Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Say it to my Face...book

I tried to quit Facebook a couple months ago. After using a little app that monitored how much time you spend on your phone, I realized that I was spending a whole lot of valuable time scrolling through other people's lives when I could be living my own. Additionally, my mom was really sick, I was juggling a LOT and I needed to focus.

So I deleted my account.

However, I quickly realized that the easiest way to get in touch with some people I needed to contact was ... you guessed it: Facebook.

So I reactivated my account.

Messages, explanations, blah blah blah, there you have it straight from the horse's mouth as they say. My mom says that, "straight from the horse's mouth." I don't know what it means or if anyone else says it, so maybe as she says would be more accurate.

Moving on.

In the past few years, I have had more arguments, fights, drama and hurt feelings with real life friends and family over stuff that took place on Facebook than over anything that happened in our actual flesh and blood lives. That is a fact.

A few months back, a friend and I decided to write a book about it. Facebook. We had had a few fights. I know it might sound trite and silly that grown up women--mothers, for heaven's sake--would get upset about social media, but it happened. I suspect we aren't the only ones. Anyway, I really value my friends and know that stewing on hurt feelings leads to bitterness, resentment and lost relationships.

So, being the grown ups we are, we hashed it out in true therapeutic fashion. "It hurts my feelings when you like her pictures and not mine." It's true. "It makes me feel left out when you all post pictures and didn't invite me." Still working those Agreements and trying not to take things personally. Anyway, by the end of it we were laughing instead of crying, but we came up with some good common sense guidelines.

If you never get your feelings hurt by social media stuff, you can stop reading now. Scroll to the bottom though and tell me your thoughts on that. But if sometimes...maybe...a little...well... here's:

The Girlfriend's Guide to Not Being An Asshole on Facebook
  1. Don't post vague attention-seeking statuses. Text your friends. Talk about your issues. Scream. Write in your journal. See a counselor.
  2. Don't post passive-aggressive digs at your friends. If you have friends, and they piss you off, tell them. Talk about it. With THEM. Don't call your other friends and tell them what this friend did. That's 8th grade baloney.
  3. LIKE every picture you see your friends post. Even if it's terribly unflattering. Even if it's the 87th time hop they posted today. Like. It. Anyway. Not because you like the picture but because you love your friend.
  4. Don't play favorites. If you like your brother's pictures of his kid, like your sister's pictures of hers too. If you like every picture one friend posts and never like another friend's, that's mean. And whether your friends admit it or not, most of them notice. And the people who notice will get their feelings hurts. Do you want to hurt someone's feelings? Yikes.
  5. If you scroll through Facebook constantly when you're with your friends and then claim, "Oh, no, I didn't see that..." your friends all know you are lying.
  6. Just. Be. Nice. If you don't have anything nice to say then keep your mouth shut. Don't post a passive aggressive comment.
  7. Finally, don't flirt with your friend's husband on Facebook. For real. That's not cool. I am a kinder, gentler version of the crazy girl I once was, but come at my man, and I will cut you. I'm not the only one. Join match.com or something.
These suggestions are based on actual experiences we had with our friends (and I mean honest-to-goodness ride-or-die friends, not other dance moms, or your kids' friends' moms with whom you occasionally have coffee, I mean the girls you'd take a bullet for) and each other. Come on now. If you see yourself in here, it's cool. Me too. I'm trying to do better.

But...I'm also trying to spend less time scrolling and more time living, so I promise you: If you're my friend, and I see something you posted: I will like it. Unless it is racist, anti-gay or mean. Then, I'll either unfriend or unfollow you. Just clarifying.

Honestly, social media is just another way we seek love and acceptance and connection. Isn't posting pictures of our adorable kids and stuff we made for dinner just a different form of, "Watch me!"? And don't we all just really want people to like us? I'm not advocating for seeking approval from social media friends and followers; good LORD, I've spent the last two decades trying NOT to give others the power to determine my worth. I'm just saying that the main thing I learned out of this whole endeavor was: People want to be liked. I can do that. We can all do that.

Also, in delving into the issues this brought up for me, I uncovered a big trigger in feeling left out. As the youngest of 7 children, I was often left behind while my siblings did things I was "too little" to do. A lot of the shit we deal with as adults is some modified form of the stuff we never dealt with properly when we were kids. Maybe because our parents, who were busy not dealing with their own shit, addressed our fears and concerns with, "Well, that is the stupidest thing I ever heard. Why would you let that bother you?" Right? No, just me? That's cool.

Recently every argument in our house turns into a therapy session because I don't want my adult kids dealing with an issue we monumentally bungled the handling of when they were young. AND I surely don't want to foist the issues I never dealt with as a kid onto my kids. I'm still working on it. I'll tell you more later.

In the meantime, I'm gonna post this on Facebook. I hope you like it.

8 comments:

  1. Please. You learned that whole "left behind while my siblings did things I was 'too little' to do" schtick from me. I was the one who got dressed WITH them like I was going out on the town and then came to watch TV with you. In my painter's pants and three quarter length sleeve Peaches music store shirt. Broken-hearted.

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    1. I was mostly broken-hearted when you left. With the friends you had from school.

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  2. And earth shoes. I forgot the damn earth shoes!

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  3. "Recently every argument in our house turns into a therapy session because I don't want my adult kids dealing with an issue we monumentally bungled the handling of when they were young." Your children will always have to deal with issues from their childhood when they grow up. But with your wise parenting, I think they will be much more manageable for them. You have wonderful instincts. Try not to overthink your parenting. It will never be perfect, but it will be way beyond good enough. Be mindful of your errors and try to do better next time. But mostly, just look at your wonderful kids and think that you had a lot to do with where they are now.

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    1. Thank you, Irving :) Your kind words mean so much to me!

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