Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thank You For Being An Unfriend

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.  I was finally unfriended on Facebook.  You would have thought it would have happened leading up to the election, but no.  Ironically, it was Jonah's fault, not mine.

I have this conservative friend.  Actually, she's probably more of a Libertarian than anything.  Anyway, she is not a fan of Mr. Obama.  She's a realtor and also owns many rental properties and evidently pays a lot of taxes under the Obama regime. 

This friend is also a dancer, and I've done several shows with her.  She's a bit past her prime as a dancer and is also pretty much an Amazon , so her height does prevent her from getting cast sometimes.  Although she can dance, she's not a great actress and has a bit of an attitude, so she doesn't get cast as much as she did in her younger days.

For as long as I've known this friend, I always feel like money is her motivating force in life.  It all seems to come back to money.  To her credit, my friend is a successful businesswoman and has done well for herself in the past.  The last few years have not been as kind to her, and she blames much of that, perhaps rightfully so, on the way the country is run under the Obama administration.

My friend has no patience for those she feels are bringing this country down: the welfare queens, the unemployed who take advantage of the system, or basically anyone who's out for a free ride.  Problem is, she thinks everybody who is on welfare or on unemployment or collecting social security or using any government program for aid is a leech to society.  Granted, there are many who are capable of helping themselves who take advantage of the system, my friend is right that the government simply enables that behavior and drags our country down.

But I would argue that there are some who really need and benefit from government programs, and many of those programs have been paid into by their participants through taxes and deductions.

In any case, my friend is not a fan.  I sometimes have felt that her world view is so wrapped up in what's in it for her that she sometimes forgets that there are other people in the world besides her.

Anyway, a mutual liberal friend wrote on his Facebook page,

"I'm amused by all the doomsday posts I've seen over the president's re-election. People are terrified of watching this country collapse as a hapless second term comes to an end. Funny. Most of us remember living through that four years ago... We can either post pictures of gravestones with the United States on them, or we can continue to dust ourselves off as a nation. I would be proudly choosing the latter even if we had a President-elect Romney."

I responded with a simple, "Completely agree."  That's all I said.

Then my friend who eventually unfriended me responded with, "...Says the guy on welfare," and went on to say some other stuff about how it's only doomsday to those whose financial lives are being affected in very negative ways, and that I wouldn't know anything about that.

Well, first of all, I had no idea what she was talking about.  I'm certainly not on welfare.  I just lost my job (and I've been steadily employed since April) and hadn't even applied for unemployment when she made that statement, so I really didn't know where she was coming from.  And even if I had been on unemployment, I don't consider that welfare.  In the entertainment industry, we often lose employment through no fault of our own.  The acting profession is not always a very secure one.  But I will say that I work more often and more steadily than most actors I know, and when I am unemployed, I am looking for work, acting or otherwise, to pay the bills because I do not like to be on unemployment.  Even though I feel it is my right to file for unemployment, I still would much rather be earning my own keep than feel I'm getting money for nothing.  I would much rather be working than not.

I also save money very consistently for the very reason that I know my career is not always a steady or secure one.  I try to have money set aside for a "rainy day" because I know in my field of work, unemployment does occur.  Currently, I have about $6,800 in my savings account, and Jonah has about $9,000, so it's not like we aren't doing our best to help ourselves.

That being said, unemployment benefits have kept me afloat during tougher times and have helped me get out of some jams that I would have had more difficulty getting out of were it not for that aid that my employers have paid into.

But I wasn't on unemployment when my friend made that statement nor am I collecting any now, so I don't know what the "welfare" dis was even about.  

But I also have a thick skin.  I decided to let it go.  It's not the first time this friend has made such comments.  My liberal friend wrote me a private message that said, "What is [her] problem? She's been getting really personal lately and I'm thinking of unfriending her."

I said, "Boy, I sure don't know. I'm not even sure what the welfare remark was about. I think she thinks that anyone who goes on unemployment (which I haven't even done yet), collects social security, or uses welfare programs such as food stamps is automatically a welfare leech. Never mind that we (or our employers) pay into some of these programs.

"Based on my relationship with [her], it seems to me that money is the greatest motivator in her life. And because she is a self-made and successful woman, I think she has no sympathy for anyone who might need government help. I fully agree with her that there are abusers of unemployment or welfare, but there are also those who truly need the extra help they can get from such programs.

