You can’t be my friend – ever, ever, ever!

Do you remember these quotable quotes?

“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.)

11 Replies to “You can’t be my friend – ever, ever, ever!”

  1. What was that old saying about staying away from sex, politics and religion in the course of normal conversation? Not so on the Internet! No wonder people get all pissy with each other. There’s definitely a lack of respect for others’ political views. It’s disappointing. Agree to disagree, people! 🙂

  2. Lynne, excellent post. Facebook can bring out the worse in people. As you know, I have a love-hate relationship with social media … I don’t like the weirdness/rudeness it brings out in some people. More and more, I also dislike the idea of sharing personal stories with virtual strangers. I am guilty as charged. Back in the day, some of the things I put on Facebook now would have been confined to the counsel of my closest family and friends — loved ones with whom I’ve established years of trust and years of shared experience.

    When Facebook “friends” don’t know each other well, common courtesy goes out the window. When folks hide behind a virtual wall, it seems easier to throw rocks — especially if you don’t really hang out with someone beyond FB.

    Pam, my father always made that his household rule too. My father graduated from a private Presbyterian college — but he never, EVER discussed politics or religion with neighbors or company. He and my mother both felt that it’s rude to foist your views on other people. My father would flip over in his grave if he’d hear people on the news and talk shows today. He’s be astounded and grossed-out — even by pundits and other people whose political views he would have shared. He would have thought Facebook is a waste of time, too.

    1. Cindy, I totally agree. Too much dirty laundry aired…and no boundaries on topics, or respect given. As you stated before, social media can be good, as long as it is used responsibly.

  3. Lynn – Great post. I am in complete agreement with Pam and Cindy. All too often, I see Facebook being used as a place to rant and rave, saying things to people (or about people) that they wouldn’t have the nerve to say to them face-to-face. I currently use F/B as a “read-only” type vehicle to keep track of what is going on with my kids and relatives. I try to only comment when it is to provide positive reinforcement. There are times when I have be tempted to “bail out” of Facebook, which I may still do in the future. It believe it has lost most of it’s social redeeming value. That’s just my opinion.

    1. Bob, I like your idea of providing positive reinforcement. It gets tiring to read the same old rants and rudeness. Thanks for posting!

  4. I totally agree…I am friends with people on the polar opposite political spectrum and enjoy a civil debate…but I will say that Facebook has given me a chance to see what people are really like…some of it has been rewarding and some not. I do unfriend racist and homophobic people who continually post hateful things because I have no desire to be friends in any form with them.

    1. I have seen some pretty vicious stuff. I wonder if it is because there is a feeling of security when said “virtually” instead of in person? Thanks for posting, Cheryl.

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