A few days ago, I was ‘unfriended’ on Face Book.
The person who unfriended me was not just a Cyber Space Face Book friend. It was someone I have met face to face numerous times, prayed for and had coffee with.
I had tried to share something on her Facebook page which I thought she would enjoy and it was then that I discovered that she had ‘unfriended’ me. I sent her a Whats App asking her if she had actually done so (you hear of some weird things happening in Cyber space and I was still hoping she hadn’t physically unfriended me!) and if yes, why?
“Yes, I have”
“We have mentioned to get together for coffee twice over the last two years and I have replied with an enthusiastic yes twice but the date was never set. I just think it best if I don’t see you on FB then I’m not reminded of my disappointment.”
How incredibly sad. Here I was blissfully unaware that I had hurt someone to the point of them ‘unfriending’ me.
My immediate response was “why didn’t she just set a date herself to which I would have answered whether I could make it or not” and “there are other people who constantly say to each other we must get together and yet they never do (purely because of time) and yet they don’t unfriend each other”. “Why didn’t she just pick up a phone and phone me?”
And then this little voice reminded me of Mathew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”.
Why hadn’t I picked up a phone to talk to her instead of sending her a Whats App?
I was hurt so decided to hide behind the impersonal format of Whats App.
I was angry at her reason for ‘unfriending’ me and I didn’t want to speak to her in that moment so apologised via Whats App. I am ashamed to admit that I can be quite a hypocrite at times.
If two ‘mature’, Jesus loving grownups could behave in such a manner what hope do our children have?
Children are being bullied, hurt, made to feel ashamed, looked down upon because all communication takes place in Cyber Space and they don’t see or experience the reaction and pain that would be theirs to witness if communication took place face to face.
The effect of social media is dehumanizing.
“We’re engaging face-to-face much less. If we don’t speak to each other, it’s harder to establish empathy”. (S. Greenfield)
Via social media we are often unaware of what someone may be saying about us or who might have taken offense to something we posted – if I hadn’t wanted to share something to her Face Book timeline I would never have discovered that she had ‘unfriended’ me or that I had caused someone so much hurt that they would want to ‘unfriend’ me.
“I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots” (Albert Einstein)
This has been a wake-up call for me.
I don’t want to be an idiot or lose my empathy for others.