A nasty Facebook comment taught me how toxic online friendships can be
Nowadays, friendships are not only grown from those people we know who come over and kick it with us, or our girlfriends who call us to check in and see how we're doing on a daily basis, but also many friendships are cultivated on Facebook.
Think about it: When we need to rant, we post and get the inspiration we need from friends that push us to a more positive place. When we need advice about how to jazz up a recipe, friends offer up their old favorites or dish out their grandma's good ole go-to recipe. Friendships on Facebook often do develop into more meaningful relationships — but then, there are friendships we thought we've cultivated well that have taught us lessons about limits.
I had a big lesson that pushed the limit this year. My daughter and I often do online comedy videos, since she aspires to be an actress and comedienne. My daughter is just 11 years old, and our videos are really fun and quite foolish. It's the brand of comedy that makes you crack up while shaking your head and co-signing our craziness together as a mom and daughter comedy duo.
Most recently, we decided to do a video on a hot topic: Should wives give their husbands a hall pass. If you haven't heard about "hall passes," let's just say that it's a green light to cheat without getting in trouble. So, I decided to have my daughter act like her crazy character, an old lady named Miss Edna, and offer up advice to wives that is totally against giving hall passes. Keep in mind, this is comedy coming from an 11-year-old.
A so-called Facebook friend jumped on my post and literally cursed out my daughter and me, using F-words and spewing hate that truly hurt my heart — especially since she directed her sour words toward my child. Where in the world did that come from? Apparently, this person subscribes to the school of "get your groove on with every Tom, Dick and Harry" and she was offended by a nonsense video because she said she does give and takes hall passes and didn't like what we had to say about it. Again, it was a video of an 11-year-old dressed as an old lady giving old-school advice.
I learned this person's hateful words were just a reflection of how she has always felt about me. Her hate didn't just happen to hurl at us on this particular day for no reason. She always hated me. As I look back now, I can see that the crumbs were always there and evident in her comments on many other posts, but I just failed to recognize it because I wanted our friendship to be real. It wasn't. This person was likely jealous of my life and that I found happiness and comfort in my kids and my husband and that I was confident enough to pursue everything that matters to me. Friends don't up and throw hate your way unless they've always had it in for you. If they do, just know that it's something deeper inside of them that they are lashing out about.
You should never apologize for being who you are. For me, I love people and I will never stop showing love, inspiring people and striving to reach my dreams or helping my kids aspire to reach theirs because someone wants to throw shade and put a damper on our sunny days. I've learned I will be careful with who I consider my friends and who are worthy to share in my joy. Not everyone will cheer for you, and not everyone wants you to win. At the same time, never let someone's misery deter you from doing you.
This year I've learned:
- I've spoiled way too many unworthy people with my time, when they clearly didn't deserve all of me.
- That nasty post ended up being a breakthrough for me, in knowing I have a right to be respected online. I didn't have to try to justify that video to that person, and I was totally within my right to end that friendship by unfriending that person. I welcome different perspectives from people, but she disrespected me, my child and our so-called friendship in the worst way by being callous and uncaring.
- When you are dealing with friends, you should use your voice for kindness and compassion and should never resort to cursing them out and taking to heart something as trivial as a video that supports my child's career and has nothing to do with you. That alone shows that she was more of a frenemy than anything else.
- Walk in your truth every single day. Do what makes you happy and don't care if people like it. Comedienne Tina Fey actually said that, and it holds true to life. If I let one "monkey" stop my daughter's show, she'll never become the star she aspires to be. I definitely will not let that happen.
- Keep your trigger finger on the "Unfriend" and "Block" buttons. Enough said.