I have previously written about friendships, and the way some friendships are for a season, while others are for a lifetime.
When my family makes a move, I eventually go through my FB friends, and pare back my friends – I make room for new friendships, but also release myself from friendships which may have turned out to be more difficult for me to continue.
Not too long ago, when I revisited my initial article, I was prompted by the article to go back and cull my personal FB “friends.” This time, I made a significant scale back of those I had known on FB…
And, I know I hurt some feelings in the process.
The more I thought about the reasons I make it a point to go back and remove friends after every duty station, the more I recognized the decision is not one which is personal.
And, I recognized I needed to make an explanation.
I’m hoping one or two of those whose feelings were hurt find their way to this post.
A couple nights ago, I was laying in bed, surrounded by sleeping family, and finishing my prayers. I was praying specifically for one person whom I had clicked “unfriend.” I was filled with remorse for how significantly I shredded my friends’ list.
I was hurt previously by the friend I was praying for that night, and even though I attempted to express my pain a few times, it fell on deaf ears. I struggled with the pain of the ended friendship, and every time the name popped up on Facebook, the bandaid was ripped open. I became obsessed with trying to avoid updates between mutual friends at all cost, simply because I didn’t want to have the hurt feelings be brought back to the forefront of my mind.
So, I deleted this friend.
And then, deleted many of our mutual friends.
I actually went even further, and scaled back on my “FB friends” list to include only family and friendships which held significant meaning.
I took the words of friendship to heart from my previous articles. Most of my FB friends were “Gesellschaft” friends – those who are friends for a time.
But, yet, what I am learning, now that my list includes very close friends and family, is that, while my decision appears selfish, my mental health has improved. My stress level regarding FB is slowly dissipating, and I find myself once again looking forward to getting on and sharing – between my public page and my private account (surrounded by those whose friendships have meant the most in my life).
Facebook and social media, while a lifesaver for military families, adds another element of stress to society. It muddies friendships, and complicates more relationships than it helps. Which is why I am no longer accepting friend requests on Facebook – because I would rather have a personal, face to face relationship with those we are blessed to live near.
So, to those I have hurt …
I hope this finds its way to you, and I hope you know I am sorry…
Sorry for the hurt of being “unfriended.”
I’m sorry I couldn’t be the long-distance friend I initially thought I could be for you.
Perhaps the Army will station us close enough together again – and, it will allow us to patch things up face to face. Perhaps our friendships could deepen, with more face to face contact, rather than relying on the distance of Facebook.
And, if you have no desire for a face to face friendship, I will understand completely.