Releasing my past: Unfriending on social media

I’m one of those people that can’t let go of the past. I allow it to eat me up inside, slowly invading my daily thoughts, and I allow it to prevent me from enjoying the present. Sadly, I’m one of THOSE people. The ones people make memes of telling them to let go. Like most things in life, it is easier said than done.

For people like me, social media makes it even more difficult to move past it. You have this constant window open to peak into the lives of people who have left your life. Checking in on their every move and constantly comparing it to yours. And in my case¬†it was one girl who made me nuts. And not because she’s living a better or worse life than me. We’re both stay at home moms, our daughters are roughly the same age. And in the end we both are both happy. At least, that’s what I can gather from the glimpses of her life I’ve seen through social media (ie, Instagram and Facebook).

A few months ago I had this encounter with God where I realized in order to move forward with my life, I needed to completely separate myself from her. I’ll spare you the details of how I came to this revelation but just know it was enough to get me to block her on Instagram, Facebook, email, etc. Now, I didn’t do this out of anger or jealousy but because it was in my best interest. I was becoming obsessed with whether or not she would “like” something I posted or if she would comment on a picture. If she didn’t, I would let it ruin my mood and thus affecting how I was interacting those I live with. Talking about it now, I realize how RIDICULOUS it is to have allowed this to control me.

But before I go any further I think I should actually talk about who she is and why I was letting her eat away at my soul. For my sanity I’m going to refer to her as Stacy. Stacy and I were best friends throughout middle school and high school. Like most friends we had gaps during that time period where we weren’t close seeing how we went to two different high schools but I always considered her one of my best friends. Eventually I transferred to her high school and we picked up our friendship where it had left off. Spent almost every day after school together, went on family vacations together, and planned our senior year classes so we would be together all day every day. However when college acceptances¬†came around we didn’t get into the same colleges. I remember being on the phone as we signed online to see if we got in, Stacy got on first. Rejected. Two seconds after she spoke, my acceptance letter popped onto the screen. I didn’t know what to say other than they hadn’t updated my page yet. When she found out that I got in, and that our other best friend and I would be rooming together freshman year, our relationship changed.

She started distancing herself and doing things on her own. She wouldn’t respond to my texts as quickly and always seemed to be busy whenever I wanted to hang out. Once freshman year came around I was too busy to really let it get to me. I came home frequently because of my boyfriend, and now husband, but I always made time to see her while I was in Miami. I noticed her changing, things she normally wouldn’t have done or said were starting to creep up and I didn’t know how to handle the change. Eventually we got into a full blown fight and we stopped talking. Months and eventually years went by and not a word was heard from her.

Fast forward five or six years, she added me on Facebook and Instagram. Getting those notifications knocked the wind out of me. At first I just let the requests just linger in my inbox but eventually I accepted the requests. Was this her reaching out to rekindle the friendship? Not really. She kept her distance, never “liking” a post or commenting on something I knew she would find funny. We ended up getting pregnant around the same time and I reached out. Letting her know that I was happy for her and her partner and hoped all was well. Radio silence. When her daughter was born I sent my congratulations and told her I knew she would be a great mom. Radio silence.

And then, the day came. She commented on a photo of PJ. I was floored. I responded. And then she responded. A few responses later and we were actually having a conversation. Eventually we transitioned into email, and then Facebook messaging, then WhatsApp. We made plans to see each other when I was in Miami on vacation. She messaged me to have a safe flight. And then, it happened. Radio silence.

I was confused. I was hurt. And ultimately, I was angry. Why spend months talking and reaching out to only disappear? I don’t know. I emailed her, I called her, I texted. Nothing. She stopped liking my posts, she stopped responding to my comments. I felt like a crazy ex-boyfriend. I was so confused. Eventually she started commenting again but it just wasn’t the same. The damage had been done. It had been around six months of me just obsessing if today was the day she would “like” or comment on a post. I had enough. I wasn’t going to let her control my thoughts anymore. If she can’t SEE the pictures or posts, then she can’t “like” them and I can’t obsess over them.

At first I felt like a 16 year old girl unfriending someone because of a petty disagreement. But it worked. I stopped feeling a weight on my shoulders every time I posted something. I didn’t feel anxious whenever I got a notification on my phone. I felt light and airy.

I’m in the wrong for allowing her approval to control my life, especially at my age, but at least I found a healthy solution to free myself. I know I’m not alone in this struggle. We live in a society where friendships are largely cultivated and maintained on the internet. When a relationship is over in the real world, you avoid that person. You avoid going to places you would normally find them. You pick a new grocery store, go to a new gym, hell if you were giraffe in the Sahara you would find a new watering hole. But online how can you really escape them? I don’t know who invented the unfriend or blocking feature on social media but the world thanks you for giving us a way out.