A while back I signed up for Facebook so that I could network this blog. I had no intention of having a personal account. But then The Boy friended me and within minutes 20 people we knew were sending me friend requests. This made the whole blog anonymity thing impossible. So rather than telling all the people who know me in real life not to use my real name on my Facebook page, I just made my would be blog page my personal page and created a fan page for my blog. In for a penny in for a pound, I guess. Now I'm hooked.
I am not the biggest fan of Facebook. I think it's a mixed bag. At its best, it's a way to connect with old friends you've lost track of and meet new people. At its worst, it can be a painful reminder of why you are no longer friends or even acquaintances with certain people. I've seen some pretty tough things go down on Facebook, things that hurt people going through very hard times. Some of it was intentionally kicking a person when they were down. Some of it was just plain thoughtlessness. I'm not sure what it is about the internet that makes some people think that they can say any damn fool thing that comes into their heads. In these cases, it's not the anonymity that the internet can afford. We're talking Facebook, for Pete's sake! These things were proudly posted on walls and in comments for all the world to see. And it's always girl attacking girl hate. A guy will resort to fisticuffs to settle a beef, but girls - they tend to go for the jugular with words.
The other day I came across an especially mean comment buried in a photo album on a friend's Facebook page. The picture was of her and her ex in happier times. Underneath it someone months ago had written in a funny off handed way something like "Great pic! Too bad you can't cut him out of the photo." You know, the stuff friends say to help you through a hard time. A recently refriended relative of the ex (a frienemy if ever there was one) was trolling through my friend's photos and came across this comment and felt the need to respond, ending with "...you have no class." Of course this became a brief exchange between the two. The frienemy took it to a new level with name calling, threats, and the straw that broke the camels back for me, making fun of someone else's personal tragedy.
Too far, missy. Too far.
For years I've watched silently as this frienemy made accusations and wrote horrible things about my friend on her own Facebook wall. She'd sent nasty emails to my friend and to my friend's friends. For years I have wanted to say something and yet I did nothing. Why? Was a I scared of this person? Yes. A little. Like I said, she's mean and no one wants to deal with mean people. Also, I find confrontation uncomfortable. More than that, though, I guess I knew deep down that this person has no shame and telling them they were mean wouldn't do any good. But the more it happens, the angrier I get and then the other day I just couldn't take it anymore. I sent her a private message to tell her that 1) people are entitled to their own opinions about her family member and 2) that she was being cruel. There was no name calling, no expletives used, no threats being tossed around. I simply told her her, in what I felt was an adult way, that she was wrong.
How did this go down? About how you would expect when a know it all bully who is self righteously cruel gets called on their behavior. Not well. She accused me of starting drama. Among other things she basically said I was a worthless waste of time. (I'm paraphrasing.) And she defriended my recently refriended friend, which wasn't exactly a huge loss to my friend, if you ask me. At first I was upset. I'd stuck my nose in someone else's business and it had gone poorly. Rather than dealing with just me, the frienemy was taking it out on my friend and I really didn't want to cause her any more stress. After a long chat with my friend, though, an a good angry cry I realized that I'd done something I'd been wanting to do for a very long time. I'd stood up to a very mean girl. It didn't change a thing, but it felt really good.