"I find [our friend] to be very successful financially, but she seems very unhappy and jaded otherwise. I think she has forgotten how to care for other people besides herself. I actually feel sorry for her, but I also thinks she shoots herself in the foot because of some of the things she said.
"I keep her around because I like to hear views different than my own, even if they're sometimes annoying or even hurtful. But I certainly wouldn't blame you for unfriending her. She is a big ball of negative energy, in my opinion. Maybe it's just the rawness of the emotions she's feeling due to the future of an Obama presidency."

Anyway, I let it go.  What I didn't know was that Jonah, who had also seen the comment and doesn't even know my friend, took it upon himself to write her a personal message because he was actually more offended by her remark than I was. 

He said, "Hi .... You don't know me , nor do I care to know you, but I am [Cody's] partner ... I saw that you posted that [Cody] was on welfare ,,, I just want to clarify something with you ,,,[Cody] nor I are on welfare ...I would be really careful about making statements that are so personal like that..I don't care what political background you come from but I will not let you bully [Cody] or I with that kind of statement ,,, Just to let you know [Cody] and I own a 2500 sq ft home here in Las Vegas that was bought with our own money and it is not government housing ,,, We also don't buy our food with an EBT card ...In closing I just want you to know as a Mexican American that has parents that were migrant workers who never were on welfare, I do and am offended by your welfare statement that not only reflects on [Cody] but also on me. Next time I hope you are more educated about the way you make your statements  ...Because I surly do think it was a very arrogant and ignorant remark ....No need to write me back ,,, I just need you to know that I am praying for you and I hope that God softens your heart ...As angry as I am at you right now, you're very lucky that I do not have to get ugly to get my point across .....Jonah"

Eventually, Jonah let me know he had written her.  At first, I was upset about it.  I saw no need to rock the boat and it made me feel like Jonah was fighting my battles for me, which I felt made me look weak.  I also felt he was making a mountain out of a molehill.

Well, soon my friend wrote some post about "calling a spade a spade," and if there were some people who couldn't deal with that, then she's just as soon not interact with them.  The she wrote some post alluding to the fact that Jonah's post was a threat on her life and should she be worried?  I guess she misinterpreted Jonah's statement that he didn't have to get ugly to make his point to mean that things would get ugly for her if he ever met her.  Then she defriended me and blocked Jonah from being able to contact her.

I was a bit annoyed.  First off, Jonah made his comments to her without my knowledge or blessing, and I thought, "Why is she defriending me for his actions?"  Then, I thought it was rather immature for her to unfriend me without even trying to discuss it or find out things from my point-of-view.  And frankly, my pride was hurt.  I've tried hard not to ruffle feathers, although I am not always successful, and I don't know that anyone has unfriended me before.  It bothered me.

But then I realized that this "friend" has never been much of a friend to me.  It's not like we have much in common.  And she has a very negative spirit.  It's not like my life is very empty without her. 

I wrote on my page, "I appear to have been defriended. Oh, well. Her loss."

One friend responded with, "Three people defriended me this past week. I'm not missing them."

to which I responded, "Yeah, I'm not particularly missing this one, either. But I did kind of like keeping her around just to hear her point-of-view. I think when you surround yourself with people who only think like you do, it's dangerous. I just wish people could have differing points of view and not feel that they have to sacrifice a friendship because of it.  Oh, well. It's not like we were bosom buddies or anything."

Other friends said, "BOO!!!!! How could anyone defriend you? I'm sure many have defriended me..I'm just not paying close enough attention. Defriending on FB is someone's cyber cowardly way of giving us the finger. It's interesting to me how brave people are with a keyboard and a computer screen. Just sayin'." 

"I may have been outspoken this political season, but I feel the same way as everyone else commenting here. I'm making my opinion heard, but apparently my opinion is offensive and contradictory enough to some that they choose to end the only way we keep in touch. I like the way [your other friend] put it, with a proverbial 'cyber cowardly way of giving us the finger.' To those who do that, I say, 'weak, very weak.' I don't defriend people based on the opinions they post on Facebook because they're contradictory to mine, I only defriend people when they attack my character or me as a person.

One friend, who knows this friend who unfriended me, responded privately with, "good lord...was it [our friend's name]?

I said, know? "Bingo! How DID you lol"

And he said, "funny enough...I just assumed at first...not that difficult I realize...and then somehow I must have seen a post of [hers]...anyone who knows you and[Jonah], and knows [her]...knows that you are gentle and sweet and she is somewhat of a bitch..so I am sorry that had to happen, and just know you have plenty who support you. Really, she is a piece of work...sigh..."

