As a life coach and the leader of a team of network marketers, I have a multitude of people sharing their personal problems with me every day. I honestly don't mind, I realize that people sometimes just need to vent to other people and want a second opinion to make sure they're making the right decisions. And then an issue comes along that every person, not just network marketers, has to deal with and thinking about it really makes you question the importance that society today has placed on social media networks.
Today, one of my girls came to me this afternoon and was very excited because she has anxiety and she went out of her comfort zone and made a new friend. She was gushing about this lady, and said that this lady invited her to a book club and everything, and that she was planning to go. However, later on that same evening she reported back to me that the lady had gone on to delete her from her Facebook friends list and she was very upset. I tried unsuccessfully to console her, and realized in the process that I had even lost a Facebook friend that day at some point as well. Though I could shrug it off, my girl couldn't do so as easily. Not only was she confused, but also she was hurt because she came out of her comfort zone and this lady decided to turn around and electronically spit at her.
Whether we like it or not, social media is redefining our real-life relationships. We've all heard that it's not official until it's Facebook official. Nowadays before we can even get through the front door people are already checking-in, taking photos of their meals for their Instagram feed, and the pound sign has become the hashtag symbol. I'm writing this article on a laptop, my husband is watching hockey on his cell phone, and I have to pry the tablet out of my son's hands each evening to get him to go to sleep. I love that we have such easy access to technology and that each day I'm able to continue my education, work from home, and maintain relationships with friends and family that are far away. With all this technology creep, should we be worried about how it affects our relationships with our friends and family, like if they don't like our online personas perhaps? Even worse, what if one of our friends delete us from their social media friend's list?
In today's society, this is still a grey area. Generally, those 25 and above place less importance on social media and still actively plan and attend events without always constantly posting about it on our social media profiles and also try to be more in the moment with our friends and family, or at least that's what I have noticed with the people that I am surrounded by. I have at least one friend "detox" from online activities each week, and if I didn't earn my money online, I would consider detoxing too. We even say "in real life" when referring to things we do off-line. In the case of a more mature person, an email or message on a social media platform could very well affect our personal lives offline, depending on the importance of it. But, we put very little stock in online personas, and if a person we considered to be a good friend did delete us from social media, it might sting a little, but most would shrug it off and go about the day. More mature folks also are wrapped up in parenting or their own careers, so it makes sense that we wouldn't place as much importance on social networking.
However, I have noticed that younger people seem to have their devices attached to them at all times. When you are attached to your cell phone, it is easy to get wrapped up in the online world and let it take over your life. There was a point in my life where I let social media platforms become too powerful in my life and my family even joked that I didn't need cable because I had Facebook and a knack for finding all the internet drama. My own brother didn't want to add me to his friend's list on Facebook because my life revolved around it and I suspect he had a feeling he wouldn't like the "online me." However, once I started to grow up and detach myself from the online realm, my brother and I grew closer and we are now happily friends on Facebook. Considering how hurt I was as a younger woman that my brother would not accept my friend request, I think that someone important to me deleting me as a friend on Facebook would have been way more hurtful in the past.
So what should a person do if they find themselves removed from a friend's list on social media? Honestly, nothing. I never reach out and ask if it was a mistake and I do my best to not take it personally. I feel like if it was a mistake that they'll notice it eventually and reach out to me and apologize, and if it wasn't then they won't. Refusing to reach out myself also spares me of the awkwardness of the conversation itself, as I really don't want to hear why that person did delete me, in the event that it was for a negative reason. I try to always be my best self, both online and offline, and if that person doesn't understand that then the problem is with him or her, not me. While I do share some of my upsets on social media because I like to stay real, I also try to maintain a positive outlook on life. I feel that if a person can't be happy for me when things are going good and over advice or a virtual pat on the back when they're not, then I'm not really missing anything when they delete me. It's like the trash took itself out.