It was February when I noticed the absence of a particular friend in my Facebook feed. Noticing her smiling profile picture in the comment thread of a mutual friend, I realized I hadn’t seen her face in my feed for awhile. The unfriending had happened three months before and I was just noticing.
I looked back at her public profile and read an update about paring down her facebook friends to a more reasonable, relational number. There was no offense meant to anyone, and it wasn’t personal, but I felt it.
At the time I was confused as to why it should even matter. The only answer I found was that I was feeling more, and so it felt personal, though it was not. This particular unfriending felt personal when I saw mutual friends who made the cut. It was an honest facing of our season of life, however.
Where once, our paths had crossed and moved alongside one another intentionally, no longer were we geographically or seasonally close. Where once we had inspired one another to more, each in our area of giftedness, no longer was that the case. We had nothing in common now other than many children and a shared past.
With a click we friend and allow people to peruse our lives at will. We reconnect with long~lost friends and roommates. We unite from around the globe to click, share, like, and comment. We are reminded to post birthday greetings and receive them on our day. We reach out for support during hard times and reach out to others in their time of need. We rally and rage as fast as our finger or mouse can scroll.
My internal response to noticing being unfriended was one of confusion as to why it mattered so much.
I tried to be intentional with Facebook, my feed filled with people I engaged with and had relationship with in real life. I, too, had unfriended, or more likely, not accepted friend requests.
I connected Facebook to my blog, having a page for it and linking articles. It made it easy to quickly share words with friends who were hurting or the latest post I had written. It sent lots of page views my way, and posts were shared to an audience wider than my nineteen faithful readers.
My internal response to being unfriended gave me pause and caused me to reflect over my own use of Facebook. While not the sole reason for deactivating my account, it was one of many clues leading me in the direction I chose.
I recently found a note where this particular friend thanked me for being an example that truly motivated and inspired her. Maybe I was looking for evidence that we had had a meaningful relationship. Noting the date and season of life caused me to smile at the irony that I could inspire someone to be more fully herself, while at the same time I was completely lost.