We were friends for twenty years. Twenty years of birthdays, dinners, movies, outings, laughter, and games. And we stopped being friends over an internet meme.
We’d been friends for six years. Our kids played together, we went out for lunches, we could chat for hours. And we stopped being friends because I suggested a dog trainer before abandoning her dog.
We’d been friends for three years. Just online friends, as people say, but we messaged regularly and often. The last I heard was a message “I’m going to take my medication” then a notice that I could not respond to her conversation. She blocked me, so I heard, because I reminded her in some way of her ex. I have no idea how. The day before she’d told me I was like a sister to her. There was no warning.
I was chatting with a friend of mine a few days ago and she commented on how much friendships seem to break these days. I had to agree. My parents have friends that go back for 50/60 years. My longest friendship, one in which we actually talk more than once a year, is now fifteen.
Somehow we’ve reached a point in our society where friends have to agree about everything. And, while I agree that some lines that are deal breakers, some are just plain ridiculous. I had a friend block me once because I prefer door to door delivery over big box mail services. I refuse to believe this is a hard line ethical issue.
At some point we need to give in on the minor issues. We might not agree with religious beliefs or eating habits. We might not approve of all parenting styles. But as long as no one’s getting hurt, is that the hill we want to die on?
And, as much as I love the internet, I have to wonder how much of the disposable nature of friendship is because of the ease of online communication. You can delete someone from your life without ever seeing the hurt on their face. It’s a lot easier than saying “I don’t want to be friends with you” and dealing with the aftermath. Every friendship of mine that’s ended has been through social media. Cold, clean, swift, and remorseless.
I went through my block list a few days ago and unblocked about thirty people, none of whom I know, all of whom had irritated me on Facebook at some point. Chances are I’ll never even see them again. The next step is unblocking the two people I do know. I have no idea if I’ll see them online or not, we don’t (as far as I know) have mutual friends. But it’s a start.
I don’t have any answers but, what I do know, is life’s too short to end friendships over trivial matters. Friendship is too important for that.