A long while ago, when I was young and new to the world of social media, I got an email from a friend announcing that she was “unfollowing” me. (I had no idea what “unfollow” meant.) I think my writing was making her awfully angsty, and she strongly wished to respond. But she is a busy, working mother with little time to respond to silly Facebook posts. So she did the next best thing. But she assured me that she wasn’t “cutting ties.” Instead, we would go back to corresponding the old-fashioned way, i.e. email. She also expressed concern about the increasing trend of negative articles that I had been posting.
Huh? Clearly, I was stumped. I wrote back a nice response. Thanks for being so candid, I am well, I have no problems if you wish to unfollow, I try to be cordial and objective, I try to keep away from nasty arguments, etc. etc.
Needless to say, she hasn’t emailed me since, or kept in touch any way, old-fashioned or newfangled.
Another social media friend had started to act all cold and dismissive. Huh? She was warm to me whenever we communicated, so I had no idea what had changed. Then I couldn’t even find her on Facebook. I wondered if she had deactivated her account, so I sent a message on Whatsapp. She responded. Again, in that weirdly cool, indifferent tone. I was certain she wouldn’t deactivate her FB account because she used it to promote her work. The lightbulb went off a few weeks later. She had blocked me.
Then there was another social media friend who was also warm and sweet whenever we connected. One fine day, she stopped responding to me. I sent her a few messages sharing posts I thought she might like, connecting her with similar minded people. Radio silence. I knew that she had seen the messages. Mystifying! And rather rude, I thought…
All of these strike me as strange happenings. It takes me a while to comprehend that someone might actually have a beef with me Then I wonder, did I say/do something wrong? Was I insensitive?
I view myself as a mellow, mild personality. I don’t get into your face or business. I am fairly courteous and polite. I don’t challenge your assumptions and beliefs.
Hmmm, I think that last one may be the issue. My beloved husband often reminds me that I am rather clueless when it comes to managing perception. (And, perhaps I am challenging assumptions and beliefs in my own way.)
Envy, maybe? Anger? Bitterness?
That I could be an object of envy or that I could elicit anger is a little difficult for me to grasp. Perhaps it is somewhat true. I don’t spend much time dwelling on it. Yes, I understand that people act out of envy/resentment, and it may be that I am an easy target. For one, I am rather unsuspecting, so I don’t get that I am a target. And when it dawns upon me, I do nothing. I simply stop engaging.
Here’s the thing, though. My relative naïveté has kept my heart free from bitterness. Not to say that I don’t experience the occasional twinge of envy or frustration or bitterness myself… I see it, I do nothing.