31 October 2014

I clicked "unfriend"

I unfriended someone on Facebook this week.

It is the spouse of a friend. I know this person, but not very well, and since I live in another state, our interactions are limited to Facebook.

This person has very different religious, political, and social views than I do. In and of itself, that's not a problem. I don't read the links and status updates that stand against what I believe in. I'm capable of doing that on Facebook.

But then, this person saw a link that I posted about a prominent businessman who came out as gay recently. The person shared the link from my Facebook wall, adding a status that something to the effect that this businessman's coming out is purely a publicity stunt for the company.

I can't control how this person feels about this businessman. Or about homosexuality. I don't care what this person says on Facebook. But I do care that this person took something from my wall, which, knowing me, was meant as a positive thing, then used it to spread a message of paranoid intolerance. And because it was shared from my wall, my name is now linked to that post.

That's what made me angry about this incident. Say what you want on your wall. That's fine. But don't get me involved by linking my name to yours when it comes to those opinions.

So I unfriended this person. We never speak, and I don't read this person's Facebook wall as it is, so for me, it's not that big of a leap. But it's the meaning behind the action that led me to do it.

Some time ago, I made the decision that I would not attend my father's church anymore in the event that I visited the family. My logic is that by attending services--and participating--I am accepting what it taught, and condoning the behavior that goes on within that denomination. And I won't do that.

I feel the same way about this incident. By ignoring the fact that this person co-opted a post I intended to be celebratory in this way, I feel complicit in what was said about the businessperson. That it's okay that this person said that. And it's not okay to me.

I have learned that in order for me to live authentically, it's important for me to not surround myself with people who are toxic to me. That's not to say that I don't have people in my life who disagree with me or what I believe and stand for. I don't mean it like that at all. But there are people I know, and my relationship with them goes beyond disagreement and into toxicity. It could be that these people are angry about their beliefs, or that what they believe is damaging to me in some way, or that my relationship with them is filled with too much drama to be productive. Regardless of why, these people are not good for me, and just as I strive to make healthy food choices to take care of myself and exercise to take care of myself, it's important for me to take care of my mental and emotional (and spiritual) health by allowing myself to let go of toxic people instead of clinging to them out of some misguided sense of obligation.

So I unfriended this person.

I don't know whether or not there will be fallout from this with my friend (unfriended person's spouse). But I also know that this spouse believes the same things and has the same mentality as the person I unfriended, so maybe it wouldn't be the worst thing.

I don't know yet what will happen. But just as I know this person will stand by what was said, I stand by what I did.

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