Thinking Out Loud

June 18, 2013

The Dynamics of Unfriending

Social media has changed the landscape and added dozens, if not hundreds of new words to our vocabulary. Friend has become a verb along with its opposite, unfriend.

But many of us have understood the dynamics of unfriending long before we owned a computer. We were talking about that last night, though the story here involves today’s technology.

severed relationshipsThere’s a guy that was on my business mailing list who out of the blue asked to have his name removed. I’m a little sensitive about these things, but I tried not to let it get to me. We were doing one newsletter every three weeks, and for some people that is simply too frequent. I deleted his name.

Still, this is a guy I’d been to lunch with twice, and coffee a few other times. This was somebody who had been on the fringes of a particular church and because of that, we had some things in common. This was a guy with whom we had several mutual friends. This was a person who had done volunteer work with a ministry organization I was supporting financially. This was an individual with whom I shared a number of musical and technical interests.

So a year later, I decided out of the blue to give it another shot. The email subject line was “Miss you” and the entire message was:

Hope things are going well.
Thinking of you today.

I felt like I was back in high school. The whole “Miss you” thing seemed slightly less than masculine. Women send “Thinking of you” cards. Women worry about relationships. But it was something I felt strongly convicted to do. I like to keep relationships open. I don’t ever want to be the type of person who has to walk over to the other side of the street when they see a certain person coming the other way.

The thing that irks me about this particular unfriending is that I don’t know why. What did I do? Not do? What did I say? Not say? Did someone else say something?

You start playing all types of mental gymnastics games trying to think where the relationship went off the rails.

So…ever been unfriended? Have you ever been the unfriender?

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