I wonder if this is worth saying. Then I know that I can’t ignore how I feel, so I’ll say it anyway.
I watch quite closely who comes and goes from my social media timelines, as a barometer for whether I am doing a decent job of providing entertainment. Occasionally, someone will leave, and I’ll be 100% confident I know why. Of course, the way to find out for sure would be to go and ask them… but sometimes, there’s the realisation that I don’t want to know. You assume that certain people will tell you when they have an issue (and when they’re someone you got on well with, that often happens) but when others simply click unfollow? There’s this moment of concern, if that person is someone who you respect or care about. When it’s a person you REALLY like but with whom you have no connection? There is the sad and quite correct realisation that however much you thought there was in common, this person’s on their own path. You can’t change what they are and frankly, you’d be foolish to try.
Mostly, they got fed up with your noise.
I can remember a particular, quite vocal follower in my early days complaining that I was ‘the only person’ in their feed and they simply didn’t want that. I get that this happens, but I also understand that often, I am the immovable force to many other people’s irresistible object. When you hold mirrors up to the world and yourself, it is often impossible to avoid reflections to other shiny surfaces. I know, that if I met certain people in the Real World, we’d never get on. However, if you decide to stop listening to me, I feel it’s actually rude to keep standing and listening. In effect, it’s the virtual equivalent in my mind of someone turning their back to you and continuing to talk. By the action of ‘not listening’ the entire dynamic of the ‘relationship’ changes.
However, that’s only true if you consider this network as an extension of your friendship circle, and as I have discussed before I’ve now begun to grasp that this isn’t the way things should work. You don’t use social media as an extended friends network, even though that happens in my sight almost 24/7. Yes, you can be good friends with lots of people, and when you are there will be an automatic desire to transcend the virtual anyway. You’ll go and find the people outside of social media, communicate with them, meet them ‘for real’ and make it a relationship you began online but now has become soothing stronger. You may feel loss at the departure of people without warning, but if your sorrow is one sided it is the moment to grasp that you were the one who invested too much, and that as a result it is just time to move on.
My bigger problem is that I’m an emotional dinosaur. This happens so much, because I continue to invest unrealistic emotional significance in people who do not care as much about me. I am the one to blame in these relationships, and nobody else. Hopefully if I write this down enough times, I’ll finally be able to stop being this person and evolve into something stronger.
Maybe if I could stop feeling everything it would just make life simpler.