That nasty unfriending thing again

Glamorous's picture

It's been a rough year for friendships.

I found out this year in some not-so-nice ways that I get on many people's nerves. Like, a lot worse than I thought. And that a lot of people just plain don't like or respect me very much. I've had some ugly betrayal from family, and a couple of write-offs that both broke my heart and made me feel a sense of wrenching loneliness. I questioned my spidey-sense...why did I not see the handwriting on the wall? I grew mildly paranoid, wondering if I was not able to see the signs of a deteriorating relationship until it blew up in my face.

I wondered how many people have grown tired of me, but have been too polite to say so. I also wondered when the next surprise "Get Lost" was going to come out of that creepy spectre of the unanticipated, also known as Left Field.

I hadn't heard from a good friend for a couple months. We have never met in person, but have been active online buddies for about a decade. In fact, we met in an online support group for caregivers.

We've supported one another through raising our kids. She's kidded me through various relationships, and congratulated me when I finally gave up dating entirely. Her Vitamin-C-tart wit often left me gasping with laughter as I read of the latest events in her life. We swapped family pics.

Well, it may not be baseball season yet, but Left Field is looming large.

She and I were corresponding about Rat Pup. I sent a reply to her last email, and never heard back.

It was a bit odd...she'd asked me a lot about Rat Pup's arrival, and was delighted to notice that her daughter's son was born on the same date (not the same year, though) as Rat Pup. I answered that email, and that was the end.

Well, with all that's been happening around here, I chalked it up to her being busy with life. After all, she had husband, children grandchildren and siblings all living close by.

I didn't give it much thought, at first. Then I noticed that the group emails and forwards with jokes that she frequently sent out to her friend list had stopped arriving.

I sent an email asking if she was feeling ok.

Silence.

Out of curiosity, I searched my inbox and discovered that her last correspondence had arrived more than three months ago.

I'd emailed now and then, and sent her any good forwards that I'd received, but realized that I had not heard back in far, far too long.

We hadn't argued. We hadn't had any kind of issue. In our last correspondence, she had even asked what kind of gift Teen Parent and Pup Daddy might like for their Rat Pup.

I went on FB to see if her profile held any clues...had she gotten sick? Was her family having trouble? With my own financial issues still looming large, I wondered if perhaps she no longer had internet service.

She is still on FB all right, but to my surprise, she was no longer on my friend list.

I'd been unfriended.

On my beloved Farmville farm, she was no longer listed as neighbor.

I was startled. Hurt. Baffled. Why? Why? I had come to enjoy her company so much, and thought that she also enjoyed mine. After the many years that we'd been in contact, I felt a closeness with this person I thought to be a kindred spirit. I also felt angry with myself for having emotionally invested in this electronic relationship. I believed that we mutually valued one another. I felt safe in this world of bytes and pixels.

More than I miss the direct company, I miss believing in the friendship. I miss the lift of spirit and smile of anticipation when I would see new correspondence from her in my inbox. I miss the cheerful feeling that this person just plain liked me. I miss the comfortable satisfaction of knowing that with all of the bills and nastygrams and court notices and shut off warnings that flood my life right now, I also had the warmth of someone I could count on for her unfailing kindness.

It bothers the heck out of me that I had come to need this friendship. It bothers even more heck out of me that I didn't realize how important it had become to me. Maybe I was too needy? I didn't think so, but now...well...I just can't be sure.

Denial is acting as a bit of a buffer right now. Maybe she will email next week to tell me that there was an earthquake in Canada that wasn't reported here in the States, but wiped out all internet service. That the unfriending was caused by malware. That her hard drive was abducted by aliens.

The fashionable way to live right now requires not putting too much importance on anything outside of ourselves. Using neutral terms. Taking nothing personally, even when it feels very, very personal.

This is a mindset I have not yet mastered.

I will go look through my yarn stash and start a new knitting project. I will finish putting buttonholes in the coat that I have started making. I will learn the software required for the new job. I will hang out at the monthly sewing club I've discovered.

While I am doing all of that, a quiet, unfashionable part of me will whisper the question, "Why did my friend go away?"

Comments

Just Lucky's picture
Submitted by Just Lucky on

I empathize.
I had a friend apocalypse a few years ago.

The thing is, I just don't think it's fair to limit yourself based on your acquaintances' judgements.

You can only be you. if you have a wonderful friend that disappears after awhile... you still had a wonderful friend when you really needed one.

Sometimes things just expire. I like to believe that life has a way of making space for better experiences.

Best of luck. and of course, you're not alone.

greentara's picture
Submitted by greentara on

it creates more harm than good in my experience. i have quit and rejoined and when i did so i lost my long list of "friends", quite happily too (i don't believe in being "friends" with someone because we shared a math class 15 years ago). maybe your friend did this too, maybe she did have an issue with her email. sometimes things filter into my spam folder and it makes no sense.
if you don't feel like pursuing it, don't. i understand that.
but maybe you should give her some more time. we aren't always as we seem online. when shit goes wrong with me, i turn away from the computer. just a thought.
it really might not be personal.

enjoy your yarn.

shadeshaman's picture

in my band, we are writing a song called "The Unfriending". It's very dark and ominous sounding, and, thus far, there are only a few lyrics, a wail of "you unfriended me! you unfriended me!"
The song is a little silly, but it's cathartic. I've been unfriended on FB twice in the past year. It sucks, it sucks, it sucks.

"Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius"--Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

vkitty's picture
Submitted by vkitty on

It hurts, especially when it doesn't make sense. Mine came out of the blue, too. I messaged her asking what was up, and she told that sometimes she unfriends people that she just doesn't talk to a whole lot or see in person to keep her friend count low and easy to manage. I said, "Really? Because we just had coffee two weeks ago, and that was in person." No reply. It made no sense. The only thing I can figure is that I posted something on FB about healthcare or other political thing that she disagreed with. I mean, if you're going to unfriend me, I think I deserve to know why.

