You Can’t Be Everyone’s Friend

by Bill Brenner on August 24, 2011

I once wrote about an obsession with the Facebook friend count. I worried about offending people who de-friended me. Lately I realize it’s ok if I can’t be everyone’s friend. I’m even warming to the idea.

Mood music:

I’ve always had this stupid idea that I needed to be everyone’s friend. Even when I was bullying someone, I’d turn around and try to be their friend. I always wanted everyone in my family to like me, even when I was busy hating them.

I’ve carried that into adulthood and got obsessed about it with things like Facebook. This morning I glanced at my friend count and it was 1,713. I could have sworn it was 1,715 a few days ago. So I started looking around to see who might have gotten mad at me. I noticed that three relatives had disconnected from me. A year ago that would have bothered me a lot more than it did this morning.

“At least my ‘friends’ seem to be sticking around,” I thought to myself.

Sarcasm aside, I do think I’m turning a corner with this whole like-dislike thing. Slowly, it’s sinking in that I need to do a better job at listening to my own words. At the beginning of this blog is a post called “Being a People Pleaser is Dumb.” I wrote about how I wanted to be the golden boy at work more than anything back in the day, until I realized it was absolutely impossible to please everyone all the time. In fact, some people are unworthy of the effort.

I’ve had to learn that lesson all over again in the social networking world.

When people walk away from me online, I figure it’s because they don’t particularly enjoy this blog. So be it.

You can’t be everyone’s friend. You shouldn’t be everyone’s friend.

I’m slowly warming to the idea that if some people don’t like you it’s because you have the stones to take a stand on the things you believe in.

You either like me or you don’t. It’s all good.

I’m connected to a lot of people I’m not particularly fond of these days. It’s nothing personal. I just find find the whiny, woe-is-me status updates grating. Facebook is full of that stuff, along with all the self-righteous, pre-manufactured statements people wrap their arms around.

But it’s your profile.

Do what you want with it, and I’ll do what I want with mine.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda White August 24, 2011 at 6:00 am

I fully expected to lose friends through the whole divorce process. In fact, I already have. It hurts, but I know they have their reasons. Maybe they don’t know how to relate to me when I’m not part of a couple. Perhaps they disagree with the choices I’ve made. Maybe they’re closer to my ex. I don’t feel the need to try to win them back. God is good & knows our needs. When someone walks away, he puts someone else there. So you’re right. You can’t be everyone’s friend. Nor should you try to be. And that’s okay.

Jim Noble (@dc0de) August 24, 2011 at 6:39 am

I just found your blog, and will suggest it to a few people I know… Including myself. As far as friends go, I just be myself, it was a hard lesson to learn, but it works.

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