Reciprocal Friendships on Social Media
Reciprocity is a wonderful thing.
I do not do what I do for pay-back. I give willingly and lovingly at most (if not all) opportunities.
I respond to people’s posts on Facebook on a regular basis. Everything from laughing at their humor to sending my condolences to liking or loving posts of their kids or grandkids.
I did all of this without a thought for a period of about 2 or 3 years. My list of Facebook friends grew from 68 to 97 to roughly 157 at the present time. I only added people I truly consider friends. Not acquaintances. Not mere co-workers. Friends. People whose images I could conjure up in a heartbeat, recall good times with and with whom I have things in common.
Yet, in the past six to eight months I have inadvertently noticed something. There are people I have been FB friends with for years who have NEVER responded to a post I’ve made. Now, it’s one thing if we are in touch via other means. But if the only way we “communicate” is through FB, I wish they would actually communicate!
I do not understand the mentality that sees a person making an effort to be a part of your life and yet, ignores all aspects of their life. Really? I have liked and loved pics of your kids and grandkids and dogs, written amusing or caring or observant comments regarding them, and you have not found the time once to put a full sentence together for me? In three or four years?
I am not selfish. I do not do what I do for people to fawn over me by any means. But I am a single woman. No husband. No children. No pets (allergies at fault). Things that are milestones to me should be recognized by the people who know me and supposedly care about me. They may not be traditional milestones, but they are the larger events of my life. And I wish people would recognize that fact.
Honestly, the opportunity to write as an author for two online published magazines was huge in my life’s journey. I have had many extreme obstacles in my personal and professional life which led me to a premature retirement I was not ready to submit to. I have been seeking ways to re-engage and feel like a contributing member of society again. Becoming an author holds this promise for me.
Many people were very happy for me when the magazines happened. Others could barely squeak out a click on the page for a “like”. I really noticed who encouraged me and who barely acknowledged it or did not acknowledge it at all. I am not looking for accolades, only support and happiness from the people who know of my struggles and are warmed by my achievements.
I refuse to be hurt by this absence of support by certain people. I have filed away, however, who cares enough about me to publicly encourage and support me. And those who either don’t care, or fear the political educational landscape too much to do so.
I have been thinking for months now of cleaning house. Not in a temper-tantrum sort of way, but just in a way that frees up my time and supports my own goals. The time I spend supporting others in theirs, without reciprocity of any sort, is wasted time. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care about them, but rather that they don’t care enough about me to keep the social media relationship going.
Everyone is busy. Everyone has priorities they are trying to fulfill. But I have FB friends with 300 people on their friends list, 900 people and even 1700, who find a moment now and then to connect with me. It is a matter of priorities, not time.
I am giving. I am loving. But I am not a fool. And my life is passing by just like every other person’s. I need to clean up my act and do the hard thing. Make an announcement on FB, unfriend those who never communicate, and streamline my day. Those who wish to remain friends can re-friend me, with the expectation that they will actually communicate with me in return.
2017 is going to be a year!