Facebook Can End Friendships, Too


I’ve always been cautious on Facebook, setting my ‘friend’ criteria to real friends and family. By ‘friend,’ I mean someone with whom I have a mutual, personal relationship. I toss off Facebook requests from co-workers, acquaintances and relationship collectors. I ignore ‘friend suggestions,’ too. I have to know you, have met you, like you or be related to you to invite you in. Those are my rules for my Facebook.

Well, my rules need tightening. Last week I ‘de-friended’ someone I knew and liked for a long time. I may have been impulsive when I did it, but thinking it over, I don’t know what else I could have done. I lost some sleep last week about the whole thing. Here’s what happened:

My friend and I are nearly opposite in our political views. I knew this for a while, and it was never a problem. Face-to-face and e-mail discussions were always candid and friendly. Trusting. For over fifteen years we kept it that way. I think she is misguided for someone so smart and funny, but the world is full of all kinds of people, yes? This past last spring we connected via Facebook.

She was different, somehow, on Facebook: she’s more active there than me; she adores the silly games; she must have hundreds of friends; and, she is much more open about her life then I could ever be.

Last week she posted a video making fun of a certain type of people, people who share the same philosophies as me. The video deployed a number of insulting epithets, too. Worst was the conversation stream of her ignorant friends, none of whom I know. I felt the insults were coming at me, in MY Facebook wall.

This was not the first time. So I de-friended her. I blocked her. If she said those things in my living room, I would ask her and her friends to leave. If I were at a party, I would walk away.

And there lies the problem I have with the new ‘social’ Facebook throws at us. It’s an artifice, an intentional distortion of the way people really want to see each other. Robots are clumsy with human relationships. Facebook pulled away the gauzy curtain we hung between us.

Well, she knows I cut the cord. I told her. She sent me an email right away but I haven’t answered because I am so angry.


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