‘Social’ Networking: What is a ‘friend’?

Scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook, I see posts from close friends, friends of friends I have met once, friends from High School, friends from Elementary school, a person whom I spent an 11-hour plane delay with in a terminal, in-laws, Aunts, Uncles, first cousins, and fifth cousins. Out of all of my 656 Facebook friends, I have not met one, max two, in person myself and had a conversation with them. But does that really qualify them as a ‘friend’? Do I really need all 656 people of whom I ‘know’ to interact with me on a social media site thus enabling them to share in my daily life via the digital world? Or, should I just limit my post content to include only things I know won’t insult anyone and/or their beliefs? I.e. Christmas and my Christian beliefs, hunting, eating meat, etc…

Unfortunately, in this circumstance it looks like I can not have my cake and eat it too. You see, not only is hunting part of my livelihood, but it is also a big part of who I am- a Texan. If you were not raised in a rural area of Texas, you will not be able to grasp this concept, and may even vehemently argue this fact with me. Cue the Rudy’s BBQ commercial: (ha, Cue… no pun intended.)

The overall point intended, is not if you agree with the hunting industry, but moreover if you are my ‘friend’ on Facebook and/or in ‘real life’, I expect you to know who I am and what I stand for, and accept me as that, as I do you. I may not agree with some of the beliefs and/or lifestyle choices that come with being your friend, but I can still love you at the same time, can’t I?

Today’s digitally-empowered society has been fed the concept that if someone is Anti-Gay Marriage, Pro-Abortion, or Pro-Hunting, it is okay, and actually right, to hate them for standing for that. Ideals have become a fashion. It is globally fashionable, at the moment, to hate hunters and post a picture to Facebook of you attending a gay marriage ceremony. (Cue caption with all the #hashtags.) It is not only acceptable, but encouraged, to comment negatively on a hunting picture of someone you’ve never met nor spoken to. It is your duty to society to let them know how much they are globally hated for what they do and stand for. But, should the ostracized hunter do the same and comment equally hateful remarks on a photo of a gay couple, they are in the wrong. And they would be.

If you are an atheist, homosexual, non-hunter, I will still respect you for all that you are and stand for, and in return I expect you to respect me, as a fellow thinking, living, loving, human being, including all that I stand for. Alternative to what mainstream society may want you to believe, we can think this way about each other. I can disagree with you, and still think and speak in love with you. If acting/reacting in this manner is above your capabilities, then I don’t want to be any type of friend with you. I will still respect you- I just think it is fruitless to connect myself digitally to someone who I know secretly, or openly, ‘hates’ part of me because I may think or believe differently. To go super-corny: If you can’t accept me for (what you deem-to-be) my faults, then you can’t have me at my best.

I enjoy Facebook for it’s networking part of being a social network. Being able to connect with so many people broadens my abilities in many business and personal ways. But when one of those ‘friends’ from Facebook, one of whom I have seen their little family grow, ‘liked’ many posts, and shared in the joys of their life, when one of those ‘friends’ ignores me in the grocery store when I try to say hello, or obviously doesn’t care to spend their time to hold a conversation with me- well, that is not a friend in any form of the word. That is an acquaintance, and a rude one at that.

There is a feature on your Facebook friend list- one where you can sort each friend by acquaintance, friend, or close friend. But- if someone truly fits the word of acquaintance, as described above, do I really need them to have access to all the things I post? Maybe by the end of today I will have far less ‘friends’ on Facebook, and just more ‘acquaintances’ in real life.

…I could start a movement- #slimbook. Or, I could just keep it real. I like real. I like real books, real architecture, the real world in a digital age- an age where the streets and houses are dirty and unkempt and files on a computer are organized. There is a whole world on the other side of this computer screen. A world struggling to love and survive. If the world’s citizens are more concerned with digitally hating than they are with real-life loving, I shudder to think what may become of the next generation. Centuries ago, the world was building massive, beautiful, intricate buildings that were durable and made to last. Now, we throw together sheet-rock houses, and build-it-yourself chipboard furniture that will need to be replaced in five years. We don’t worry about the appearance of our yard, or the city park, because we all have games on tablets and ‘work’ to do on the computer. Spending the day together as a family, raking the yard, was not so foreign of an activity a mere 30 years ago.

But now i’m just babbling.

In short- love and let love. You are not the same person you were yesterday, why not make your actions/reactions today those done in love? There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain- hey, you might even make a friend. :)

This post was inspired by an event that occurred a couple of days ago- I posted a picture of my very first hunt, and a ‘friend’, a woman of whom I met once, but knew my husband as a child, commented something along the lines of “Fun!!!!!!! I am glad you are no longer friends of mine!”and then proceeded to delete both myself and my husband from her Facebook. I am a sensitive person, and even though that wasn’t so mean, it still hurt. If that is the worst I have to deal with, i’ll survive, but I still want to avoid that from occurring in the future. I don’t need those ‘friends’ in my life, digital or otherwise.

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