Thursday, March 9, 2017

Social Media Is Your Living Room

Good Girl Gone Redneck: Social Media Is Your Living Room

I wrote this next paragraph last night, and then I stopped before posting on Facebook. I was just too tired. I also was about ready for bed and I didn't want to do a post and run. You know how those go, right? So I waited to share now.

 ** Some nights, no matter how much balance you try to maintain, you recognize that there are people in this world who don't want to experience it. And in those situations? You don't have to help with the scales. You have to just let them go. ** 

I'm better this morning because I realize that though I'm still trying to find the balance, I'm done doing so at a risk to myself. Done doing so in a way that makes me want to bang my head against a wall.

I'm not the person who unfriends you if you don't agree with me. I'm not the person who dropped you because of your political whateverness - even when the things you said were drastically different than what I believed. I tried to talk to you. I tried to ask you things. I continue to try. And maybe I did unfollow you because some of the things you shared were painful to me, but I still kept trying.

That out of the way, I am reminding myself this morning that I AM the person who cuts toxicity out of my life. I'm the person who comes up against challenges, and respects being heard enough to ensure that I, too, listen and hear. Because if we don't do that what good is dialogue? What's the actual point? Is there one?

I take the wise words of a friend (you know who you are - other people should, too) this morning and remind myself that "this is MY living room," and if I wouldn't invite you over for coffee, tea or Girl Scout cookies (oh SO many Girl Scout cookies), and to have a REAL conversation - intense disagreement or otherwise - why would I keep you in my virtual living room?

Why would I stay friends with you only to unfollow you just so we don't have to interact? That's like running down another aisle at the grocery store so you don't walk into that person. You know the one. The one who just keeps you there to only talk about themselves.

The one you smile and nod and roll your eyes at when they walk away.

I don't need that in my life.

It's toxic.

Good Girl Gone Redneck: Social Media Is Your Living Room

Social media can be toxic.

People can be toxic.

And the only person who can truly control the amount of toxicity in your life?

IS YOU.

Or, in this case, me. For myself and my life.

And I see these words, the ones I use to advise others, the ones I share with a sigh of recognition. And I will be making some changes.

I'll be cutting toxicity out of my life. Toxic people.

I will not feel judged for doing so.

I will not feel afraid that someone will wonder why I dropped person A and not person B.

I will not allow myself to be holed up in a position where I'm frozen in time and stuck with the connections I have that I do not want or need.

I maintain balance - for me - for others who might rely on me - I put my name and my face out there - and for some, it's like, oh, it's her again. And for others, well, others might not even see. But I don't do this for any pat on the back. I do it because it's who I am.

Good Girl Gone Redneck: Social Media Is Your Living Room

I have another post in the works on empathy and the importance of it when it comes to mental health support. Professional. Peer. In any form.

And what I have come to realize is that when someone cannot feel empathy towards me, or even try to understand and find out where I'm coming from?

That's not a friend.

That's someone in their own head.

I wouldn't live with them. I wouldn't date them. I wouldn't marry them.

So why would I stay in touch when I don't have to?

Pre-Facebook times I would probably have had them in my email contact list and completely forget about them until the day I switched to a new email and realized I didn't need their info anymore.

Or they'd be in my address book until about the third or fourth one. The one where I realized that I no longer sent them holiday cards - you know - back in the day when I sent out holiday cards.

And I know that this sounds like one of those Facebook posts that is a vaguebooking sort of:

 *** I'm cleaning up my friend list and it feels GREAT! ***

I know how it looks.

And maybe it is kind of that.

But I look at it as more. I look at it as a lesson. A way to recognize I don't have to be all the things to all the people.

And while you're at it?

Leave those Facebook groups you don't find beneficial to you. I did that last month and my Facebook experience got that much better. Seriously. Mark my words. Or don't. Just do it for yourself.

Take care of you, my friends.

11 comments:

Tracie said...

I did a big clean up of private Facebook groups last week - and it was SO beneficial. Made a huge difference.

Now I'm just working on finding more time to spend in the ones I kept (a certain book club group comes to mind!).

dstoutholcomb said...

sometimes, family is toxic, too...but that's a story for another time

frances pickard said...

Great post with so many thoughts and applications - thank-you. I needed to read this today.

Leanne said...

I can SO relate to this! I cleared out my FB friend list late last year - unfriended about 40 people and not one has noticed as far as I can tell. I also left a few FB groups because I didn't like the tone of them (I'm not into smutty commentary) and I've even cut a friend or two IRL because they lacked loyalty and integrity - both of which are vital to me. So you're definitely not alone in this Andrea :)

Karen Patten said...

I love the idea of your fb "friends" being invited into your living room. That's how I talk to my son about people he may encounter on social media - but I hadn't thought of it that way for myself! I think we've grown past the days of taking pride in our number of facebook "friends" and keeping the list to those who add something to our lives is the kindest choice we can make for ourselves.

Carla said...

Oh good. It was me. It was my iPad. I feel so so so much of this and so so so deeply. I wonder if things will ever shift back to the way they were?

Antionette Blake said...

We touched on this on one of my recent Podcasts - people should remember that they shouldn't allow toxic people in their real or virtual lives. Great post.

Jennifer Dunham said...

I love this comparison! It is such a great reminder to only keep those close to you and those who you have a connection with around on your social media.

ThinkWriteInspire said...

Bravo! I am all about balance and being true to ourselves. About a year ago or so I made three lists on FB. One is for family and close friends, one for friends, and one for acquaintances. (I did this in my privacy tools on fb). It was the best thing I could have done. I DON'T have to share everything with everyone.
Have a great weekend! Thanks for your post.

Lana L. said...

Wow - this resonates so much with me today Andrea. I'm way behind the curve on social media (heck, I've only had a Facebook account for a few years). I've been pretty good at removing toxic people from my actual living room, especially as I've gotten older. But I definitely need to take a look at my virtual living room. And I finish with a request: please don't un-friend me. I enjoy your posts too much! Have a great weekend!

Alana said...

I never thought of my Facebook account being my living room. It's a good analogy, but it is also quite a public living room. That's especially why I can't understand why people can act so hateful...oh, wait, some of us do that with our families all the time. A co worker told me today she was all ready to quit Facebook, period. If it wasn't for blogging, and it being a good way to keep up with some family, I just might quit, too.

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