Friday, November 18, 2016

"Unfriending" is Healthy

I joined Facebook way back when. Originally, I "friended" everyone who sent a request, but then quickly "unfriended" high school acquaintances that made no attempt to friend my shy 1980's self. Since then I rarely "unfriend" anyone. It seems like no matter who crosses my path in life, I must "friend" them. Therefore, each and every day they are invited into my house when I open up Facebook.  For many, I know I will never have a conversation with them outside of "liking" one of their posts. I know that in general, we share absolutely no interests. But, we remain "friends".

This all changed for me during this election. It finally dawned on me that I don't have enough space in my head to remain friends with people I don't know who are posting what I consider to be "hateful" posts or posts that are totally different than my own beliefs. In fact, I find "unfriending" to be healthy. Why should I allow my mind to be exposed to so much information on a regular basis that shows hate towards the very things I believe in? Plus, I have decided that for some people, it really is better to only know each other casually.  I like that person much better when I don't see the things they "like" or comment on. I'd prefer to comment on the beautiful blouse they are wearing in person than to know what is in their hearts and minds. I realize some may feel the exact same way about me and I hope they also will remove me so we can continue to see a bright side of each other in our occasional meetings.

During this week after the election, I have had intense conversations with family and friends whose philosophies differ from mine and I am so thankful for them. I have learned a lot. I want to learn how others think so that I can grow as a person. Discussion is good. But, I can no longer allow hateful energy into my home when I open Facebook, especially from people I barely know. So, my new policy is that I am not accepting people I have never had any conversation with or see having. If I am interested in becoming "friends", I want to be able to see their page before agreeing to the relationship. And for my close friends and family, I will choose to "unfollow" rather than "unfriend" when I see repeated hateful posts that are not intended to share information but instead put negativity into the world. I don't have the energy for it and it isn't healthy for me.

What about you? Have your practices and policies changed on social media after this election?