The definition of the word friend in my trusty, dusty 1983 American Heritage Dictionary reads as follows:
1) A person whom one knows, likes and trusts;
2) One that supports or patronizes a group or cause;
The word friend was a nice and simple noun back in 1983, when I was a sophomore in high school and could list my true friends on one hand. Actually if I’m honest, three fingers: I was shy back then. Also, not one of them to my knowledge was a Quaker:
3) A member of the Society of Friends; Quaker;
Not that it would have mattered if they were. Real friends don’t let religion, weird hobbies, politics, sexual persuasion, gender identification, hair or skin color, income level, education, or occasional moments of stupidity get in the way of soul love, regardless of definition number 2.
Now of course, thanks to social media the word friend is also a verb meaning “to add (someone) to a list of contacts”.
The more people you friend, the better right? Likes equal love so long as you don’t post anything unlikeable. Or comment on something you don’t like. Or DO like. Then you’re shit out of likes.
Or worse: unfrienDEAD.
Have you ever been unfriended by someone on social media?
I have been. Probably a lot more than I even realize.
Just the other day I noticed a friend I sort of know but not really had unfriended me on Facebook, the old person platform. At first I was like: WTF? I’m COOL! Why did she DO that? I rarely get into anything (too) controversial on any of my social media platforms. Most of my posts are pictures of my dogs, kids or some kind of silly thought that I am certain is going to change the world for the BETTER. Why on EARTH would anyone want to unfriend me? I’m fucking JOY.
I actually found myself stewing on it and looking through my past posts in an attempt to see me from that person’s perspective and understand her motive for the SMS: Social Media Slap: I just made that up. I’m SO gonna get likes for that. Or not.
In all fairness, I have done it too, unfriend people on social media:
A few times I accidentally unfriended someone with the wrong touch of a button. EmbarrASSing. I’m not very savvy with technology.
Political extremist peeps (left or right) who posted toxic content so often that it was interfering with my enjoyment of dog, cat and baby videos: those bitches have got to go. Take your vomit elsewhere unless you can be more like ME: a social media ANGEL.
The creepy guy on Instagram who I let follow me without realizing he was going to say “hey sunshine let’s talk live” a bunch of times in the chat spot. Too much following dude.
People who have pissed me off in real life, like my husband: I unfriended him four times on Facebook. “Take THAT jerkface!” He keeps accepting my re-friend requests though, so he clearly is unphased by our breakups. Plus we got to celebrate our friend-versary more often. Others, including a couple of my sons, didn’t notice that they were Facebook-dead to me. Dinner time still feels the same. Weird.
The night I dramatically quit my job to begin the process of starting my own company three plus years ago, I drank a whole bottle of wine and foolishly disconnected from a bunch of my old job colleagues on LinkedIn. “Fare thee well my dear friends. I will miss you all but I must make a clean crisp break!” That took some live phone call splainin in order to reconnect on a business platform not meant for dumb girl drama.
Many years ago I unfriended two ladies I knew who were going on and on in a post about the homeless and how awful it was to hear such sad stories when they accompanied their kids on a field trip to one of the local shelters to help “feed the poor”. I excitedly piped in on the subject because I was pretty passionate at the time about helping out at that particular shelter. But in this weird dialogue shift, one of them started going on and on about how hard it was to keep up on maintaining their condo on the mountain, especially during the summer when they were busy tending to both the lake place and the house in the city, and ‘who do you hire to manage it all?’ sharing their “help” information right there on a hypocritical homeless pity post. “Are you kidding me?” I thought. “I hope I never get so rich (insert snort here) that I turn into someone like THAT.” And with two dramatic ‘TAKE THIS LADIES’ pushes of a button, presto magico, these two women were eradicated from my life. Sort of. I still had to be nice to them at my kids’ school or at the grocery store but I was no longer tempted to read their conversations and try to pretend like I was a real friend.
I don’t do that anymore: unfriend people on social media. Nor am I going to get riled up by what people say on social media anymore or feel this overwhelming NEED to post a snarky comment about something I think is stupid.
If I can’t handle the platform, it’s ME who needs to get off of it.
Besides, it’s just so silly to make matter what doesn’t, to get agitated on a platform that can simply be turned off or scrolled through without letting yourself have a single angry thought or making one snarky comment. It’s really about self control. And not scrolling when you’ve had some booze. Humans are quirky and sometimes need to vent. And one conversation or commentary does not make up their whole. See? We need to smile more at shit that bugs us on social media and just think inside our minds (WITHOUT TYPING IT) “yeah, I’m dumb sometimes too.”
Besides, none of us can truly afford the time or energy getting so riled up. The reality is, according to one professor of evolutionary psychology, Professor Robin Dunbar, who knows a lot because he’s a PROFESSOR, we as humans can only maintain five close friendships and about a hundred and fifty “less close” friendships. Our brains are simply too small to handle any more than this.
No wonder we’re all bat shit crazy on social media! Our brains are too small for a whole internet of friends!
I’m a mother of six (plus a few unofficial adoptions), wife to one (though according to Facebook, we may or may not be friends at this time) and a whole bunch of relatives, friends and clients, most of whom I adore. Among all of these cool people, there are a good number (more than 5 but probably less than 150) who
4) I would walk through fire for*
Some people are going to unfriend me on social media. I don’t need to know why. Maybe they have a limit of 150 friends because they read what Doc Dunbar said and want to follow the small brain rules. Maybe they’re mad because I liked a pro-current-president post and/or an anti-current-president funny JOKE. Or maybe they’re offended because I don’t post enough pictures of my cat. I don’t know. People are just weird. Like me.
I’m going to save my emotional energy for worrying about my fire walking soul people. Though maybe I will purchase a few fire extinguishers in case I can’t handle the heat because of my small brain.
Have a great day everyone. I hope to see you all live and being your awesomely dumb selves on that new TikTok thing. I promise to heart you. That’s different than liking you but not quite walking through fire.
*Taken from an excerpt of “Heather Siwinski’s Dictionary of REAL Definitions of Important Words”.