In the revolving door of on-line relationships, people leave as well as arrive. If you care about such things, then you’ll notice the downs as well as the ups. People who take this shit seriously will inform you that you shouldn’t worry about numbers, because down that road madness lies. Except, if you take part in friendships with care, noticing when people leave can give you an indicator of potential issues, and point out mistakes you have made. In many ways, knowing what went wrong is as important as what you did right. Because ultimately, if you make enough mistakes, there is often a bigger price to pay.
Yesterday, I lost someone who I will admit I’ll miss quite a bit, but it’s not as if I can’t find them on the Internet if it mattered. I went to their website and left a quick note there, saying I’d noticed they’d gone and wishing them the best. I tend to do this whenever someone I’ve had a decent or overly positive interaction with departs, mostly because I think that kind of decency requires an acknowledgement. People don’t need to be in your social media feed to be friends, after all, this is not some kind of pre-requisite to be relevant in the digital age. What matters to them, when there are degrees of separation that are both geographical and metaphorical, may never be adequately explained.
Sometimes you get lucky and the person concerned give indicators on their feed and you can put two and two together. If that happens? I’d argue you’re probably better off pressing unfollow and moving on anyway, because if they’re going to do this when you fuck up? You may have been in real trouble had the transgression been really serious. However, if YOU DO GENUINELY fuck up, I think its important to acknowledge there’s fault to be addressed. Yes, you can apologise after the fact, of course this is possible. I’ve done it quite a few times now, realising I took the wrong path. It doesn’t take anything other than an understanding how human you are, and that nobody is ever 100% correct, all the time. No, you’re not, don’t even go there.
Using everything you know about somebody, there are plenty of opportunities to be a decent human being if things go wrong. However, so many people seem to think that because this is the Internet, it is somehow devolved from those rules of common decency. Mostly because, in most cases, you have no idea who somebody really is. That’s utter bollocks, of course: anybody with a bit of rudimentary knowledge of research can discover a phenomenal amount about you from your online habits. However, that’s a blog post for another time, and if the point here is being civil, stalking is not a great idea.
Mostly, you need a sense of your own place in the Internet world. That means best practices, common decency and more than the normal measure of sensitivity. I may joke from time to time on the nature of the fragile male ego, but I know full well what happens when you scorn a woman. Mostly, everyone deserves decency and grace, right up to the point where you’re blocked and left wondering what the fuck just happened. If it really *is* a surprise to you? Time to pay more attention. If you look, ruefully smile and say to yourself ‘yeah, that was coming’, then you’re probably best moving on.
For everything else? Be a decent human being.