The thing about Facebook or social media is that our feeds are a reflection and an expression of who we are– good or bad –it’s who we are because we stated it…we wrote it.
And whether we’re being real or pretending to be someone we are not, at the point we post something, that’s who we are (even if at that moment who we are is a person trying to be someone we really aren’t).
Facebook gives us the freedom to say what we want on our personal feeds. As people, we have the liberty and freedom to be who we are, regardless of who agrees.
Facebook is set up so that if I am your friend and you are my friend, that “friendship” was something we mutually agreed to. You asked to be my friend or I asked to be your friend. You accepted or I accepted. It’s a mutual engagement.
If at any time you don’t like what I say or I don’t like what you say, we can delete, ignore, unsubscribe, or unfriend each other on Facebook. That doesn’t mean we don’t love each other. It doesn’t even mean we don’t like each other, and it doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t agree with one another at least on some things. It simple means that relative to Facebook, one of us or both of us has chosen a different kind of connection at this time.
In addition, if you are my Facebook friend and I am your Facebook friend, then we have agreed to see each other’s posts or feeds; whether that be regularly or on occasion, we will see some of each other’s content. Remember though, we agreed to be friends, and we would all agree that friends don’t hate each other or harm each other, especially just because we disagree about something.
Friends don’t mock each other. Friends don’t defame or defraud one another. Friends don’t provoke or agitate in order to start a fight or create discord. Friends don’t lie about one another. Friends don’t shame each other. Friends don’t gossip. Friends don’t publicly (or privately) ridicule each other. Friends don’t bash one another or say mean spirited things to each other, and friends also don’t do these things to the friends of their friends.
Social media or not, we are still human beings.
Remember, Facebook is about MUTUAL friendship at ANY time. Initially, if you don’t like what I represent or who I am, or you don’t want to be my friend, don’t accept my friend request or don’t ask me to be your friend. I give you that freedom, in a good spirit, and I mean it. If I don’t want to be your friend, I shouldn’t accept your friend request or ask you to be my friend.
If we do become Facebook friends, and at some point down the road, the communication changes and one of us decides they don’t like the content of the Facebook friend, let’s do the right thing and unfriend rather than bash or say hateful things. You can unfriend in a right and good spirit, but you can never bash or condemn in a right and good spirit. It’s ok to unfriend. It’s not ok to be mean spirited or unkind.
You can unsubscribe (nowadays) or unfriend on Facebook without that necessarily meaning you are being unkind, hateful, or unloving. I wish more people could get that.
But that’s not even the main thing I want to say. This post is NOT about “friend” and “unfriend.” This post is about freedom and kindness, and about all of us embracing and WALKING IN the LOVE that allows others the freedom to be who they are and publish what they want without being met by Facebook “friends” or friends of friends with hate.
We don’t all agree. That’s totally fine. It’s how we disagree that matters. That’s who we REALLY are.
If we are Facebook friends, we should behave like friends. None of us should ever see one person slamming or attacking the comment or post of another person. Let’s be bigger than that. I know this sounds so idealistic, but together we could really make an impact and change the world for the better all by how we choose to respond.
If you don’t like a feed or a comment, delete the comment, or unsubscribe to the feed (which again, you can do nowadays), or unfriend the person. That is your right. And it’s totally fine. Don’t feel bad about that. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about that person. It just may mean that at this particular time in your life (and it could be based on what you’re going through at the moment that no one understands), there are certain pieces of content that you don’t want to see right now. We should give each other that liberty without letting unkindness, shame, gossip, or hate enter into the picture.
We are all free to post whatever we want. We are all different. God made us different. We can learn so much from each other. Sometimes people post inspiring things, funny things, and interesting things. Sometimes others post things we don’t agree with. Occasionally someone posts something that we feel is not right. That’s ok. That is their right. But how will WE respond? We can choose love or fear. We can choose kindness or hate. We can even unsubscribe or unfriend, and that is sometimes the kindest thing to do. But ugly words, mean-spirited comments, or thoughtless attacks are NEVER the right or kind response. (And they will never change behavior anyway, since it’s only kindness that leads to real spiritual growth and positive change of heart).
So when someone posts something you personally don’t agree with, or you don’t like, or that makes you uncomfortable, or that might make some of your other Facebook friends uncomfortable, be calm with that… it’s ok… really, it’s fine…you have three options…
You can ignore the comment, you can delete the comment, or you can unsubscribe and/or unfriend the person. Oh, you actually have a fourth option and unfortunately, too many people take the liberty of this fourth option, and this is where the concept of “friendship” really comes into play…
Your fourth option is to respond outside of the Spirit of Love.
When my “real-life” friend who is standing next to me says something I don’t like, I don’t agree with, I don’t want to hear, I think is rude, or is something I just can’t handle right now in my life, I have a choice in how I respond. I can ignore it, I can respond with a respectful comment, or if what they said is hateful or horrible I can ask my friend to leave (or I can excuse myself to another room for a time), but I don’t bash my friend, attack them, cuss them out, shame them, call other friends in order to humiliate them, openly shame them, or say mean spirited things to my friend. (And if I do lose my cool and respond badly, I am due to apologize for my mistake or bad behavior.)
Facebook is a funny animal. It really is about friendships, but somehow we have lost that. It really is about you being my friend and me being your friend by choice. Friends who choose to be friends don’t want to do harm to each other. Or at least they shouldn’t. If you get heavy into politics; or “talk” way too much about drugs, sex, and rock ‘n’ roll; and if per chance I don’t necessarily want to talk about those things all the time, I may unfriend you or unsubscribe so I don’t see the content (we couldn’t do that years ago).
And likewise, if I post content you don’t like, such as scripture verses; or thoughts about God; or silly pictures about animals; or tips about business or interior design; or my thoughts about Facebook; and you don’t necessarily want to see scripture verses on your feed, or you don’t relate much to animals, or you’re not into business or design, or you think some of my posts are too long, too idealistic, or too ridiculous, please unsubscribe or unfriend me. I promise, I won’t hate you, harm you, or shame you. I will fully support your’s decision.
Respectfully giving each other room to be ourselves, and treating Facebook friends and friends of friends with dignity and respect, is the true freedom we should find through social media. I hope we do.