A friend of mine is angry and hurt because another friend deleted him and me from his Facebook friends list. The hurt is understandable: We grew up in Revere with this guy, and we went through a lot together.
I sent our friend an e-mail asking why he un-friended us. His answer to me specifically was that this blog is dredging up too many painful memories from the past:
Bill your OCD diaries became to much for me. I felt the pain of the losses of Sean and Michael creeping back into the fabric of my life and some of the held secrets that still have not been spoken. Hence, I am not locking you out of my life, just out of Facebook. If I could filter THE OCD DIARIES out of Facebook and keep you I would do that in a minute. Please remember this is about me and my healing and is not meant to be offensive.
I’ve covered the Facebook un-friending subject before — specifically how my OCD had latched onto my Facebook friend count. Ridiculous, you say? Of course. But having OCD is all about worrying about ridiculous things. When I wrote the first post on it back in August, my friend count was 1,169. At last check this morning it was 1,451. Go figure.
Every time someone has un-friended me, I’ve worried about what I did to offend them. I keep my language mostly clean and I don’t whine about everything on my wall. But I push out a lot of my writing on Facebook, and for those with smaller friend counts, all my stuff can overwhelm their feed. But I also know some people un-friend me because this blog is just too much for them. One former colleague sent me this note a few weeks ago:
“Bill, I’ve grown to find your OCD posts too painful and am going to unfriend you. You realize you are an obsessive poster, I hope? I wish you luck, but I think you need help and compassion, not exposure. I have a daughter who’s mentally ill, so I am particularly sensitive to watching people flay themselves alive. I wish you all the best, really.”
It’s funny how attached we’ve all become to our Facebook friend lists. To be un-friended is to be slapped in the face and told to go away. That hurts.
But my thinking is starting to shift on this issue.
I still don’t like it when someone un-friends me because it still feels like a rejection. But I’m starting to see that sometimes it’s the right thing for a person to do.
For example, this blog covers a lot of heavy stuff. A lot of people have become daily readers and tell me my openness has inspired them to deal with their own issues. But for others, especially those with a lot of pain in their lives, every post is going to feel like a baseball bat to the head. And so it was with my old friend.
Facebook is still fairly new for a lot of people. We’re still learning how to deal with each other in this world of social networking. I doubt we’ll ever figure it out.
I’ll just have to keep being me and hope for the best.
I suggest you all do the same.