Saturday, June 4, 2011

Facebook Guilt

Have you ever experienced Facebook guilt? I felt it today. Not because of something that I said. I try to be careful where ever I post, whether it be here, Facebook, or comments. As an electronic discovery specialist, I know whatever is said online lives forever, even if deleted and hidden behind password protection, so I try to be careful. Many times I write a comment or post and don't publish it. I say what I need, but the world has no record to come back to me.

Anyway, my Facebook guilt stems from unfriending. Have you done it?

When I first joined Facebook, I friended everyone I had known previously in my life--high school, college, law school, old jobs, etc. I also friended everyone in the heart world. Then I quickly realized that some people simply collect friends and don't care about what I was saying or who I was and frankly, I had no interest in knowing what they were up to or they said things that I didn't want to hear (I don't need to know about your sex life or read you complaining about your life all of the time when you've had it pretty easy.)  So, about 2 months after joining, as I sat in a hospital room with DQ, I deleted about 1/3 of my friends. I never felt guilty about it because it was all of the people that fit in the above category, except some family members, who I just hid.

Fast forward a year and a half. I had a ton more friends. I was close to 300, with most being heart moms. I had changed my settings and created lists so that they couldn't see most of my personal stuff.  But then it happened. The heart community does what it does from time to time---start to war with itself. I will admit it on the open web. The heart community is not yet cohesive and while we hold each other up for the most part, the lack of cohesiveness and lack of leadership leads to too many people thinking their vision and their plan is the only vision or plan for helping the community. That leads to infighting.

Last summer, there was a lot of fighting. At the same time, I had been told DQ's only hope was a third major surgery that nobody thought would be all that helpful, but had to be tried. I was devastated, crying all of the time (at least when the kids were not around). My heart was broken and all that I wanted was to know I was not alone. The heart community, which generally understands, didn't care because they were all too busy fighting over who was right and who was wrong. So, I deleted over 200 "friends" on Facebook. Anyone who I did not regularly speak with, I unfriended. I even got rid of the hidden family members. I unfriended family!!!!

It is nine months later and I've refriended a couple of people who came to me and asked why I deleted them. I explained and they understood and we are friends again and actually interact.

But there are people that I unfriended I now regret. One such person is a family member who complained a lot about how unfair it was that she had to get up at 8:00 am to go to class when she had partied too much the night before and many things of that nature. It would grate on my nerves. But when she had a huge life moment and I was truly happy for her because really her posts were the posts of a 21 year old and I should have given slack, I couldn't congratulate her. I felt the guilt.

Today, as I played a game, I remembered a conversation I had with a friend from high school on Facebook. I unfriended him and I'm not sure why (other than the frame of mind I was in last summer). I have no idea if he knows I unfriended him and I never see him, but I feel the guilt. If he knows, would he think I snubbed him? That was never my intention. We didn't interact much any longer, but he was still a friend and if I saw him in a store, I'd run up and give him a hug. Instead, I unfriended him and I feel the guilt.

Overall, I am happy that I lessened the friend load. I feel better having rid myself of people who were unhealthy for me to interact with because they weren't friends. But, there are still others I have felt guilty over unfriending as well. Should it really matter? I never see any of these people in real life (except family). But, on some level, it must matter because I felt the guilt.

Have you ever felt Facebook guilt?


  1. I guess I've felt Facebook guilt but prior to unfriending so that I have never unfriended anyone, including the people who annoy the heck out of me. On the flipside, I was unfriended by someone who I actually see on a very regular basis, and I was extremely offended. I still don't know why I was unfriended since her reasoning didn't seem very logical to me. It's been over a year, and I'm still bitter but didn't actually confront her about it (I still talk to her, and she probably doesn't even realize that it offended me). I guess I should give her some slack since maybe she was going through her own personal stuff at the time.

  2. I've only 'unfriended' a couple of people on Facebook and didn't feel guilty about it. But I'm also careful about who I do friend. Mostly I'm friends with people that I went to high school with, or friends that live in other cities that I rarely see since I moved. All of us tend to use Facebook to share funny stories about our lives, and sometimes to gripe about things. I never block certain people from reading certain posts. But I also don't friend very many family members just because I don't want to deal with the whole "Oooh! Do you know what she said on FB?" and my family is very gossipy that way. If one of my kids does something annoying and I complain about it, I don't need to get a phone call or email from someone an hour later. I think that's the main reason I started my blog, so I could get things off of my chest without all of the bs. If you can't say what you think to complete strangers, then who can you say it to?


Having a child with a CHD is like being given an extra sense---the true ability to appreciate life. Each breath, each hug, each meal is a blessing when you've watched your child live off a ventilator, trapped in an ICU bed, being fed through a tube. Each minute is a miracle when you've watched your child almost die and come back to you.
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