Balancing Life

Do Your Facebook Posts Reveal Your Whole Character?

I have lots of friends on Facebook.  I was thinking today how much it’s changed and I’ve changed since first joining in 2008.  2008 I was married and mom to two young teens and I was miserable.  Now I’m remarried, my kids are adults who live on their own and I’m happy.

I can’t imagine not using Facebook as a source of entertainment and expression.  I get to passively keep in touch with hundreds of people I know.  And I love that.  But recently I had someone very close to me de-friend me because she thought I should keep my lovey-dovey posts about my husband to myself.  She concluded that every time I post a picture of my husband and I in a bar playing pool that I was drunk.  She was so enraged by my posts that she gossiped about me behind my back and finally got the point where she hid me from her newsfeed because it was distracting her.

On Easter I bowed out of a social event because it was too far away and would take too long for us to drive.  Instead, after church we attended a concert of close friends who have a very talented band were playing in a local pub.  I got a sarcastic comment on a pic we posted from that event.  When I responded I got a long letter explaining how irritated she was with me and worried about my drinking.  I mean who goes to a BAR on EASTER.  When I defended myself with the facts instead of her assumptions she de-friended me and my husband.

This person was my sister.

One of three I have.  One who I have never had any issues with personally.  But apparently since my divorce, she doesn’t agree with the changes I’ve made in my life.  She instead is “worried” about me so much so that she cut me out of her life.  Turns out she confided in my other sister that her own marriage was not in a good place.  She’s also steeped in parenting.  We are at different places in our life.  I get to have lots of fun.  Her – not so much.  So instead of being offended myself at her pettiness and rudeness – I decided that maybe she was just in a sad or hard place in her life and maybe my happy posts were painful for her.  I like to think that instead of thinking that she thinks its ok to sit in judgement of how I post on Facebook.

I mean we all post in different ways right?  And we all sort of judge what people post too.  I mean it’s natural…I do it!

Besides the gross misrepresentation of facts being spread by pseudo-news sites, gross exaggeration of facts spread by people who want to sell something, and gross overuse of old images representing current events…those are very irritating.  Besides that stuff…I love participating in this social experiment.

I find it curious what people choose to post.

IDEOLOGY PEEPS – It gets old for me.  Especially during election season. They say if you want to keep friends avoid dinner conversation that includes religion and politics.  But if we are honest – what better place to sort out ideas than the public square?  From what I see online though is a general tone of sarcasm, meanness, and haughtiness in most of these post no matter what side of the fence they are from.  It is very rare to see a thoughtful article about a controversial topic.  It happens from time to time but it’s rare.  It makes me wonder if these people really want to have an honest discussion about a topic or if they just like spouting their side of the narrative.  These are the folks I usually hide from my newsfeed because 9 times out of 10 they are disseminating miss-information or an article so heavily biased it’s true unbelievable.  I wish it weren’t so…

KIDS ONLY PEEPS – I get it that you want a record of what you did with your kids or their accomplishments.  I do that too…but I want to remember MY life too!  The Timehop App is a joy to look at each day because it reminds me of things I did, thought, and said that I completely forgot about.  Most of the time I love the reminder.  It’s MY LIFE and it won’t be lost anymore to my often lacking long-term memory.  It makes me wonder if these people have problems in their marriage.  Maybe the wrong balance between kids and the rest of their life?

INNER CIRCLE PEEPS – Some people’s work environment is their social environment and that’s cool.  But the friends I have who only post about work feel like those folks you knew in high school who only talked to their inner circle right in front of your face leaving you to feel like you don’t belong.  Why friend people if you don’t want to engage in friendship with them too?  It makes me wonder if these people are snobs who will grant friendship but then just pay attention to the “important people” in their life.

FOOD PEEPS – I love posting food shots.  Some people hate these peeps the most saying, “Why do I care what you have for lunch today?”  But if you think about sharing a meal with people is just about the number one thing you do as a social activity.  Sharing your food on Facebook is virtually like sharing a meal. It makes me wonder if these people are the ones who really like social situations and having other people around.  Maybe they are even a little bit lonely?

COMPLAINER PEEPS – I have to say most of these people are friends who are women and mothers.  Maybe they don’t have a close friend they can call and vent their frustration to.  It seems I’ve heard it all.  I’m not talking about the people who get a flat tire or who lose a job.  Those are just people sharing unfortunate things that happen in life.  I’m talking about COMPLAINERS.  Their kids didn’t pick up their rooms good enough, there is too much homework coming home from school, the traffic sucks, their families suck, their lives suck.  It makes me wonder if these people are supremely immature and negative?

HAPPY PEEPS – I get that you want to remember the good stuff.  I DO.  I post happy stuff all the time.  Especially about how happy I am in my relationship with my husband.  I’ve never had a best friend before.  I well up sometimes and all my lovey-dovey feelings get poured out on Facebook.  I get that some people don’t want to see it.  But it’s fascinating how happy posts effect people.  The haters who are gonna hate hate hate…no matter what…possibly have or are going through a hard time.  It pains them to see happiness because they don’t have it in their lives at the moment.  To them it feels like bragging.  The keep-your-happiness-to-yourself people are a sad group.  I used to be one.  I couldn’t look at some posts between husbands and wives.  It literally made me sick.  And it was because I had no one.  It reminded me what I was missing.  Because I was incredibly sad with my life.  If they are NOT in a sad state of affairs with your own life and STILL are a hater of happy posts then I say, why the heck are you on Facebook to begin with?  If things should stay private…why are you on a SOCIAL website.  Facebook is not for private people.  FINE don’t share…be a person who checks Facebook once a week, or once a month, but don’t shame me because I like to post lots of happy stuff.  I know  it makes people wonder if these people who post only happy stuff are completely fake and insecure?  They want all their friends to think they have the perfect life when no life is perfect.

And that gets me to the point of this post.  Can we really know the whole character of our friends on Facebook by what they post?  Of course the answer is no.  I’m annoyed by complainers and ideologists and I annoy others with my optimism and food pics.  We aren’t all gonna like each other or agree with each other all the time.  That’s life.  But I’m not going to assume I’m right about what these posts make me wonder.  I don’t know what happens in their day to day lives.  I only know what they let me see.  The Facebook filter.

The unfortunate side-effect of Facebook is that sometimes people react badly to things shared.  We know a whole lot more about each other than we did in 2008.  But we don’t know the whole story.  So what we wonder about people should stay right there.  And if it begins to bother us – have a real and loving conversation with that person to find out if what you are wondering is true.  And after you do, don’t still assume you know their life better than their own because stuff you saw on Facebook.

Being real with someone over the things they post on Facebook without the loving part is in my estimation an excuse to cast judgment when you don’t know the whole story. And friends should not being doing that to one another.

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