How Social Media Promotes Passive-Aggressive Behaviour
2017 was a rather interesting year for me. For many reasons, some good and some bad. And some just plain old head-scratching. Now I know my tongue isn’t always delicate and I know I am more forthright than most and I have learned to be okay with both of these traits because I also know my heart is huge and open, I am generous and kind and I walk my talk. And that’s the big deal – I really do try to walk my talk. I didn’t always and now that I do I am relieved. Living one’s truth is just so much simpler than living someone else’s.
So last year I got un-friended not once but four times. FOUR times. I mean probably more times than that, times that I just didn’t notice because the so-called friends were more like casual comrades, but four times by people I once counted as true friends. Real friends. Thick-or-thin-tell-secrets friends. Even one soul-mate friend. Why? Because I opened my mouth. Actually to be truthful I unleashed my fingers. Because all of the dissolutions were facilitated via text. Not that I actually ever facilitated a single divorce. Nope. I just told my truth and then sat back. THAT is when I got un-friended.
I realize that on Facebook and to a lesser extent Twitter and Instagram we have many relationships and many kinds of relationships. From close, long-time pals to new acquaintances to family to people we barely know. To some we pay attention, to many we offer a cursory glance. But with these 4 individuals I showed up. Not just on social media but in real life. Regularly.
But apparently they didn’t like my truth. Now, in my defense my truth wasn’t vulgar or combative or dismissive or even damning. It was just my truth. Whether I was dissatisfied with behaviour (or lack thereof) or I was pointing out a hole or I was reaching out for accountability, I was doing it all in the spirit of friendship. Friendship that goes beyond the fluffy and the frothy. Friendship that digs deep and inspires us to be the best possible versions of ourselves.
If you go back a few blogs you’ll find one I wrote called “When Friendships Go Awry”. And yes, they do and sometimes we have to help instigate that journey. Learn to say farewell. But in my experience I usually find that when a friendship goes off the rails, just let it. Let it sit there in the bog for awhile. Allow the participants to breathe, reflect, process and then – at some point – come back to the table and continue the discussion. I’m pretty sure that’s what we used to do.
But now, with social media, it is so much easier to passively-aggressively dismiss that same person you once called friend. Without a single intelligent conversation required. Simply hit the “un-friend” button. The “un-follow” button. And then, if you’re really pissed, BLOCK them! Cause golly your now ex-friend (who was patiently awaiting your return to the table) might try to stalk you. Or something. Cause we’re all deranged. Or something.
I shake my head in disbelief. True, utter, horrified disbelief. That people who I once loved, cared for, stood by and never judged, now think I might stalk them. Yes, you have hurt me to the core. You have shattered any belief system I once possessed and you have forced me to re-think friendship in general and my choices in particular. You have broken my heart.
But I can assure you, there is no need to block me. Because as much as you will always hold a place in my historical heart, I have no need (or desire) to be in your life when you had no need (or desire) to fucking sort this out. Man to man! In the real world. Not on fucking Facebook.
I hereby offer this solemn pledge to ALL of my social media friends. I will never un-friend you because we’ve had a disagreement or you have disappointed me or I don’t like your opinion. I may un-follow your posts and I may un-friend those I don’t know (or can’t remember) but if we are true friends and have been true friends then guess what? We are true friends. And if our friendship ever explodes it won’t be via lame-ass passive-aggressive bullshit. It will be because we tried, and then realized that it was no longer worth the fight. And we will say those words out loud. Whether in person, on the phone or even via text or email, we will give voice to our feelings. Real, honest, human voice. We will hold ourselves personally accountable – not on a virtual playing field but on a real one.
I’m a big girl and I’ve got my big girl panties on. I can take it. I also have my aging heart wide open, laid bare on the table. It can take any conversation you may want to have. Any battle you may want to wage. Any daggers you may want to throw.
And if you cannot, if passive-aggressive is your jam and your easy way out, so be it. Now I know the real you. And as torturous as truth can be, it is still truth. I’d rather suffer with the knowing than the wondering.
It pains me that I wasn’t worth it but … okay.
Happy New Year.