I was going to write about a confrontation I had at the gym today, involving a spin class and what one perceived as a slight and I perceived as my preference - but that took a back seat to something that happened recently involving my favorite social interaction, Facebook.
George Carlin did a bit about how being an asshole was relative to the distance. Someone on TV was really AN ASSHOLE. The guy in the car who cut you off is An Asshole, and the one next to you in line was [whispering] pretty much of an asshole. Distance is a great defender. Such is the case with the Internet.
In this environment, we can comment, tweak or otherwise say things that we wouldn't normally say to people to their face. It's a great insulator. Even when we have a named sign-in and people know us (like on Facebook) we feel free to stop over, pick fights and leave.
Likewise, our posts on Facebook and Twitter can be dissected and analyzed to the extent that people we do not consider real-life friends can opine on our lives and thoughts as though they know us or have actually interacted with us.
We are told (by experts) that we should express ourselves and tell the truth whenever possible. What those experts do not know is that the truth is hard to swallow.
I have read that our true personality is defined by the things we do in private. Our social behavior is a put-on for either our job or the impression that others would have of us. The things we think are different from the things we do. Different to the point that discussing our difficulties is off-putting to our Facebook friend community.
I have been referred to as being "suicidal" with some of the things I have posted. In fact, the people who have referred to me that way have made no effort to contact me or discuss my problems. Merely, they have made an assumption based on circumstantial evidence - which is the best way to react. As a reaction, I have been unfriended by at least two people over the past month. That's disconcerting.
I suppose it's because people want Facebook to be a "Happy Place," filled with tales of vacations, photos and exciting events that either mask ones true feelings or make others think that their lives are filled with happiness. Some of us live in the real world where bad things happen to good people and good people need to talk about it.
Thus is the quandary that is Facebook. Post good things and the world is at your doorstep. Post a problem and the world walks away. It's human nature, I suppose. We want to deal with the low-hanging fruit. The easy stuff.
Over the past month, I have had an issue with two "Facebook friends," one of which I suspect never liked me to begin with and the other I thought liked me, but turned out to be a Facebook Friend. The former picked fights with me over my opinions, and when I confronted him over it, he took the "Unfriend" route. The latter, I suppose, got tired of reading and, even though I supported him in his plight, unfriended me in an effort to ... I don't know ... relieve himself of any responsibility?
Either way, it's to my benefit that they are gone, I suppose. And such is the fault of this so-called Social Media that we have become addicted to. It isn't so much about our happiness as it is about their happiness.
So, be happy, Goddamn it!