A couple days ago I had an experience that completely unnerved me.
Someone with whom I had an intense virtual friendship with, but had never met in person, unfriended me on Facebook with no warning.
I was surprised at my reaction. The abruptness of her unfriending stirred up deep feelings of rejection and insecurity within me. I was also angry…not just at her, but at myself for getting so upset over this situation.
If we had a “real life” friendship then it would make more sense that I’d feel so deeply hurt, but I’ve always been a very sensitive person and her decision cut me to the quick.
I was aware she had serious mental health challenges. Despite knowing she was fragile, I let down my guard with her in our messages and live Facebook chats. She gave me her phone number and invited me to call her anytime if I needed to talk. I never took her up on the offer, but I was moved by her willingness to listen.
Recently, when I stated my opinion on Facebook about an issue I believed in passionately, I noticed her virtual demeanor changed. She vehemently, irrationally lashed out at another Facebook friend of mine, and that was the beginning of the end.
I’ll back up a bit…last year I took a long Facebook hiatus. Then I decided to try Facebook again and I made a new rule for myself: I would only be friends with people I knew personally and with whom I had active relationships with. I no longer wished to be friends with people I hadn’t seen in years (excluding a few relatives and a couple exceptions). I didn’t want “trophy friends” or to maintain friendships with total strangers. I soon broke my rule, however, and this friend who I write of today was one of those exceptions.
God knows I’ve suffered broken friendships in real life that dissolved in much messier ways than a simple click of a button, and I got through those rejections intact.
Each day I will think less and less about this unfriending, but it’s still fresh in my mind and it hurts.
Writing about this unfriending helps me; writing has always been a healthy catharsis. But writing doesn’t serve as a panacea for malice as much as I wish it did.
It occurred to me that maybe this person is having a crisis, and she acted out from an unstable place.
Being cut off in five seconds flat is the risk anyone takes with social media friendships. I hope that this is the first and last unfriending I have on Facebook.
Update 10/1/15 – Unfortunately it wasn’t the last unfriending! 😦
Please see this link for a tale of the 2nd unfriending that was rather bizarre:
In attempt to feel better, since this unfriending occurred I’ve been mumbling affirmations such as “I am a great friend” and “I am kind”. I don’t want this experience to sour my soul more than it already has. I’ll pay more attention to my beautiful girls, my husband, and myself – my virtual friendships need to take a backseat for now. I hope that my “unfriend” finds peace and healing, and that she can turn to a network of friends who won’t give up on her even when the going gets rough.
To quote the great Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live:
“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”
And here’s an insightful quote by Jenn Talley:
Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of the acclaimed book Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press next year.