I have a problem on Facebook that I’m consciously trying to do better about.
Like most of us, I have a handful of ultra-conservative friends and relatives who have opinions that are the polar opposite of what I believe in. Sometimes it’s not too bad, but there are certainly days when you can tell that they’ve been watching more Fox News than others.
Trying to bridge that digital gap of not wanting to offend people who I actually have to come in contact with every once in a while, I keep them as friends but unfollow their posts so that they won’t actually appear in my News Feed. I feel like that’s a relatively safe approach because it keeps their drivel out of my face and the unfollow is transparent to them…
…and it would be a great plan if on more days than not I would actually follow it!
You see, despite not following these individuals, I often find this bizarre, masochistic urge to know what kinds of drivel they’re ranting anyways, even though I know it’s just going to piss me off when I read whatever talking points they’re regurgitating from O’Reilly or Limbaugh or the Tea Party on any given day.
I know that I shouldn’t do it, but I pull up their profiles specifically anyways, and I read their posts, and sometimes I comment, and I get mad.
And it’s really stupid because here I’ve taken this extra step to prevent myself from getting all riled up and in return I probably see their posts even more than usual because I’ll randomly poke around to see if they’re up to any mischief today.
My turning point finally came today when one of my uncles reposted a couple of links that I had shared yesterday and I honestly couldn’t tell if he was serious or if he was just trolling me with them, but I unfollowed him and then I had to stop and tell myself that enough was enough.
It’s a double-edged sword, really, because politics are important and whether you want to engage in them or not, they affect the world around us in significant ways every single day, yet there comes a point where at least for a few of the battles I think maybe you have to push away from the table and just admit that you’re never going to see eye to eye with certain people, and that somehow you have to find a way for that to be ok.
And sometimes that’s hard – I’ve written about that before, but if anything else it also frankly just gets exhausting after a while when I spend so much of my time arguing with the wall. I can feel it afterwards – I’m grumpier, I have a harder time being creative … it makes me just want to sit and stew about how wrong the other person is, which is unproductive to say the least…
So I want to do better about this, and I started today by pledging to not renege on my decisions to unfollow certain people’s posts on Facebook. There’s still the opportunity for conflict if they see fit to comment on something of mine, which unfortunately sometimes they do, but I can at least try to control it from my side by not searching out the things that I know are just going to get me all riled up if/when I find them.
This is honestly a place where I kind of wish that Facebook had a shadow ban feature like Reddit does where they could post and comment all they want and it would just be invisible to me, but I guess that unfollow is better than nothing, and it saves the additional drama that unfriending or all out blocking would no doubt result in.
The onus is just on me to actually abide by that unfollowing and forget about them… 😕