Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Facebook Feelings

For the past several weeks, I've been debating taking a break from Facebook.  I've definitely cut back on how much time I spend on the site, but I still log in at least once a day.  It just seems like every time I log on, I end up angry, frustrated, sad, and/or disappointed.  What used to be something I enjoyed now causes me more than a little anxiety.  After the absolute shitstorm on Facebook today following the Casey Anthony verdict, I sat back, took a deep breath and spent a few minutes thinking about the issues I have with Facebook.

First, I see sides of people I don't want to see.  This doesn't bother me so much when it's someone I don't know well, but it's frustrating when it comes to people I care about.  I think most people are guilty off "whitewashing" the flaws of those they love.  We tend to ignore or explain away the parts that would render anyone else unlovable .  But it's hard to do when these people are spewing hate and ignorance on Facebook for the world to see.  Even worse is when you begin to see a side you hadn't ignored because you didn't know it existed.  On several occasions, I've actually sent people private messages asking, "Did you REALLY post that?  Were you hacked or something?"   Those messages tend to get kind of awkward. 

The second thing that drives me nuts is people who post/repost something without checking its validity.  Rumors or false information posted to Facebook can spread like a bad rash, and I have this little voice in my head that says I should be the one rubbing on the Cortaid.  I've learned, though, that I can direct someone to a VALID source about their post, and they will STILL argue with me.  I've just had to learn to let it go... and use the "Hide All" button. 

I am a total supporter of free speech, even if your'e an a-hole.  Seriously, say whatever you'd like on your Wall or in a comment.  It's your right.  But it doesn't mean that some of the things I read on Facebook don't appall or anger me.  I guess there are people who mistake my tendency to get emotional as me being offended, but there's actually little that actually offends me.  However, it does piss me off when I see people making jokes about young people committing suicide or Caylee Anthony's death. 
I came to the decision awhile back that I will automatically delete these people.  I won't waste time even addressing them about what they said because (A) it's their right to say it and (B) I don't see anything I say being well received.  But I also have rights--mainly, the right to remove people from my friend list if what they write is cold-hearted and evil.

Which leads me to another problem--my friend list (and I use the term "friend" loosely).  At least two or three times a week, I debate going through my friend list and employing my delete button.  Part of me wants to whittle it down to just those people who are my actual friends.  That doesn't necessarily mean it has to be people I know outside of Facebook.  There are actually a few people whom I've met through Facebook (friends of friends) and whom I've gotten to know pretty well.  I'm just feeling more and more that my Facebook friends should meet a few requirements of my "real world" friends.  I don't mind people who challenge me and my friends don't have to share my views, but I do expect my friends to NOT tear me down or to criticize me all the time.  Friends don't pick fights or try to embarrass me.  Friends actually show concern when I'm having a problem instead of trying to point out the my problem is insignificant.  Friends celebrate with me in the good times and mourn with me in the bad. Why should I keep around anyone who makes me feel bad about me?  There are days that my only adult interaction (outside of when my husband gets home from work) is on Facebook.  Being a SAHM can get a little lonely and the tiny bit of interaction I get with other adults is via Facebook.  It's ridiculous that I find myself wasting that slice of "me time" on people who don't KNOW me and don't CARE about me. 

So why haven't I deleted people?  Good question. And one I can't honestly answer. 

I'm sick of smugness and superiority.  If you think you are that much better than your Facebook friends, then why do you waste time reading their posts or commenting?  And stop being so damned passive aggressive.  Either address the people who irritate you or keep your mouth shut.  Stop posting status updates that are obviously directed toward an unnamed target. It's petty and annoying.

My Wall is MY business.  You don't have to agree with what I post and you're welcome to offer your opinions , but don't criticize me for writing what I want to write.  If I want to complain about a bad day, I will.  And if I just want to say I'm having a bad day without offering details, I will.  Personally, I'm not trying to solicit sympathy or a chorus of "What's wrong?"  If I wanted to elaborate, I would.  Anyone who knows me can tell you that I don't mind sharing.  But sometimes people just need to vent a little.  Instead of badmouthing their "friends" for posting "vague" statuses, maybe folks should ask themselves why they feel entitled to know every detail of someone else's shitty day. 

After reading all of this, I realize that 99% of my issues would be resolved if I would clean up my friends' list.  Again, I can't explain why I've avoided this task.  I accepted a long time ago that I would have to deal with people in my life that I didn't like, whether it's a boss, co-worker, student or even family member.  C'est la vie, you know?  I can choose to make it easier for all of us and do my best to get along with them, or I can constantly be at war and make EVERYONE miserable.  But in "Facebook world"?  Why do I feel the need to surround myself with people who bring me down?  Why do I struggle to click "Delete"?  Why do I accept certain friend's requests in the first place.  It's not a numbers issue.  I honestly couldn't begin to tell you how many friends I have.  I guess it goes back to my problems with worrying too much about other people--not about what they think but how they feel.  I focus too much on everyone else's emotions, which is a foolish move when it comes to people who completely disregard my own emotions.

I don't really want to leave Facebook, even periodically.  I do enjoy interacting with most of the people.  And a few family members and friends expect their constant "doses" of Amelia pictures (ha ha).  But it just seems to be bringing me down more than anything. Giving up Facebook would remove drama from my life (and head).  It would also free up time I could spend elsewhere.  But I'd feel disconnected, moreso that I'd ever like to admit. 

Does anyone else ever feel this way?  Does the BS of FB often seem to overshadow the good stuff?


gregindepth said...

you know...i have come to realize that you and i think much more alike than most would assume. I have actually cleaned up my friends list a couple of times. I am also trying to put a little more thought into my status updates before i post them. I have been guilty of knee "jerk" posting. notice what i did i encourage you to clean that list up. or at least Hide All...beth and i both use that option frequently.

Unknown said...
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gillianva said...

Nicely vented!

Tia Bach said...

I so get it! I don't have the heart to delete, but my friend #s are out of control. I set up an Author FB page, but people get confused and friend my personal page, and not it's all fuzzy.

Believe it or not a friend announced on her FB page that she had cheated on her husband and her baby was not his. Really. On FB. Has FB become therapy?

The flip side: thanks to FB I've reconnected with long-lost friends, see pictures of cousins and best friend's kids much more frequently, and get the occasional chuckle that makes my day.

I just have to get better about filtering FB!

Great post. Found you through the UBC!

Radtke Customs said...

Absolutely. I find that if I don't like what they have to say I just hide them. I don't delete them in hopes that something I say may smack them in the face and make them look at their true self. I want to be the positive influence without being influenced by them. And if it were to get so bad that they would comment bash me...I think I would have to delete them.