Facebook is, behind the covers, a test of friendship.
And I came out of it yesterday bruised, yet smarter.
There’s this friend I really like. We share a lot of interests – hiking, outdoors, animals, spanish, Raghs, travelling on a whim, and more. She’s the only one of my wife’s friends who really, openly welcomed me when we started dating. And has stayed friendly, and in touch, since. Also, she has two strong, winning moves – she yaps like there’s no tomorrow, and she smiles a lot.
So, she was amongst the barely half-dozen people I actually *follow* on Facebook. Unlike the many dozens I’m *friends* with, but don’t follow.
Yesterday, she started liking and sharing posts about an extremely popular, and divisive, politician. I don’t like him, and quite abhor people who blindly praise him, and/or attack anyone perceived to have criticised him. And here she was, going all fan girl over him.
From amongst the two choices, debate or ignore, I chose the latter. I rated her friendship far higher than my dislike of the person. Had she been valued lesser as a friend, I might have jumped in to debate/criticise her idol, possibly polluting, if not ending, the friendship (given how strongly people feel for this politician).
For her, and for our friendship, I just unfollowed her.
We still have our shared interests, and shared memories. We still can continue to (plan to) explore, travel, hike, chat, and do the things that friends do. And we’ll continue without any lingering bile from a debate over a politician.
There are, after all, far more important things to debate – cats (hers) vs dogs (ours)!
The best way to save a friendship, sometimes, is to unfriend someone.
Later in the day I told Raghs how I was sad that I had to unfollow the friend, and the reason for it. She replied that she couldn’t stand most of her friends on FB, so doesn’t follow any at all. It helps her keep her real life friendships untainted.
When in doubt, ask Raghs. Even when not in doubt, and not asking, she’ll tell you.