Let Me Tell You Why I Unfriended You On Facebook

Dear Super Amazing, Gifted, Friend on Facebook,

(And BTW – none of those things are sarcastic, I truly mean them,)

thumbs downI am happy for you. I truly am.

I’m happy that your kids are all doing what they are supposed to be doing in life.

I’m happy that doors are opening and you are so darn grateful for everything that is happening in your life.

I’m happy that you and your husband are happy. That you rarely fight and that you wake up grateful every day for being in the same space.

I truly am happy for you. (You’re gonna think I’m not. But I promise you, I am.)

But…

But I can’t take it anymore. I promise you, I am not wishing you ill will. I want you to have those things. But here’s the thing.

I can’t hear about them anymore.

You (and a lot of people reading this,) are going to think that I’m shallow. If I could only get a little more Jesus, I could read your posts, your back door brags, every updating starting with the same phrase, “I’m so proud of___________ (insert child’s name here.)”.  Maybe you’re right. But God and I are working on me, together. And one of the things I need to work on (big time) is actively working against discontent. And I’m working on it:

  • We’ve adopted a Compassion child (because who can sit in a place of discontent when you can take food in the fridge and a bed to sleep in for a given?)
  • Roger and I are purposely looking for ways to help people in our lives
  • I write a list of gratitude once a week
  • I look for things to thank God for, aloud, every single day

I’m working on it.

But every time I read a post about your seemingly perfect life, I go back to that ugly place. That gnarled, twisted ugly place where I think to myself “Why does God love her more than me?” (I told you it was ugly…)

It brings me back to 4th grade  where my teacher, Mrs. B. took a weird dislike to me. (How anyone can randomly hate a nine year old is beyond me, but I digress.)  Mrs. B. would pass out candy to the kids in class, but “run out” when it came to me. If a friend and I were caught talking, I would be sent to run laps out on the field, but my friend was excused. She tried to have me switched to the “Early Readers” (in other words, slow readers) class even though I was reading three grades beyond our level.  I couldn’t understand why Mrs. B. seemingly liked all the other girls in class, but didn’t like me.

So I go along in my life, practicing my gratitudes. Not always getting it perfect, but definitely making progress. And then I run across a post from a friend who talks about their poor choice, or the poor choice of one of their kids, and they do it with humor and grace (because the worst choices can make the best stories,) and it encourages me, and makes me want to rally around my friend and do the dance of the sister-in-arms – we may trip, we may stumble, but because we are linking arms, and loving each other, we will not let each other fall. And I keep dancing.

But when I come to your post, about your child’s perfect grades, and this post is identical to the six posts before it, showing me the shiny side of your life? It brings me back to fourth grade. And let me tell you – once was enough for fourth grade.

I need to read your highs and your lows. I need to know that you get it. No – I don’t need your family secrets. I do need to know when your hair looks like Don King, or when you bought the ice cream after your son’s team lost the soccer match. Brag on your kids – yes – let me celebrate them with you. But balance the victories with the “growing opportunities”. Because we all have ‘em.

OK so I’m not blocking you today. I’m hiding your post for a while until I get a little stronger. Let’s check back with each other in six months. We both may be different then. Maybe I can hold you up when one of those “growing opportunities” comes along.

An Update: Reopening a Can of Worms – Thoughts on Yesterday’s Post

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Comments

  1. Faith Bogdan says:

    Thanks, Kathi. When someone told me it seemed like I had a wonderful life, I knew it was time to write and post this: http://www.faithbogdan.com/2/post/2013/06/its-not-a-wonderful-life-a-very-honest-post.html.

  2. Paula Cutcher Aiton says:

    LOVE IT, Kathi!!!! I have one of “those” friends, too. And I beat myself up almost every day when I see her posts. Maybe I’ll hide her in my timeline for a bit. :)

  3. LauraKramer says:

    Many people feel the same way you do Kathi.

    It’s interesting the offense others take on FB status. I for one view my FB status as a scrapbook I keep out on my coffee table. Memories–the good ones, not the ugly ones. My blog on the other hand is my diary–the one I keep in my dresser drawer with old ugly winter sweaters hiding it (the fact my blog is more public than my FB is only because God has crazy ideas…)

    My point is, I choose to capture the hardships in my diary, and the moments I can catch my breath and see Life happening in my scrapbook. Does that make sense. Still, don’t get me wrong. I totally get it. I hear so many thoughts on this very thing. It’s worth thinking through why I (or anyone) posts daily life in such public places.

    There are some who believe the people who post the hardships, mess ups and ugly days 90% of the time are referred to as “trolls”. In other words, these brave ones who dare to be brave and bare their souls are now considered “needy” and have ill motives seeking attention.

    And then on the other side is what you mentioned here–the perfect ones. Gosh, I’m not sure what to think anymore. I do remember when I first joined FB I caught myself in rages of jealousy of scrolling through the “perfect” lives of others. I felt terrible about my own life and couldn’t stand all the happiness out there. And then (after a LONG time…really long time) God showed me something new. He showed me their lives as Hope for my own. I began to dream again–and sometimes for the first time. Dreams of going to new places and trying new adventures. It’s been exhilarating to simply dream. And dreaming comes out of a place of Hope.

