The Unfriending – October Update

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A couple days ago I had an experience that completely unnerved me.

Someone with whom I had an intense virtual friendship with, but had never met in person, unfriended me on Facebook with no warning.

I was surprised at my reaction.  The abruptness of her unfriending stirred up deep feelings of rejection and insecurity within me.  I was also angry…not just at her, but at myself for getting so upset over this situation.

If we had a “real life” friendship then it would make more sense that I’d feel so deeply hurt, but I’ve always been a very sensitive person and her decision cut me to the quick.

I was aware she had serious mental health challenges.  Despite knowing she was fragile, I let down my guard with her in our messages and live Facebook chats.  She gave me her phone number and invited me to call her anytime if I needed to talk.  I never took her up on the offer, but I was moved by her willingness to listen.

Recently, when I stated my opinion on Facebook about an issue I believed in passionately, I noticed her virtual demeanor changed.  She vehemently, irrationally lashed out at another Facebook friend of mine, and that was the beginning of the end.

I’ll back up a bit…last year I took a long Facebook hiatus.  Then I decided to try Facebook again and I made a new rule for myself: I would only be friends with people I knew personally and with whom I had active relationships with. I no longer wished to be  friends with people I hadn’t seen in years (excluding a few relatives and a couple exceptions).  I didn’t want “trophy friends” or to maintain friendships with total strangers.  I soon broke my rule, however, and this friend who I write of today was one of those exceptions.

God knows I’ve suffered broken friendships in real life that dissolved in much messier ways than a simple click of a button, and I got through those rejections intact.

Each day I will think less and less about this unfriending, but it’s still fresh in my mind and it hurts.

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Writing about this unfriending helps me; writing has always been a healthy catharsis.  But writing doesn’t serve as a panacea for malice as much as I wish it did.

It occurred to me that maybe this person is having a crisis, and she acted out from an unstable place.

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Being cut off in five seconds flat is the risk anyone takes with social media friendships.  I hope that this is the first and last unfriending I have on Facebook.

Update 10/1/15 – Unfortunately it wasn’t the last unfriending! 😦

Please see this link for a tale of the 2nd unfriending that was rather bizarre:

https://proudlybipolar.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/fck-this-sht-i-love-you-goodbye/

In attempt to feel better, since this unfriending occurred I’ve been mumbling affirmations such as “I am a great friend” and “I am kind”.  I don’t want this experience to sour my soul more than it already has.  I’ll pay more attention to my beautiful girls, my husband, and myself – my virtual friendships need to take a backseat for now.  I hope that my “unfriend” finds peace and healing, and that she can turn to a network of friends who won’t give up on her even when the going gets rough.

To quote the great Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live:

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”

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And here’s an insightful quote by Jenn Talley:

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Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of the acclaimed book Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press next year.

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The Commentologist

funnyThis week has been draining due to poor sleep and losing my patience with my two spirited young girls far too often.  Meanwhile. I’ve been sooooooo frustrated with writer’s block, which, coincidentally, happened as soon as I stopped writing over thirty minutes consistently.

Apart from reading L.E. Henderson’s book A Trail  of Crumbs to Creative Freedom: One Author’s Journey Through Writer’s Block and Beyond (the perfect book for me as she insightfully addresses bipolar disorder, creativity and writer’s block),  I’m following some well-known writing advice.  The advice is to simply write and not worry about what you’re producing.  It can all be trash, but the point of the exercise is to move the hands and engage the brain and one’s pen…or laptop keyboard, if you’re like me!

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As simple as that advice sounds, I can’t write gobbledygook – I need to write about something that interests me.  Today my topic focuses on Facebook friends, commenting, reading blogs, commenting on them and “liking” posts.

I’ve been thinking about all these things for some time now.  Last year I had deactivated my Facebook account.  After reactivating it last fall, I noticed I had no meaningful connection with hundreds of my “friends”, so I trimmed down my list.  My guiding rule was to unfriend people I had no contact with for over a year, with the exception of longtime friends and a few other people.

I had two fall-out experiences as a result of my choice.  One person I barely knew messaged me and wrote that she didn’t understand why I was no longer Facebook friends with her.  I explained my rationale and then I  friended her in a feeble attempt to people-please.  She accepted my invite, but I haven’t heard a peep from her since.  

The other person who messaged me gave me a harder time, and I wrote about that in a previous post because she acted so weird.  I totally stand by my decision, but unfortunately I know I’ll be seeing her this summer face-to-face.  My husband told me last weekend she showed up at the community pool and she’s an avid member, as is our family.  Oh well – if she’s angry, she can’t drown me there – there are too many lifeguards!  Plus I’m pretty strong these days and can kick some serious ass.  Don’t mess with a mom with bipolar!

