Thursday, November 7, 2013

Offending Friends on Facebook: Finding Forgiveness in Your Newsfeed

Facebook is an amazing invention, isn't it?  Being able to reconnect with that friend from high school, former co-workers, or your second cousin once removed...and finding out just how totally wack-a-doo they really are.

I try to only "friend" people that I would honestly talk to, like in real life, face-to-face, with no modems or key boards between us. And I am always pleased when I look through my list of Facebook friends and  see the wide variety of people I've had the privilege to know over the years.  From Buddhists to conservative Christians; old and young; right, left and center (and a few way out there in the outer realms of our galaxy--you know who you are) they are an interesting group.

So it comes as no surprise that a few of these people's beliefs I do not agree with 100% of the time.  You gotta admit, some of y'all come off as crazy.  But I know there are times that I may come off as a little loopy as well.  (And really, sometimes I am a little crazy. That whole giving-up-Facebook-for-Lent thing probably indicates some serious Catholic school/ internet addiction issues.)

The problem is that some of what we post on the internet we would never, ever say to some one's face.  "You're stupid if you voted for Obama!"  Really, in high school I used to let you cheat off my algebra tests.  "My religion is the only way--share if you agree." thanks?

What Facebook needs is a "Present Company Excepted" emoticon.  "If you like chocolate, you're going to Hell! PCE ;)"   You all might want to work on that one for me.

(Of course that would probably read "If you like chocolate your going to hell.")

During the last presidential election my mantra while checking my news feed was:

  I know these people. Inhale.  I like these people. Exhale.  These people mean me no harm. Namaste.

And then I had to temporarily hide some of their posts from my news feed.  You know, just so I could still look them in the eye when I ran into them at the grocery store.

But you know what?  The kicker is that I value all these Facebook friends because they are unique, opinionated, crazy people  And I have to remember that when I read their status updates about the world economy, gun control or their chocolate preferences (Extra Dark or Die!) they are not judging me, but expressing themselves. I will try not to become offended just because I don't agree with them.

And as a small favor to me, your former Catholic school classmate, your step aunt twice removed and your favorite Words with Friends opponent, please use the Flaming Rhetoric Filter on your Facebook settings (Ok, yeah, there is no such thing, but maybe one of you could work on that as well.)  Remember that your status updates are seen not only by your biker buddies or your fellow Tea Partiers, but your great aunt Mildred, Joe at the bank and me, your favorite right wing liberal friend.


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