Being that it’s the tail end of Thanksgiving today, it’s very likely that I’m going to Hell for being such an awful daughter (at least, I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody said that).
I am on and off of Facebook in turns. I’ll sometimes only check it once a day, or once a week, depending on my time and interest level. I am SO glad the political stuff’s wound down and we’re back to fun pics and just basic updates on people’s health. That stuff I can stand.
There were only two reasons why I got onto Facebook in the first place. The first was my best friend’s hounding me about it for over a year, and that she wanted me to be able to see her kids’ photos and such while they were growing up (and I wanted to see them too, so it was fair). The second was when I was in school and a leader in student groups. Facebook became the easiest and best way to get in touch with the whole organization and let them know if an event got cancelled or moved, or if somebody didn’t have a ride they could send out a blanket request. It was interesting, and worked very well.
Then I got to working with a few people I liked, and they’re the only ones on my Facebook feed other than college friends. Again, best way to reach us all if something came up. But that’s for only one of my jobs–I don’t friend coworkers all over the place in every job. This particular job is different, though…more relaxed, collaborative, and open.
I have never “friended” a family member and don’t want to. There are some con-artists in my family I’d prefer not to know what’s going on with me beyond the yearly Christmas card, for one thing. For another, I feel like it’s the virtual version of hanging out with your friends at the kitchen table and your family member’s eavesdropping around the corner. Not cool.
I use Facebook for a few perk-me ups by people I went to school with, some info for work, and similar things like that. I think I stopped adding friends over a year ago, and am okay with the small number i have (in fact, many of them post so damned much that it’s definitely enough!).
My mom finally got onto Facebook and mentioned it over the phone a couple of months ago. I don’t want her looking at my posts because she’ll probably be offended at either what I post or who my friends are. I’ve asked advice of people about how to deal with her after a particularly bad Mother’s Day (I never remember what Sunday it is, and apparently my stepdad was gone for work and she was lonely, therefore she took it out on me). Their advice was “she’s your mom and she won’t live forever, so bury the hatchet and make nice.”
I can see that advice to an extent, but the problem is I’ve been tiptoeing around her ego since I was 7 or 8 years old, and I’m tired. Someone who can never be wrong won’t listen when they are wrong, and I’ve learned that lesson over and over again. She probably doesn’t even realize (because how would I ever bring it up?) that I don’t believe the way she believes about most people or political ideas. Dunno if I could even get a word in, and I don’t even like talking to her on the phone because of it!
Knowing her favorite choice topics (and the e-mailed memes I tend to get), it means my Facebook wall would have a combination of oodles of bible quotes in response to something (offensive?) that I posted, political stuff, or prejudicial memes that she’d think were funny. I get enough of that from the few people I talk to at work all the time.
I don’t want to friend her and have to see that crap, or she’d try and connect me to people I don’t know and haven’t seen since I was a toddler and couldn’t pick out of a book to save my life. I also don’t want her seeing my stuff and leaving her little remarks (and if I fail to respond, calling me to berate me over the phone).
On the other hand, if I DO friend her, and she sees some of my gay or liberal friends on the thread, maybe she’ll not say anything (yeah, right). But would it be the end of the world if she did? I wonder if it would do a world of good because I wouldn’t have to say anything and she’d figure out that I’m my own person and have my own opinions and I wasn’t going to be her agreeable bobble-head to appease her ego anymore.
It feels cowardly, but I feel worse in realizing that I can’t talk to my mother. To be honest, I don’t know if I want to try. I understand she’s my mother, but that doesn’t guarantee smooth sailing. I used to joke that her favorite conversation was an argument, but now I know that’s not accurate. An argument necessitates two people are talking/yelling. She liked to rant and you were just expected to listen to it. I can’t do that…it’s the same reason I can’t stand the trolls that throw insults then leave fast as they can before you can respond.
So, very roundabout way to go, but I have to wonder–to friend my mom, or not to friend my mom…and if I choose not to friend her, what the hell do I say? I’ve been wrestling with this thought for a month and I can’t think of a good answer.
Maybe I’ll never have one.
7 thoughts on “#005–To friend, or not to friend, your family on Facebook?”
UPDATE: After Tuesday (Dec. 13th’s) explosion, which I’m still trying to write a letter about, I ended up “friending” mom on Facebook after all–or at least I clicked on it. Waiting for mom to get mad and call or who knows what now…guess it’s a small price to pay at this point…hope it doesn’t come back to bite my sanity in the ass.
Friend my family? I don’t even do Facebook except for the automatic posting of my blog posts. I’m not about parading my life across the internet for everyone to see and besides, Facebook routinely violates everyone’s privacy. I’ve mentioned my blog, in passing, to family members, but as far as I can tell they don’t read it, which is fine with me. I think my writing would be very inhibited and self-conscious if I knew they were reading.
Yeah, that’s my problem. I’m not the happiest person in most respects–I try to look for the best moments of each day and at least one laugh-out loud moment (for more on “perfectly unhappy” I recommend The Oatmeal’s comic on “how to be perfectly unhappy.” I give vague summations much of the time on the internet because of privacy, but also I genuinely want to learn from others, so I’ll post. It’s tricky to navigate the waters.