“I don’t like you. You’re just mean.”
“I’m not gonna be your friend anymore, so THERE!” (said with tone, and then sticks tongue out.)
The sweet sounds of playground banter. A broken Barbie. A foul erroneously called a strike. Not getting to wear the princess gown first. Someone stealing a Hot Wheel car… So many reasons to break up a friendship – at least for a day or two.
What I loved about that time, though, is that once hot tempers cooled, a wise parent, or, something even better – a wise friend who felt stuck in the middle - would remind us that we really didn’t want to end a friendship over such trivial matters. We patched things up, shook hands or pinky-promised never to hate each other again.
Oh sure, once we hit junior high/middle school, the hating started again. Sometimes it was trivial, and sometimes it was downright vicious. Sometimes friendships ended – for good.
Once in a blue moon, someone changed, and the friendship was re-kindled in high school or college. But one fact remains, especially for my age bracket: after graduation, we didn’t have a lot of contact with our classmates, sans the occasional reunion.
Until Facebook came along.
All of a sudden, people we didn’t even acknowledge in the halls or on the playground became our new online friends. And the passing of time was good – it healed wounds as we grew up. We could see everyone’s kids, commiserate over lost jobs and life’s curveballs. We felt like we had come home. We connected.
But then, polarization started. People started getting mean. Political, religious and social rants appeared, and some postings were not so nice. Apparently, folks didn’t like how their friends changed through the years. Snide comments began to appear – basically, if you don’t like someone’s views, they are wrong, or dumb, or hosting their own pity party, or whatever.
And then, you get un-friended.
Wow. Just like when we were little kids. Only this time, it’s worse, because we should be the wise ones. We should be leading by example.
But we don’t. We don’t enjoy a good, hearty debate. We don’t agree to disagree. We decided that a friend is not a friend it they don’t agree with us.
That is not such a great teaching moment for our kids, is it? We’re basically saying that if someone doesn’t agree with us that they have no worth. Lord, have mercy if that’s our message.
At this point in my life, I am pretty secure with me. My personal journey got me here, shaping and molding my values, my beliefs, my views. So, if you don’t like what I say or what I believe in, then un-friend me. I honestly don’t care. But quit making blanket statements about people in general. Don’t lump me into a group and call me stupid. And don’t insult me or call me foolish or feel that I am less intelligent than you. Because I am not.
I am just different from you.
And if you don’t like it, then just take your stupid toys and your arrogantly superior attitude and go home.
Because I have other friends who love me for me, who don’t care what I believe, because they know it is all part of the yarn that knits me together – making me, me.
So THERE! (said with tone, and then sticks tongue out.)