Tug-Of-War Between Friends

I’ve never been one to deny that I am sensitive, emotional and have a tendency to over-react, but there are times when it is necessary for me to make choices supported by all three of those personality traits. (Especially when it pertains to Internet friendships.)

Recently, I’ve been evaluating the productiveness of my digital relationships and have come to a personal conclusion that if interaction with a follower, subscriber or friend, produces an uncomfortable tension that cannot be resolved or frequently occurs, the association with them should end. This may seem extreme to those who prefer to stay “friends” with everyone regardless of the negative differences between you, but I am not one of those people.

My Internet experience is a personal one. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are places that I visit for enjoyment and to express myself creatively, honestly and share bits and pieces of my life with other like-minded people. Now, don’t get me wrong, I certainly appreciate the opinions and ideas of others, but when those opinions translate into a pointless tug-of-war game of opposing viewpoints and misunderstandings it becomes counterproductive to the reason I am on the Internet in the first place.

Fortunately, as a result of a few recent tug-of-war battles, I am learning to distance myself emotionally from the “words of strangers.” (Internet friends I’ve never met)  This doesn’t mean I don’t care about my digital friends….it just means that “reality” is where I am sitting when the computer is shut off.


Tug-Of-War Between Friends — 9 Comments

  1. I don’t think that your thoughts are unusual, Steven. There are many of us die-hard ‘internetters’ who have to deal on a daily basis with the negatives and positives of interacting with strangers online. Some of my YouTube commenters are warm, kind and generous with their compliments, and some are downright rude or even threatening, but I take them all with a pinch of salt. We all have the option of deleting or blocking people we don’t like or want around us online, and I often do.
    Although there are many people that I interact with who I have never met, there are many, such as yourself, that I still like to consider as my friends. Through a series of videos, postings, messages, and comments, we form an opinion about someone online in the same way that we do offline – but it’s a continual process. That too is the same offline. We may be the best of friends with someone in ‘real life’, and think that we will remain friends forever, but it’s a fine line, made up of our own likes and dislikes. Once that person crosses that line, our opinions of them change. It may be a slightly annoying trait, or it may be something that completely pisses us off, but the evaluation process continues as an ongoing thing.
    Friendships can be solid and lasting, or they can be transient and shallow, but our interactions with others defines not only them, but helps us define ourselves a little better too.
    May our evaluations of each other continue to remain positive, Steven!
    And hey, if they don’t, or if someone else online brings us down, we have the greatest leveller of all at our fingertips – the ‘off’ switch!
    Best wishes,
    Rob x

    • I admire your ability to let things roll off your shoulders Rob. I’m still working on that. lol I do have genuine feelings of friendship towards many I have met through the Internet, but from experience, I am keeping my emotional investment down to a minimum from now on.

  2. Steven, you are NOT alone! Also, before i go any further? I was waiting for you to cal the other day then when it was quite late I realized what an idiot I am, I think I was supposed to call you LOL?? Haa! I explained it to my cousin who is visiting, she said “No, NO…he meant you could call him after breakfast time, sometime.” UGH, unbelievable but ya know what? THAT made Connie’s day cause we decided SHE was right. No worries, I still BLAMED HER just because she was here LOL

    Back to online friends. I NEVER feel as if you are an online friend or a digital friend. YOU ARE the little brother I always wanted and never got. We can go weeks without talking and with a ring of the phone we can pick up right where we left off with “OMG GUESS WHAT!” LOL You mean so very much to me for too many reasons to list here but my life has literally been crowded OUT for exactly one year this week. Its gotten better over the few months then I had to start taking over doing things with and for Connie. (Cousin) and as recently as last week Aunt bette is in the hospital again. I have neglected our friendship while experiencing a lot of guilt at the same time over doing just that. Are you kidding me? The days I get to go to the lake are my MOST CHERISHED days of my summer. Talk about escape from reality, thats the ultimate escape except for the night mare of Ruby jumping on my tender baby skin LOL’

