February 22, 2012


If you're like me, you prefer your blogs full of brightly-colored pictures and clever commentary, and generally, that's what I like to post myself.  But sometimes, usually in the car on my way to work, I catch my brain making some sweeping statement about ways I've changed over the years or things I've learned recently, and I always categorize them in some weird, compartmentalized corner called, "Here's What I Know."  (Yes, in my head, I occasionally have what sound like PSAs.)  And since some people tell me they like my wordier posts, I thought I'd write one every now and again (on a Wednesday since it makes the title sound nice) about something life has taught me recently.

So, here's today's:  I'm learning how to gently and amicably declutter.

Mom, before you get excited, no, that does not mean I'm donating my whole dresser to Goodwill.  I'm still very much a material pack-rat, and no Costco roll of garbage bags is going to tear me from my 11th grade "Hello, Dolly!" t-shirt.

But, I've noticed in the years since I left college that I have more than a few noisy Facebook friends.  The good news is that I'm pretty sure none of them read this blog.  The advantage to Twitter has always been an asymmetrical "friendship", wherein I can follow and unfollow people at my leisure, and generally, that activity can go unnoticed a lot longer.  But, I don't have to do it often since I'm unlikely to start following someone I think is going to be typing out 140-character puffs of smoke on the reg.

But, here's the thing:  Barring some horribly offensive rant about God or politics or anything that might make me want to physically flip a table, I have a policy against de-friending people.  It's your prerogative if you want to shout from the rooftops how much you love Duke University, right after Carolina loses to them, despite the fact that you never went to college and arbitrarily chose to hate a school you would have loved had you attended.  I'll keep you around.  And if you want to post three articles a day, everyday, explaining why we should vote against a legal definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, I'll agree with you, but I'll still think you're obnoxious.  And if you want to post the millionth picture of your ultrasound that I've seen this year (it's February, people), then by golly, I will marvel alongside you at how big your baby already is.  And we'll still be friends, because at some point in time, you cared about me or I cared about you enough to want to keep up with your life, and I think falling out of touch is a silly reason to remove all traces of you from my life.  Even if you're no longer there everyday, chances are I still have a fond memory of you, and if you pop up every year on my birthday list, I get to feel the annual warm fuzzy of that memory again.

But I reserve the right to limit the number of posts that show up on my News Feed.  If your status updates read more like a stream of consciousness than periodic statements about something that happened that week, I'm going to assume you're alone in your apartment and that this is a one-sided conversation we'd actually be having if I were there.  Since I am not, we're gonna go ahead and limit your appearance on my homepage, but don't worry, you still have every bit of access to my profile, I will still think of you fondly, and I will hope that we actually have that conversation face-to-face at some point.  But you will never know.

I do these things not so I can simply limit how often you show up, but also because I want to continue to think of you fondly.  Because of the church I grew up in, where I went to school, and where I've lived since then, there are quite a few distinct groups of people in my life who tend to hold fast to common opinions, sometimes at the expense of social media etiquette.  While I respect their rights to express them as early and as often as possible, I'd just rather see you outside your house doing something about it, not posting support for your side on Facebook.  So, by silencing you, I get to pretend you're doing just that.

I'm not one of those people who ever threatened to leave Facebook or Twitter or any other media platform, because when it comes to friends, this ENFJ has a pretty addictive personality.  I not only love those sites, I don't actually know what I'd do without them.  But every habit needs a little self-policing, and let's just say that keeping up with it makes me really happy we're friends.

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