By: Amber Leventry
I was recently unfriended on social media by a friend. What a fucked up sentence. For starters, social media really isn’t the best place to determine friendships. And would a real friend act in such a juvenile and passive aggressive way to vent their opinion of me? Look, I can be the best passive aggressive and grudge-holding jerk in the world. I also can be absolutely self-righteous. But when it comes to true friendship, I behave a bit better. I either deal with a situation directly or I don’t. I let the solid ground of a friendship absorb the winds of change and trust my friend will still be there. I am not the best friend all of the time to all of my friends, but I am loyal. And I expect the same.
Since I was no longer friend worthy in her cyber world, I wanted to know if that meant we were no longer friends in real life. When I asked, I was cast aside with as much ease as a mouse click. The tipping point was a lack of an invitation to a public playdate with a mutual friend. My friend had enough and decided to end what must have been a very important relationship in her life. Because if not being invited on a child’s playdate is reason enough to end a relationship, her affection for me must have been deeper than I thought and my actions cut her deep.
Or this person is incredibly insecure and incapable of making and holding onto lasting friendships. Either way, we are no longer friends. Which, quite frankly, is fine.
I am closer to 40 than 16 and high school was a long time ago. I don’t have time to shower on a regular basis, so I certainly don’t have time for this type of nonsense. I miss showering, not high school. Yet, I couldn’t let it go. I needed to know why she felt so moved to let a button declare the end of our friendship. She put it simply: she invited me and my family to more things than I invited her and her family. While this is true, I didn’t realize she was keeping score. I wasn’t.
We will likely run into each other again. And I plan on being just as cordial as before. I am in no position to discard good people who make up my community or turn my back on someone who may need or give me a hand someday. I hope our kids remain friends. But here’s a quote by Dan Bern, one of my favorite songwriters and storytellers, and my philosophy on friendship: “Don’t test my love, because maybe I don’t love you all that much.”
Just because our kids are friends doesn’t mean we will be BFFs. It’s awesome when playdates for the kids are enjoyable social outings for all parents involved, but I’m okay with having friendly acquaintances. I am capable of enjoying someone’s company without expecting an invite to every event or aspect of their life. Not all of my social media friends or followers are people I would bring with me to a deserted island to withstand the elements, test of time, or strains of friendship.
Don’t test me. If you don’t know how I feel about you, ask me. Don’t invite me places because you want a reciprocal invite. And if you don’t get one, have enough confidence and self-respect to not let jealousy dictate your actions. And by God, stop burning bridges. Parenting is too hard to do without the support of other parents. Unless I have seriously hurt you or your child, I might be worth keeping around. I might be really shitty about inviting you to the park every time I go—I am lucky to remember to pack up all three of my own kids—but if you see a photo of me at the park with a common friend, maybe it was an act of coincidence and not a middle finger to you and your kid.
Some friendships start out as ones of convenience. Some start with an instant connection. And some grow over time. But none of them should be hard. People either move forward with you or move you forward to a better place.
In a world of smart phones and social media fueling instant gratification and unfiltered comments, the definition of friendship can become clouded. Facebook likes can be shallow and how far will Twitter followers really follow you? Sharing, networking, and updating are forms of entertainment and should not be the examples used to build or break down a relationship. Nor should they be used to bully, intimidate, or disown someone with knee-jerk reactions to something you don’t like. Maybe something that rubbed you the wrong way cut too close to an issue you still need to figure out on your own.
I don’t like everyone. Not everyone likes me. I’m okay with that. Really. But if your way of disliking me comes in the form of taking away a big thumbs-up symbol, I was never worth it in the first place. Don’t expect me to test your love, because maybe you didn’t love me all that much. And I totally like that philosophy.