Does Unfriending on Facebook Mean Unfriending In Real Life?
The new eternal question, sorry Shakespeare.
June is LGBT Pride month, even if the current resident of the White House won't recognize it. So it's fair to tell you that I am part of the community, I'll wait while you pick your jaws up off the floor. It's true, I am a gay man and I am very proud to be part of this community. That also means I can be a little sensitive about things people post on Facebook, in regards to my community.
One friend of mine, we'll call her Tracy. Tracy and I go way back, there are a lot of fond memories that we share. She was one of the first people that I came out to, and was a big advocate for me to make a move on the guy I liked. There were many times over the years that we fell out of contact, only to find one another again. Thanks to social media, that seemed to be a thing of the past.
Then one day everything changed. She supported Trump. To this day, I don't know why. We've debated and talked about it but I still don't understand how she could support a homophobic, misogynistic Orange. That's neither here nor there though. After one very public and quite nasty Facebook fight, we decided to not talk politics with one another. It was the perfect arrangement, since at the time, I was writing mostly political articles for people. And working on a political essay book, which was scrapped. It seemed like peace had been restored and all was right in my world.
That lasted a few days, until I noticed that Tracy was starting to post Transphobic memes on Facebook. "Should I let it go or should I say something?" The debate raged on inside of me like Believe by Cher gets stuck in my head. Just as I was going to politely say something, another meme was posted and it was just too much for me. In that moment, I did what I had to do. I unfriended her on Facebook.
It was the right choice for me. Sure, I should have sent a message but I didn't because I knew I couldn't be constructive. When she realized this, she messaged me and asked what it was about. There was an implication in her messages that if we weren't friends on Facebook, then we must not be friends in real life.
What in the what? Never before had I heard of such a phenomena. You can't be friends with someone in real life, if you aren't part of their social media world? One of my friends has a girlfriend who isn't on social media at all. Does that mean their relationship isn't real? This was a whole new world for me to explore as a writer.
The truth is, I don't know if Tracy and I will ever be friends the way we once were. I'd like to think that we will be but the truth is, our lives are literally going in two different directions. But it leaves me to ponder what friendships look like now in the Post-modern era. It's a given that if you go to the bar with your friends, there is a good chance all of you will be looking at your phones more than talking to one another. There's also a good chance that everyone will be looking at their respective dating apps, hoping to find a romantic partner for the night. But what if you deleted them for your social media world? Does that mean you will no longer be friends or share the phone light in a dark bar, hoping to find someone?
Happy Pride Month!