Dear (un) Friend
It’s neat when Facebook shows you how many new friends you added for the month, the year, or whatever. This year, though, it was kind of bittersweet for me... Because, even though I added some super awesome new peeps, I lost some very dear ones.
I was unfriended this year by quite a few people I was supposedly close to. Even family members. I’ve really wrestled with this in my heart... the sadness and disappointment. I did as I always do when things touch me (good or bad), I turned to writing. Below is a letter I wrote to the close ones who have unfriended me.
I wasn’t going to post this publicly, but maybe if it’s shared it will come across their feed and they’ll get the message. Plus, I know I’m not the only one who has had this happen. So, I’m also posting this to encourage you guys… to rise above it, in spite of the disappointment.
Social media does not dictate relationships, guys. Hearts do… hearts full of forgiveness and charity, and a willingness to move forward when we come face to face again—which we will, eventually.
I also hope this will be a reminder to be kind with comments. We do not all have to agree on here. We don't have to "like" every post we see. But we do need to be kind.
Over the years I have enjoyed this window into your world. Though we are separated by miles or sometimes just busyness, it has been nice to still be a part of your life and keep in touch. I truly loved seeing photos of your family and hearing of your adventures. I loved the front row seat to your happiness, which brought me many smiles. This digital connection to you has been a blessing to me in many, many ways.
So, you can imagine how disappointing it was to learn that you unfriended me. More than that, it was disheartening to think that our differing beliefs about politics or religion weighed more than our bloodline or the many years we spent building this friendship. It was truly saddening –the realization that I cannot support our president, our flag, or my God and still be considered your friend… that a lifelong relationship between people can be tossed aside with the click of a mouse or the tap of a screen. It’s heartbreaking that you’d choose to never hear stories or see pictures of my kids again, just so that you don’t have to see my thoughts on our country or my faith. Especially since you could have just scrolled by those posts, without reading them.
The worst part, though, is when I look back on all the fond memories and the closeness we’ve shared over the years… I had no idea that it all depended on me agreeing with you. I had no idea that “being me” would mean I could no longer be connected to you.
I will admit that my beliefs are strong—frankly, so are yours. And yes, I am outspoken… but I’m an author, a speaker, and a wellness coach by profession and nature. I feel CALLED to be outspoken, to the uplifting and encouragement of others in these sometimes “touchy” areas. If I change that, if I hide the most vibrant and energetic part of myself, I cease to be me. And I’m sorry, but I will not sacrifice who I am just because your skin is not thick enough to handle a differing opinion.
And here’s the thing: you think you have unfriended me, but you haven’t. I still care for you, still cherish the memories we share, and still sincerely wish you well. In fact, when we run into each other in the awkward moment in the grocery store, a community event, a reunion, or a wedding… I will see you still as a friend, even if Facebook no longer classifies us as such. When we see each other at a funeral… when the gift of time seems all the more precious and relationships all the more treasured, when regret seems haunting, and opinions seem petty… I promise to reach across this current “disconnect” and embrace you, just as I have in the past.
I’m sorry, my friend, but despite your best efforts you really can’t get rid of me forever. 😊 For now, though, I will accept (with heartbreak) your choice to be free of me. But please know I am not free of you, nor do I ever want to be.