I got really upset this morning. Despondent, almost.
Because I found out that someone who I have come to respect over the last year or so has blocked me on Twitter. I don’t know why he blocked me. I don’t think I could have done anything to offend him.
But this got me thinking. Why am I getting upset? Why am I getting so emotionally cut up about somebody not wanting to see my Twitter feed or wanting me to see theirs?
To be honest, I don’t even know him.
I met him over the internet, have posted comments on his blog a few times, friended him on Facebook and Twitter, but I’ve never met him in person and would probably walk right past him in the street.
And yet I feel strangely offended and rejected.
How about that for an instant commentary on contemporary culture!
We think we know people because we correspond with them occasionally through the use of social media. But we don’t know them, we just think we do. The relationships are shallow, the connections are transitory. And yet we suffer loss when the relationships come to an end, when we are rejected as easily and as simply as we were accepted.
Because we are hardwired for community. We find purpose and value through relationship. We look to make connections and networks with others who are like us.
The result is that we feel close to someone even though we are not and never will be.
But when we form a relationship we become vulnerable. No matter if that relationship is deep or shallow, if value and friendship and affection are involved then we will be hurt when it finishes or breaks down in some way.
It just happens more often when you have hundreds of ‘friends’ with whom you invest little time or effort, who have no real necessity in maintaining a close and deep relationship with you.
Consumer culture makes all things disposable, so why should friendship be any different.
Upset is inevitable. Maybe I just need to learn not to make a big thing of it.
But it still hurts….