Social Media. These 2 words put together are more loaded than they should be, yet, here we are. I struggle with social media. It is necessary when you are a writer, it is helpful when you have family spread out, and it really is the best way for me to see all the funny The Office memes that keep me going. It is toxic. There is no way it isn’t toxic. As the years go on I feel social media really has done more harm overall than good. But I can save that viewpoint for another day.
Today, today is why it is ok for you to click that unfriend button. This was inspired today because a big people’s veto vote is coming up in Maine. Regardless of the side of the subject you are on, I am proud of my fellow Mainers for exercising their right to use the people’s veto option, the work they have put into because of the freedoms this country has. But, because of the freedom and work that has occurred, it has also stirred up trouble. Debates, hatred, cruelty, unwillingness to be kind, and it is plastered all over social media. There is someone I know (who friended me) who is very against this upcoming vote to the point she is downright mean and cruel, today was the last post I could stomach. I clicked the button, and it felt pretty good.
I have had the social media conversation with many people. The fear though people hold when it comes to unfriending people is amazing! So, what better way to address this than to make one of my beloved lists.
10 Reasons Why it’s OK to Click ‘Unfriend’
1. It is just social media. There, I said it. It is just social media. In the full scope of life, it really is not that important.
2. What they post is toxic. Some people post so many negative things that it really does start to get to you. There have even been studies on this issue.
3. They are not a friend. Here is the best example; today when I couldn’t take the hatred anymore it occurred to me that this parent sent the friend request to me, has never had a real conversation with me, I don’t remember her children’s names, and I do not even know how to properly say her last name. Unless those are the qualities that make a real friend, I think it is safe to say we are not real friends.
4. You can’t think of a reason you want them on your timeline. In the days when I can’t reach my book while I’m nursing my daughter and opt for scrolling, I’ll ‘clean-out’ my friend list. Why do I need to see that Sally or John saw a really pretty flower in a state I’ve never been too and we may have gone to the same elementary school?
5. You do not see them in real life, and there is no reason why you do not. My mum lives out of state, so that is why I do not ever get to see her. Jane Doe graduated with me from high school and we haven’t spoken since, yet we live two towns away. Maybe then it really is ok to click that unfriend button.
6. You had a falling out. You really were friends and this was your only way of hanging on. You can still ‘friend’ them back on social media. But if the memory of this friendship is hurting, give yourself a break. It really is ok.
7. You are the problem. Ouch, right?! Take a step back though. Observe the ‘reactions’. Maybe you could be an issue. Maybe you would be doing someone a favor by just unfriending them. They could be having all ten of these issues and just not pulling the trigger. It might feel good for both of you.
8. You are taking it too seriously. I think you can describe this for yourself.
9. You want to be more private. You would be surprised by the number of people in the world who forget that everyone sees everything. Maybe this time you have just realized this too. Nothing wrong with being too private and nothing wrong with being too open.
10. You are not friends. Maybe you really are not friends. Maybe it is just a small connection, a friend of a friend’s aunt. But you really are just not friends. You are pretty safe then.
You do you.
In the end, that is what matters.
You, your mental health. What you see, what you immerse yourself in really does have an effect on you.
To my friends, ‘friends’, what have you. No matter the reason. It is always ok to click the unfriend button.
By Ashley Elizabeth Mitchell; Updated; May 2nd, 2020