How to Shake Friends & Influence People (to go away)

Hello? Is anyone still out there?

“You make me think too much. And it’s mostly that I am not doing enough.”

This was a compliment that graced my Facebook Messenger a few years ago. It is a compliment, right? Oh wait, no, that’s someone playing the shame game again.

I had just started finding my voice online and hadn’t yet really embarked on my spiritual and entrepreneurial journey. I had been experimenting with posting my own takes on politics, world events, gender & cultural stereotypes and our obsession with labels.

Thanks to Facebook memories, I get a daily glimpse of these early musings and I can see they were indeed, rough around the edges. They resembled the shy, introvert subtle rages that consumed my thoughts but were shakily on the verge of making others either really mad or really happy. I was forcing these concepts amidst their daily assortment of cute baby, meme and fluffy kitty infused newsfeeds and it was disrupting.

I started to be a bit bolder, as one does with the faintest bit of positive feedback, and I began to dive into my own tangled weave of personal & adopted belief systems. I started to question every belief that I thought was true. And I did it with public global posts on Facebook. I thought to myself — well if I am going to dare unfold my entire belief system, I might as well do it so complete strangers can comment on it too.

And sure enough, more feedback came pouring in. All unsolicited, but hey, I guess if I am thrusting my commentary onto other’s newsfeeds, I could savour a little sarcasm & pained smiles from friends, friends of friends and the beloved friends of friends of friends who have firmly rooted opinions and the adopted authority to share them at will.

But it didn’t stop me. I knew that a few high school friends had ditched my thoughts when I went to tell them something I thought was cool and saw we were no longer connected. Then a few current friends slipped off my feed. Sometimes I would find myself saying “Oh that darn algorithm, I haven’t seen Joe post lately — oh, uhhh…”

Hello? Is this my surprise party?

Local friends awkwardly claimed that old Facebook glitch for unfriending. Finally about a year ago a local friend who bravely admitted he unfollowed me willingly said: “Marissa, you’re exhausting. You do all these things and you think all these thoughts and it just makes us feel a little less than.”

“Less than what?” I asked quietly.

“Less than you.”

“So I am supposed to grow alone and in isolation so I don’t trigger some inane belief that we are somehow in competition to be more aware?”

He just blinked. I could tell he so desperately wanted to say yes.

My accomplishments, achievements and self-awareness journey were making people feel bad for what they perceived as not creating the same change in themselves or their community. Like it was ever a race or competition to be a better human based on our altruistic actions and personal expansion rate.

It’s not. It never was. It’s always just about where we are right now and the people we choose to be there with. It’s about living the best life we want to be living and while we can be inspired by someone else’s goals, they don’t ever have to be ours.

I’m ok with this method of shaking friends and influencing people to go away. It can be mighty exhausting trying to reach the expectations of others. And I couldn’t care to spare any energy towards meeting those unrealistic ideals set by others based on their own limited views.

So if you too want to find out an amazing way to shake friends and influence people to go away — be bold, be loud, be proud and find your voice in all this noise.

I want to know you and all the beliefs you adopt as your own. Even if you’re racist, sexist, agist or any of the other ists and isms. Because then we’ll know to unfollow you too.

And if you don’t want to hear mine — then this is goodbye — in the words of Dolly Parton “I wish you joy and happiness, but above all this — I wish you looooooooooooooove.”