And I answered, "I thought it was funny you immediately assumed it was her. She is a piece of work, indeed. My life is probably better off without her negative energy. I'm just sorry she felt she had to defriend me. Thanks for your support."

The liberal friend, on whose page the events leading up to the unfriending started, also wrote a private message which said, "She is a truly childish person. Funny how you never see real professional performers behaving that way. She is a community theatre diva." 

I responded with, "Well, what can you do?  Whatever. No sweat off my back. She's a big ball of negative energy anyway. I'm just disappointed that she felt she needed to make that choice. My partner wrote her about the welfare comment she made about me on your profile page. He was more offended by it than I was. I would have just let it slide, but he wrote her without telling me, and she overreacted to it. Oh, well. Who needs friends like that anyway?"

And Jonah wrote his own explanation on my page, saying, "[Cody] was defriended because of me and I would like to say I am sorry here on Facebook but I am not sorry for defending him ...My words are now being twisted around to make me seem as if I would do something hurtful to another human being. Facbook Friends, let's all remember to treat each other with respect and kindness. I know that each one of us walk different paths in life, have many different views and opinions on things but we should think about what we post here on Facebook before posting it . We all must be accountable for comments if they happen to offend or be offensive to others. [Cody] and I always think about what we say before posting anything. We also take responsibility for our words and actions if they happen to be offensive to others. The truth is I will not let anyone bully [Cody] or [me] with their words. God knows our hearts and if any of you ever feel offended by our opinions or comments please feel free to contact us to let us know. The great thing is that most of you, if not all of you know us by our character and know that we would never harm anyone. Please know that both [Cody] and I enjoyed reading your posts and getting your perspective on things. We feel its better to live outside of the box and not in the box where we only see our side of things."

Truth is, even though this friend made the welfare remark (which again, I was not all that offended by) and childishly defriended me, and even though we have little in common and often didn't agree on many things, I still did consider her a friend, believe it or not.

In two of the shows I did with her, I was paired as her dancing partner.  She is better dancer than me by leaps and bounds, and even though it was very challenging to learn the dances we did together, she was always very supportive and kind when she could have been critical and impatient.  I will always respect and admire that about her.

And we have had some good conversations in the past.  And like I said, I did enjoy having her around just for a different point-of-view than my own.  I will actually miss reading her aggravating posts, if you can believe it.

I wish she would have reached out to me and tried to talk this out before defriending me.  I wish she wouldn't have felt that was her only recourse.  As annoying and negative as she is, there are aspects about her that I do like.

Truth be told, I feel a little sorry for her.  I feel she breeds pessimism and is often guilty of self-sabotage.  She just seems very unhappy to me, and I am not the only one who thinks so.  I just wish she could find a better way in life.  She is actually a testament to me that money cannot buy happiness and the danger of only looking out for "number one".  Anyway, I do wish her luck, success, and happiness.  I really do.  She can use it.


LCannon said...

I am so non observant - and really not in fb enough to know how long I've even been defriended. Sometimes I have pushed the wrong button (which I realize is not the case you've explained) and I have blamed fb for defriending (coinsidence that I had more than 30 leave at once?) but I agree that defriending does seem childish. But fb does not have a finger flipping button either.

Dad's Primal Scream said...

Hey, I've had "friends" unfriend me on FB when i had no clue why. I'm much less confrontational on FB than i am in my anonymous blog too. But some people have still found reason to find offense or to not want to see me in their news feed. I can only imagine why. These are good friends too...like a former mission companion. Perhaps they saw me "like" someone or something they didn't like. The only thing i can do, like you, is tell myself that it says more about them than it does about me.

Dean Scott said...

I have been un-friended and re-friended several times. I am close to un-friending a couple of people, or taking another Facebook break.

Re unemployment benefits, those are NOT welfare. Unemployment compensation is an insurance program. I doubt the person who unfriended you would consider settlement of an auto or medical insurance claim as being welfare.

I hope all is going well for you and Johan. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Gay LDS Actor said...

Thanks for your comments.

DPS, I agree that defriending says more about her than it does me.

Dean, I agree that unemployment benefits are not welfare, but I've never felt my friend sees it that way. Who knows? She just might think insurance settlements, regardless of where they originate, constitute welfare. That's how messed-up her thinking on such issues is.

Things are going swimmingly for Jonah and me. We both wish we were employed, but we are happy to be together and happy we will be spending our first Thanksgiving in five years together.