Sorry that happened to you. It sucks when it happens and I sympathize.

"Overcome the angry by non-anger; overcome the wicked by goodness; overcome the miser by generosity; overcome the liar by truth." -Buddha

Glamorous's picture
Submitted by Glamorous on

thank you all for understanding and lending support. I am so grateful for this site, and the people I've 'met' here. You have my sympathy for the unfriendings you've received as well.

After writing this post last night, I got an email from a friend of my daughter's. He was asking me to unfriend his recent ex-boyfriend. It seems that after their break up, he had decided to 'take his friends with him', and wanted everyone to whom he'd introduced the man to unfriend him en masse. Needless to say, I chose not to participate in this electronic stoning.

I cruised by the ex-boyfriend's profile and saw the status of "Wow...amazing how many people will be cruel for no reason...hurts like hell."

For heaven's sake! This unfriending thing has gotten totally out of hand.

Thanks again, everyone.

Glamorous

Memory is a crazy woman that hoards colored rags and throws away food. ~Austin O'Malley

Birdie's picture
Submitted by Birdie on

Friends don't let friends facebook.

That is what I have learned over the past year. I'm so glad that I quit it for good back in Sept. I ended up having a trusted buddy change my password for me with my permission. Once you quit for a couple of months, you realize how truly wonderful life is again. I just couldn't limit myself, especially when I needed to vent- the whole thing about virtual communication is that it really is very different from in person communication. 90% of communication is non-verbal (aka requires being IN PERSON) so the chances of misinterpretation are just too much for me in that realm. On Hip Mama it's the same thing, only we share anonymity and motherhood, as well as a frankly realistic and honest view of the world (for the most part). My creative nature has a hard time not jumping in and sometimes confusing the bejebuss out of people though....but that's the fun in being anonymous! Oh Virtual World... sigh. If you aren't being a jerk to folks, I wouldn't worry so much. The Internets are pretty scary these days- what with personal privacy combined with the room for misinterpretation etc., which is too bad because it takes away a lot of room for venting/self-expression. People can be who they want to in a virtual world, it's very pretendy- which can be fun but also cause all sorts of problems. I say quit facebook for a month and see how you feel. I checked my account via my friend the other day and I really couldn't believe that I had been part of that ridiculousness- I feel embarrassed for friends who are sucked into now because I remember what it was like. It's truly a strange brain-addiction, bleh. And it's too much for my inner smart-ass to handle. ;)

sebsmom's picture
Submitted by sebsmom on

There are things that I must admit I really do love about facebook - primarily that it helps me feel at least somewhat connected to people who are important to me who had previously been difficult to keep in touch with. It's also strengthened friendships... I've become much better friends with some people who I was really just acquaintances with back in hs or college because it's ended up that we have a lot more in common than either of us ever knew. For an introvert who HATES talking on the phone and doesn't have a lot of time to write individual e-mails, it's been pretty neat.
I do hate the things like "unfriending" etc. too. And sometimes it's really annoying when people you dislike or just don't care to correspond with, etc. add you as a friend. If you're like me, you don't want to be rude or hurt anyone's feelings so you usually accept but then have to watch what you write or post because there's certain people on your friends list that you don't want to see it. All that stuff is crappy, I agree.
But, for me, it's been more positive than negative.

Birdie's picture
Submitted by Birdie on

The friending/unfriending isn't what got to me(although it's a weird social phenomenon), it was the insanity of trying to decide who got to see what and the anxiety I would feel after posting something that was supposed to be a joke or reference to something in the past (I have never had a group of friends, just a lot of individuals in VERY different groups) and I got sick of the apathy/fights that I would have to deal with about my political posts- which I felt were relevant for sharing- some people will fight right on your page! Eeeks! I know at one point I was guilty of that as well- it's just too wonky and stressful. Online etiquette and what not, cause everyone has a different idea of what that is. And really, the final straw was having my aunt whom I trusted would see me as my wacky grownup self misinterpreting everything I wrote and writing comments as if I was some rowdy, irresponsible teenager- ugh. Never befriend family. At least not my family.

And I hated running into lesser known acquaintances in the real world and knowing what they had for breakfast but feeling that awkwardness of wondering if I should say hi! So you like granola..... Why? Why, why why? Or getting hit on in the virtual world and having someone not know what to say to you in public... or having someone think you were hitting on them when really you just dug their music, or people wanting to know the down and dirty! You really can't please everyone. Gah! I hate gossip! If I was to throw a big-ass party with all of my facebook friends it would be a disaster of epic proportions.

I have decided to grab a few choice e-mails and run for the hills.....But I did get to know a little bit more about some folks- for instance, one chick from high school who I kinda knew but became great virtual friends with- I'm sure I'd be great friends with her now in real life if she lived anywhere near me (she's also a mom) is someone I really miss interacting with.... But hey, the time-suckage and the cons combined with my vexation at not feeling safe about posting what I wanted to without fear of drama tipped the scale.....

Agh! I need to get off the computer!!!!!

denessasma's picture
Submitted by denessasma on

oh and the games. found my guy was cheatin on there cuz when the other girl got mad because apparently he stopped callin her she sent me a messege bout who she really was and alla this. tried to front me on my wall of course i shut her ass down ;) but none the less shit my sister unfriended me cuz i use the word fuck too much. WTF indeed i dont like my sister tho so i found it humurous. but hurt feelings and alla that on the computer r just too much

Jessica
Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind~~Dr.Seuss