A quote I read from Omid Safi, a columnist for the program On Being yesterday, really stuck with me.
“Surround yourself with people who always insist on seeing the incomparable radiance of your being, and who refuse to let you settle for less than who you are.” That sounds a little hippy-dippy, but I kind of like it. I’ve been trying to funnel that sort of feeling into Facebook.
Yesterday, a friend of mine posted something on the presidential candidate Gary Johnson. I’m not going to vote for Johnson, but I’m also not going to disparage anyone who does vote for Johnson. A few comments below, another friend just posted an article titled, “Why you should not vote for Gary Johnson.” I’m fairly certain the two of them haven’t talked in years. (My other friend responded gracefully with “Good points, just want to see him debate.” I respect that.)
I usually enjoy “talking politics” with friends. I don’t really anymore. Now, it’s just all about how people hate this election, how we can’t believe what Trump said, and how Hillary is Hillary. Moods seem to fluctuate with the polls. And there is still a freaking month left in the election.
I’ve started to treat Facebook like I would when I interact with them in real life. (I don’t think you can say “in real life” because Facebook is real life.) I don’t like it when friends relentlessly harp on one topic. I don’t like it when they say ignorant things. I don’t like when they can’t seem to move on over things.
I imagine if I talked about the election day after day for over a year, people probably would get sick of me. I understand that. It’s a normal part of life.
To bring it back to the opening quote. I like it when friends notice things about me. I like it when they push me to be my best, are generally happy when good things happen to me, and are inspired by me (and me by them.) While I’ve met some really awesome people who I am now Facebook friends with. Most of them just don’t fit into that quote. Some of them don’t inspire me. They don’t make me laugh. They aren’t people who really do anything for me. I just see bite-sized chunks of their life along with some rants about politics. Is that really a friendship?
I like seeing my friend’s successes and when they get back up off of a failure. I (sometimes) like seeing pictures of their trips and their families. I like when they share something thoughtful or funny.
I’m going to look at it like this. Facebook is a giant campfire that we’re all sitting around. Is this article/post/whatever something I would like to hear around a campfire? If the answer is no, then maybe I need to reevaluate some things in that friendship. I’d probably change some things in a friendship if it got to be so bad. Social media is hard. But friendship really shouldn’t be.