    Still, wisdom does tells me there is always more to every story than the snapshot and status of someone’s post. And I give compassion and grace to those–whatever their snapshot of life portrays (perfect or troll-ish).

    So now what about me? I often will post about my boys—not in their rage our disobedient moments (for there are many) but when the storm has passed, and the calm and Peace of God has rested on them. I post it to remember and capture the grace of God–so that I may not forget–God is indeed faithful. I admit…I post it for me. Because really, it is easy to get swept up in the stuff of life and let these good moments whoosh by us.

    I often post photos of my Sharpie Tattoos. These are identity statements I write across my arm. The moment I write these statements are ones where I am fighting–literally battling the very opposite of what I write. One time I wrote, “I am significant”–not out of arrogance, but rather because I was teetering on the line of believing a lie that I was nothing–and would never amount to anything. Writing what IS true in God’s eyes is a prophetic declaration of standing in agreement with what HE sees in me. And, oh goodness, never do I ever want to convey arrogance because I posted it on FB. *sigh* I suppose all I want to say is there is always more…more behind every status. More behind every photo. More.

    Always more.

    And I choose to give grace in the midst.

    (Thanks Kathi for sharing your thoughts…and giving space here for me to process my own-Grateful)

  4. We all feel more connected when we share the hard places and the joyful ones, I think. It’s a good lesson in life – to keep it real, not just all veneered. I think as women we struggle with the vulnerability that happens when we share the harder growing places. (I think you mentioned reading Brenee Brown once – I love her Daring Greatly… all about vulnerability and authenticity – great book!) It’s interesting how great a gift being willing to be vulnerable is in our lives.

    • kathilipp says:

      Love Brenee Brown! Love the idea of vulnerability being a gift.

      • Amanda Gaiser says:

        I just heard Brenee Brown speak last week and WOW she’s a new favorite. I need to get all of her books! I’m sitting in the middle of 16k people at a Scentsy convention and bawling because she was FREAKING TALKING TO ME! ok. i’m done now. saw her name, had to comment :D

  5. jillkemerer says:

    I get it. I soooo get it. Strangely enough, I had the exact same experience with a teacher in third grade, right down to being put in the “slow reader” group (I actually WAS moved there) even though I’d always been at least one grade ahead in my reading. Stickers ran out when it came to me. It was as if I didn’t exist in that class. I had NO friends in third grade because of one teacher.

    I’m a grown adult and get jealous of the “perfect” posts on FB, and I step away from FB for periods of time because it brings out an ugly beast. Sometimes I wonder when I’ll ever get to a mature place, where seeing other people’s seemingly wonderful lives won’t make me envious? Probably isn’t going to happen!
    Thank you, Kathi, for sharing this.

  6. Kendra Fletcher says:

    Oh, yes indeed.

    Last week our son was supposed to be getting married, in our yard, to the woman he’s loved since he was 15. Last week, she dumped him for one of his groomsmen. I wrote about it here: http://www.kendrafletcher.com/kendra-fletcher/2013/7/15/wedding-undone, but the crazy part is that after I began posting about it, the floodgates gave way. Suddenly, everyone around me has felt the freedom to tell me *their* stories- the creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.

    That’s what transparency does. It humbles and bonds and levels the playing field, which is very, very even at the foot of the cross. I’ll take the nitty-gritty over the carefully polished any day of the week. Thanks, Kathi.

  7. Melanie Mckimmons says:

    AND this is why I’m unsubscribing to your blog. My extended family has had an unbelievably tough year. The fact that they can still praise HIM and find a bright spot to share is a blessing – and the attitude of “in EVERYTHING give thanks” is our focus, Our “friends” lists on fb include many with whom we can’t share our innermost feelings – there are more appropriate forms of communication for that. I understand your need to insulate, but the very public arena you chose is aptly named SOCIAL NETWORKING

    • Lauren H. Hunter says:

      Dear Melanie, I sincerely think that you misunderstand Kathi’s blog post here. She’s speaking about being real – that includes highs and lows – not just being publicly grateful all the time.

      I too incurred terribly elementary school years along with parents who didn’t notice or put my needs first. It is a hard row to tow – it scars the inner girl down deep and forever makes it hard for you to realize that not everyone is perfect, not everyone has it altogether inside.

      Social media has it’s place, but if you subtract the offline relationships, the online relationships seem fraught with unattainable joys that are not your own.

      Your note above is scathing . . .it would deeply wound me if you wrote it on my blog. I think you owe Kathi an apology. Just my two cents.

      Sincerely,
      Lauren

    • Cynthia Shaffer says:

      I concur with Melanie! If you have even a little experience with Kathi, she is not being malicious, etc. Just honest and informational. Don’t miss out on her good stuff over this one single post. It obviously hit a nerve, but I encourage you to re-consider you decision to unsubscribe.

