At some point in the last ten years, I was led to believe that the dawn of the age of social media was supposed to help us socialise, be more sociable, keep in touch with long-lost friends, etc. Sure, I have met lots of people via Twitter and even managed to meet some of them in person, many have shown me such kindness and generosity that I never thought existed in real life, let alone people I had never met in person before. I have also reconnected with friends near and far who I have not seen in a long time.
Of course, with every positive, there is always something negative you can find with the use of social media. For example, I am so glad I am not a teenager growing up in today’s age of constant technology, where schoolyard bullying extends beyond the confines of a schoolyard. A tweet, a photo or a video posted on the world-wide web picking on someone can ruin someone’s life within seconds.
A simple, but conscious, decision to do something, or not do something can change everything. A few years ago, my sister and I had a discussion about our own friends – those we have known for years and years who we have stayed in touch with, those who we have lost touch with who we could still carry on a conversation with when we meet again as if not a day had gone by since we last met, and those who we have lost touch with because the friendship had become a one-way affair. Sometimes we mourn the loss of those friends.
And then there was a category that my sister called ”toxic” friends – those who, at one time in our lives, might have shared in our ups and downs, but over the years, became such a drain on our mental and emotional psyche that they have become toxic. I have one of those – or more accurately, I had one of those (as I recently discovered that this friend had decided to ‘unfriend’ me on Facebook). This was someone who I had been friends with for twenty-five years but over the past five years, her attitude had altered to the point where every ‘bad’ thing that happened to her or her family was someone else’s fault and that nobody else’s needs were as important as hers.
So, while I am saddened by this “internet break-up”, I remind myself of the many wonderful friends I have been blessed with. I have the memories of the good times and know that sometimes (to paraphrase the Serenity Prayer), life is just too short to dwell on the things that I cannot change, to have the courage to help those that I can, and to have the wisdom to recognise the difference. 2014 will be a good year.