Defriending

I wrote this a few months ago to use as a writing sample, and realized I never posted it anywhere. It’s not relevant anymore in that this specific letter has been talked about and is old news, but the topic is one of those ever-relevant things, so I thought I’d share.

I recently read a heartfelt and touching letter a man wrote on evolequals.com. He had been proudly reposting pictures from his brother’s marriage to another man when he received a message on Facebook informing him that he was being defriended because of it. Part of the man’s parting message was as follows:

“I’m only defriending you so I don’t have to look at your anti-God stuff anymore…nothing personal!” (Read the full letter here: http://bit.ly/R5MecD)

On one hand, there are a lot of things wrong here. I won’t even get started on how he equates supporting gay marriage with being “anti-God.” Instead I’ll focus on how he chose to end his note: “Nothing personal!” he writes, as jauntily as though he had just hitched a ride with a different friend because he was leaving earlier.

What?

You can’t just say to someone, “I disagree with these values you obviously believe in, so I’m choosing to no longer have you in my life” then say it’s not personal. Impersonal would be “I’m defriending everyone I met after 2005”. You’re defriending this man for celebrating the marriage of his brother to another man. That’s pretty darn personal if you ask me.

If you’re going to defriend someone because you disagree with their beliefs, at least have the guts to stick by your own. Or don’t say anything at all.

Which brings me to the other hand – this guy might be on to something. He doesn’t like what he sees, so he quits looking at it. He’s not petitioning to get his ex-coworker’s brother’s marriage annulled or discounted. He simply removed himself from it. I do the same thing to people who post offensive things. I simply delete them. I, personally, don’t find the need to let them know I’m doing it, and I especially don’t find the need to pretend it’s not personal.

Not to oversimplify a complicated subject, but to oversimplify a complicated subject, it’s kind of like this: I’m allergic to most nuts (tragic, I know). I can’t eat brownies with walnuts in them and, quite frankly, don’t think they should exist. Brownies are scrumptious all on their own. But I’m not going to go around demanding no one else eat brownies with walnuts in them. I don’t get it, but if they like them, and the people eating them aren’t hurting anyone, what gives me the right to demand no one else have them? Why is my opinion the one that holds more clout? If you’re eating a brownie with walnuts, it literally does not affect my life. Except for maybe making me jealous that I don’t have a brownie. Which isn’t reason enough, in my opinion, to deny you the happiness of enjoying a brownie with walnuts. And if it bothers me SO much, I can just turn the other way and not watch you eat your nutty treat.

My point is similar to that of the Manhattan Mini Storage sign that reads, “If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married.” You do whatever you want with your baked goods. Don’t deny the rest of us the right to enjoy our brownies, nuts or no nuts.

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~ by Valerie Anne on 02/06/2013.

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