      On my own personal side note about this unfriend post– it is so out in left field to me as I rarely make personal posts. Mine are pretty political, so when I’m unfriended the first thing I think is, “Shucks, they didn’t like my thoughts on such and such…” I would much rather someone tell me they are leaving town (unfriending) than for me to look them up and find out they are no longer in town. I’ve circled back around when it has happened and thus far none have unfriended me because of my political leanings. All have re-sent a friend request!

      On the flip side, people post what they want to post. I’ve never unfriended anyone. I’ve yet to know what exactly will cause me to unfriend someone. If it ever happens I shall be sure to let them know!

      Sincerely, ~Cynthia~

  8. Facebook and other social networking sites have been the breeding ground for “who is doing better than who” and “who can outlast who” and every time you step away or try to quit everyone is wondering what is wrong with you and obsessing when you get back. You have to draw the boundaries for yourself.

    The recent death of the Glee star Cory Monteith (even though I don’t watch that show) broke me to the core. Yes, it’s someone I never knew, but what have we if we can show our cracks? Because that’s where the light comes in, that’s where grace comes in.

    I would post scripture here and there but was never authentic about my faith and finally stated this week that I will no longer deny that I’m a Jesus freak and no longer be ashamed of my faith. An acquaintance posted “why were you ever ashamed of your faith? lol”. I’m not sure if the sarcasm was real or an observance but it showed a face of some people that I know as not really seeking to understand the real me as I am under grace.

    It’s time to start letting some people go out of my life, especially after reading this post, but more importantly, it’s time to get authentic. I look forward to reading the suggested book and start daring to share my testimony and really living out my authenticity. Love. This. Here.

  9. Don Quixote says:

    Listen I understand life is tough and we are all only human, driven by deeply ingrained instincts and common social behavioral patterns; many of which are determined by past experiences outside of our control.

    But anyone, even someone who struggles with these social forces on a personal level, should be able to understand what little posts on digital platforms like Facebook really are. They are like ads, they’re the mask, they don’t truly represent anyone’s life. Most people who post superficial, self promoting things about their lives are seeking something disingenuous, something that does not represent true human connection and understanding. And that is fine but you have to understand it for what it is. The people that you think have the best lives are usually dealing with some very troubling things, either internally or within their household. The more somebody shares things like that the more likely they are hurting, or questioning, or just competing. It may be a game for some, they may have themselves fooled that everything is great, just so they can push through all the big scary questions that they always suppress, all the truth that is just right there but they weakly choose to avoid. And that’s their right, its their life, live it how you want.

    But injecting God into this whole equation is silly. It also sounds like you need to work on understanding all this digital bullshit for what it is. Work on loving yourself, stop judging yourself. You are you and that is a gift to yourself and everyone in your life, regardless of any of the bullshit you think that we should measure our lives with. It doesn’t matter. What matters is being truly honest, humble, and sometimes vulnerable. That is what will build real, true bonds and connections with people in this life. That’s what matters, that’s value, and that will never truly be found on Facebook.

  10. Wow! This really hit home. I find myself falling into a trap most days after reading FB posts – although I continue to subject myself to it anyway :) I do find that I judge myself, unfairly, according to what others are posting- I also think about all the things that I should be doing with my daughter, husband, etc. so that I am as “good” a mother or wife as others seem to be. And even though I shut FB off, some of those things stay with me for days – weeks. Anyway, I think this was a great article and a good smack in the face to stop it! FB is such love-hate thing anyway – there are so many things that drive me crazy about it yet so many things that I love about it. It is revealing the gaps that I have between me and God and THAT is what I need to pray about! Thanks Kathi

  11. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser says:

    Facebook can sometimes sound a bit like Lake Woebegone, where all the children are above average…

    Seriously, I kind of like hearing about the high shiny points. I’m glad that people see parts of their lives that way, and that they put them on display.

    Really, it’s like being invited over for a visit. I know that my friends sometimes have dirty dishes in the sink, or that they’re just not getting along, but for my visit – they hide the somewhat unattractive truths of life, and that’s not all bad.

    When real crisis comes – if it’s my business to be involved, I’ll get a PM, or even a phone call (well, not where I live in cell-phone-roulette-land). But there are parts of life that are, and should be kept private from me, the FB friend – and I respect that.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/

  12. If I were still on fb, I would post: My 20 month old can take out the cherry pits herself and now she is crumbling a biscuit all over her place mat and proceeding to sweep it onto the floor.

  13. momofsbandeg says:

    I SO get this!!!!!
    Thanks for keeping it REAL!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Saif Ullah says:

    Nice post dear Kathi Lipp. I am really impressed the way you elaborated the things. i have tried to explain the privacy risks and fake faces on Facebook in my post at
    http://clicksforit.blogspot.com/2013/08/facebook-book-of-fake-faces.html
    Anyhow I learnt a lot from you.
    thanks fro the post.

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