite a bit more. Friendships took time to develop and there was an exclusivity that surrounded those relationships that had an air of trust, privacy, and equity. You had to BE there for one another.. present & accounted for in conversation. I remember my Mother saying, "You can't BE FRIENDS with everyone; it's not realistic... and you wouldn't want it to be. The fact that people select their friends make them special; if you're FRIENDS with everyone then how special is it really?"

Good point. Score one for Mom.

Today, we function quite a bit differently - Today we have the "Insta-Friendship" and as such, friendships are much more disposable; incidental with "What have you done for me lately?" seeming to be the mantra of the day for many... with an extremely short, selective memory. Maybe that makes sense, since as a society we've switched friendship from being selective to pretty much completely inclusive. 'Friends' are status and can be obtained with a click of the mouse. Ask most adults, and they'll tell you they know the difference between an online friend & a real life one... but, if you look at pretty much the majority of Gen Xers to my 12-year-old? They're just as involved in text messages/online conversations with 'friends' who aren't present as the ones they're sitting around a table with at whatever restaurant they're at. (1)

So, since it all came so easy; should it be any surprise that at the first sign of difficulty? They/We/Whatever... Unfriend.

Unfriending. This 'word of the year' (2) cracks me up. Today, it's done with a click and conversation isn't even necessary. And, BONUS! If you 'block' someone - you have what's essentially "the relationship eraser." You're just gone from existence... at least online. Offline, is it as easy? I guess for some. I'm never that lucky. Even when I do pretend someone has dropped off the face of the earth, (3) they still don't disappear. I end up running into them, inadvertently saying something that gets attributed to them even when it wasn't meant to be at all; or some other example of the Universe throwing us together. It used to make me a little wonky because, after all... we'd UNFRIENDED. Hellooooo... doesn't that essentially mean I don't have to deal with them anymore? Thought that was kind of the point.

Except, truly, it isn't. Not if you ever WERE friends on any real level. You just can't 'click' away caring about someone else... whether it's family, a romantic involvement, your best friend from second grade, or the weird guy from science that picked his nose but you took pity on him & became buddies because you knew somewhere deep down he was going to grow up to be a really nice guy who'd probably run the next Microsoft. (4) You can't wipe away your history... there really IS no 'relationship eraser' in the world of 3D. One of my fellow Twitter #TR30Days Tribe Members, Cherie ,really spoke well to that on her blog. She was overly kind to me in my opinion; but, I'll take it with thanks. :) In her blog, she hit on the "online relationship eraser" when said that we tend to just disappear:

"My understanding of the definition of un-friend: “The concept of deliberately taking someone’s noise out of your life.” When it comes to online relationships we do so in a somewhat cowardly way – we “x” them out to hide their posts. We “unfollow.” We “ignore.” We don’t tell them. We don’t look them in the eye and say – I can’t be your friend anymore because of …..whatever. We hope they never find out."

Word. That is kind of the way it's usually done. Even 3-Dimension-ally, we tend to just drop off the face of the earth. But maybe, just maybe, it shouldn't be. Or, if we're too uncomfortable with looking our "friend" in the eyes and explaining why we're going in a different direction... maybe we shouldn't be so quick to call them a 'friend' to begin with. Because if we do, even if we no longer have that 'friendly feeling;' we owe it to our once-friends (who might very well still care about us) to let them know the score. Otherwise?
Take a little more time to get to know them, assess their core against our own to see the mutual fit - or misfit - before we go 'all-in' and then maybe we won't later want to drop them. I don't know... this doesn't feel done; but I'm not quite sure where I'm wanting to go with it next... so, this might get a 're-edit' or there just might be a part 3. We'll see. :)

Thoughts? Message me; you know I love to know what you're thinking!

(1) I didn't USE to be part of this group; but it was pointed out recently that now, I am. Gonna work on that because that DOES drive me a little nuts.
(2) Seriously. 2009 - according to the New Oxford Dictionary... look it up if you want. :) I keep mentioning it because it TOTALLY cracks me up.
(3) which is, admittedly, very rare
(4) or potentially rule the world; but either way, not someone you want on your bad side

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