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As far as Facebook goes, obviously there are pros and cons to using it, but so far the pros have outweighed the cons for me since I reactivated my account.  I’ve “met” some wonderful people, and lately  it has been the ideal vehicle to share my puppy pictures with everyone.  (I realize that these folks don’t need to see 30 pictures of me and Lucy within two weeks, but I figure they can give me a well-deserved break!) For now I’m remaining on Facebook.  I do spend far too much time using it; precious time that could be spent on writing my book or blog.  Maybe I should look into those programs that shut you down on Facebook after using your account for an hour!

(I most likely won’t do that.)

I had yet another Facebook-related snafu happen a few days ago.

It began with my sharing a post about an Australian news article that I thought sugarcoated bipolar disorder.  I wrote my opinion about it without apology.  I received a comment from one of my Facebook “friends” who I never see or have communications with.  I’ll refer to her as “Snafura”.  Snafura and I have barely anything in common except for being mothers with bipolar disorder and for living in the same area.  Her lengthy rebuttal to my Aussie article post and her subtle passive/aggressive tone frankly pissed me off!

Snafura generally appears out of nowhere every six months to comment on my Facebook account in her annoying, oppositional style.  I consider this to be a form of lurking.  Meanwhile, I never follow her feed, and I have no idea what’s going on in her life.  That’s just fine and dandy with me.

You’re probably wondering the obvious question: “Why haven’t you unfriended her?”

Well, I haven’t unfriended her because we live very close to one another, and I don’t want to rock the boat if I run into her, which will inevitably happen if I unfriend her according to Murphy’s Law.

I’m not losing any sleep over this, but it helps to “write it out”.  It feels invasive when someone with whom I have virtually (or literally) no contact decides to comment out-of-the-blue and be argumentative.  It also disturbs and annoys me because I would never do that to someone else.

There are different privacy settings on Facebook, and I was thrilled to find one called “Restrictive” in which I don’t unfriend a person, but I can keep her from viewing my newsfeed.  I signed Snafura up for that right away.

Perfect!

When it comes to Facebook and this blog, I’d prefer having fewer friends/followers who scan my newsfeed & blog posts, who “like” my posts, and who make comments at least once in a while, than have 1000 friends who never take a look at my feed once they friend me.  (Forgive me for using all this Facebook-ese and for that gruesome run-on sentence! )

I call today’s post “The Commentologist” because  I’ve decided to make more of an effort to comment in response to posts by the wonderful bloggers I follow.  I read their posts on my Kindle each day, during the forty minutes I work out on my NordicTrack.  

At the very least, I “like” the posts so I can let the author know, “Yes, I was here.  I read your work.”  Then, if time and energy level allows, I write a comment ranging from a couple words to a paragraph.  It’s hard to comment when I’m on the elliptical – my carpal tunnel syndrome acts up in my right wrist.  It’s also not easy to type on a Kindle when you’re sweating buckets!  If I want to write a lengthier comment I make a mental note to do it after my workout.

I want to support the writers I’m networking with, and foster our virtual relationships.  It makes me happy when I see the WordPress orange notification symbol letting me know that someone “liked” my blog post.  A comment makes me VERY happy.  (Yep, I haven’t gotten any mean comments yet!) Because of that, I like the color orange even more than I did before WordPress entered my life.  I know that most of the people who follow my blog don’t read it, which is a bummer.  However, the bloggers who take some time out of their hectic days to respond to my writing are the reasons why I’m blogging instead of privately journaling.

I continue to encounter the super-famous blogs.  I belong to a network in which a blogger has shared how “viral” her posts are. (I’ve held myself back from making a snarky comment. 😉  The bottom line is that I become insecure and jealous of the mega-blogs. I need to stop wallowing in those feelings as soon as they hit me, and move on.  It doesn’t help one bit.  For all I know, these super-famous bloggers might have their own serious problems I know nothing about, right?  I have friends related to world-famous people, and I know it’s not all wine and roses in their world.  Still, when I spot that a blogger has 88 likes on a post, or 100 comments, my face turns green.  I hate that!

Speaking of green, I’ll move on to focusing upon greener pastures…

I’ll continue my study of commentology.  Perhaps I’ll even earn an honorary doctorate in the field!  If I’m following your blog, my hopes are that you will see my comments more often.  At the very least I’ll gladly take a moment to “like” your work to let you know I’ve stopped by and read about what matters to you.

Have a great weekend, you awesome bloggers!

Dyane

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