    I have to admit that I’m saying little to NOTHING about politics on my FaceBook because I’ve experienced “problems” with a few people saying incredibly mean things to me about politics and people running for office and not attacking just one candidate but it seems just anyone interested in running and or they criticize what ever is said by either or all parties! WHAT??? I think to myself that IF I’m asked my opinion and i begin to get out 2 words of MY OPINION that Im literally cut off and given a tongue lashing and Im thinking these people just said awful things about everyone in question so how can my opinion count, matter or even be meaningful enough to jump on me over?? DUH, then I realize I’m thinking these people are like mini trolls and they are on my friends list! I’ve cleaned house a bit, I realized I dont even KNOW these people and they are like a friend of a friend who was a friend of a friend and HOW did i ok them as a friend without knowing them? I try to be very careful for the most part since my FB page was hi-jacked a little over a month ago and it took 3 days to get it back! So I’m literally afraid to ok or accept ANYONE unless we have spoken or i really DO know them. I’ve been advising others to do the same, be very selective and also fix your settings so ONLY FRIENDS see your stuff, NOT friends of friends. I’m getting fewer requests to be friends since I did that. Which is fine by me 🙂

    Hey, you are one of about 4 people who can and does say what YOU FEEL and I’m always interested in exactly how you feel about politics or religion. I know where you stand on BOTH and thats fine by me. How dull would life be if we were ALL alike? I respect you and your opinions, I understand your view on religion and i respect it because it’s your view and i respect YOU! Same with politics, I like hearing your opinions and WHY you support a certain person and why not another or why you like or dislike another or you like one person but dont agree with ALL their views, promises or running platform. When people voice THEIR own belief or opinions it causes OTHERS to, at the very least, make their own discoveries about certain points and make them even grow their own ideas. Thats why sharing thoughts and ideas are a VERY GOOD THING! Until you run into the nut job who tries to verbally trick you or “catch” you possibly changing your mind or inquiring about one thing and stating what you like or dont really care for so THEY CAN ATTACK YOU! UGH, its the pits and for me? It makes me suspect of everyone that now questions me about politics or religion. Thats ok, I’ll get over it. For now? I just dont have anything to say about either subject on Facebook.

    I DO love reading everyone elses comments, complaints or ideas about OUR country IF they are in fact American citizens themselves LOL I hate those in other countries worse off than WE are but they are going to help us out. Fix America while online discussing ALL thats wrong with us here. Oh we KNOW whats wrong, we just all have to be on the same page and realize whats right and GET IT FIXED! As SOON as ALL people, no matter what color, what religion or lack of religion…Faith or no Faith, once we all agree about EQUAL RIGHTS FOR EVERYONE, can you IMAGINE how fast we will grow to what and where America SHOULD BE? I think to myself, “What’s the hold up?” EVERYONE see’s what should be done and how it should happen but no one does anything!

    • One of the things I like about you, Gail, is you are never at a loss for words. 🙂 My most recent frustration was from a friend in Australia who is politically critical of America. I liked him, but his constant postings about “all that is wrong with the USA” made it very difficult to remain friends. In the end, I have figured out how to put the cyber world into emotional perspective.

  3. Good for you Steven; its your computer, your internet time, your life and your mental health. So if that makes you happy, it’s the right thing to do. Don’t agonize; just enjoy the peace.
    Thus spake Liz who has ‘hidden’ posts often so that my interwebz time is more enjoyable.

    • I am happy to read that I am not the only one who regularly will “hide” posts. Most often it’s more about not wanting a barrage of “inspirational” shares clogging up my news feed than disliking the friend. Sometimes though, an ongoing personality clash will reach a critical level and the choice to remain friends or not becomes the question. Those moments can be painful if there is an emotional investment in that friendship, which is why I have decided to change my perspective on Internet relationships and invest only in reality from now on.

  4. Steven, I enjoy our friendship *because* you are sensitive and emotional and have a tendency to overreact. Me, too. I like that about you! 🙂

  5. steven – reading all your thoughts and comments here tonight, i have to tell u 2 things 1). i have been off line for a week now and ustr back on – i wonder where all my “friends” were then? – pretty disappointing to learn noone even knewi wasgone except a very few but – 2). i have made some great friends on here! one whowas very ill andwe went years and never met. i spent 4 months last winter in rehab for a reconstructed foot and had a lot of time to think and decided i had togomeet her! so i asked my friend tom – who i refound onfb after 35 years!) – to take me to n.c.! so walker and all away i went! it was the best thinkiever did in my life and we all had a wonerful time – her daughter and her partner, her son and his wife and their 6 little girls (!). they welsomed tom and i into their lives and home with welcome, loving arms. i walked into my friends apt like i had been there all my life and she felt that way also – oh such a geat time! all to short tho’. she had good days while we were there and then this christmas fell very ill again and died shortly afterwards. a friend i would never have had if not for the intrernet! so, steven remember there r wonderful people on here! i would just refrain from discussing politics, war and reliigion until u really know some one. have fun! sorry i ramble. love ya, sue

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