I noticed today that I had been quietly unfriended by someone I used to know. I’m a little sad, but not deeply offended.
I enjoyed her feed. A nice look into a world so much different than mine. I’m certain it was done without animus. At times I find my life tedious. Perhaps she saw the same. The mommy posts. The innocent work kvetch.
I try to walk the middle of the road. Enough about the kids for the family to keep up, but not enough to make me that mom. A little work complaint, generic enough not to get me fired. No politics. Not much religion. An interesting article here. A funny comment there. A lot of nostalgia.
Am I boring? It feels boring.
I like having people in my feed from different parts of my life. I interact most with my now friends, but I still like to have that six degrees with the old ones. People from outside my circle to feed my perspective. Noticing she was gone felt like a loss.
What a horrible word we’ve created in “unfriending.” The finality and rejection of it. Right now I feel cast aside; pumped out like so much bilge water. There’s a saying, “when a boat runs aground, the sea has spoken.” I can’t quite bring myself to press “friend” again. Because while right now I feel discarded, I feel it in a way of something merely left behind. But, if I try again and am rejected, that seems so much worse.
I seldom use unfriend and only in the most extreme circumstances. I only friend people I know, to start, and I am fond of diversity of opinion. I usually don’t drop people for mere differences of opinion. I have, on occasion hidden a friend who got vitriolic, until such time as the friend calmed down. I hide game requests. Just once, I hid someone for posting food pics too often. But I usually hang on to them as friends, even in those situations. I just minimize their impact, but I can check in to see how they are, when I want to, or when their life measurably changes.
I guess that’s part of the loss really. The feeling that she saw nothing of value in my acquaintance. That I found her more interesting than she found me. An agreement with an already nagging voice that says things here have become too routine, too cyclical, too rural, too…
I’m certain I know the answers here, intellectually. An Eleanor Roosevelt quote comes to mind, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Today I seem to be yielding that floor. Maybe tomorrow I won’t. Maybe tomorrow I’ll put on the clothes that make me feel whimsical, or strong, or pretty, or adult. I’ll find the drive to write or craft or do the other things that make me me. I’ll reach out to friends and remind them I’m here, the same person I was before all of my time was swallowed by the demands of third-grade and a yard full of dandelions and downed branches.
Nichole M. Dulin