Just Because I Mute You Doesn’t Mean We’re Not Friends
With the exception of a handful of people the vast majority of our communication seems to happen via social media. It may be on a desk top, lap top or more and more on a mobile device. These are the tools that are connecting us. With sites such as Facebook, Twitter and IG setting the communicative tone for so many people there’s a new reality that many of us have become aware of and many struggle to figure manage. This issue is what I call “Friend Filter” and it can often be a vital tool in the new age friendship.
Now that we “follow” people 24/7 in the digital space we give up a degree of immediate control over what we are exposed to. We navigate timeline and news feed where we never know what we are going to be exposed. The quality of the folk we follow defines the general type of content we’ll be exposed too. It’s people patterns, after a while you know who is who and what certain people are likely to post up for the Internets. I personally feel I have a nice mix but there are still periods where folk get in a zone of sharing thing I not only have no interest in but it’s just annoying. If this is coming from a friend it apparently causes a dilemma for some folk.
Not too long ago I was asked “Is it messed up to mute or block a friend online?” My reply came pretty fast. “No, not at all.” Now let me add some context. I don’t block people I’m actually cool with. I don’t get into many issues with folk online. I’ve maybe blocked 5 or 6 people ever and it was always a stranger reaching out to argue over nothing…..usually sports related. To me a block equals I never want to see or hear from you again. On the other hand mute equals I don’t want to hear/see what you’re sharing at this specific period of time. There’s NOTHING wrong with that. People that you love with all your heart can still annoy you. I assume that I annoy folk at times. It’s what humans do. You may be gushing on and on about your relationship, you may be rambling about side chicks, you might be on a social or political soap box, there’s any possible number of subjects that my make me or anyone else turn off your feed. Think back to how we grew up. You were with your good friends all the time. Fights happened often because we don’t always agree. Now that distance is such a factor in our communications you can avoid fights by just filtering what you are exposed to.
Everyone has the right to say what they want so telling a person to stop posting something never really works. Leverage the things you have control over. Watch what you take into your system vs trying to dictate what others create. Being 100% honest I told a friend before that I had to mute her. She wasn’t mad and actually admitted that from the outside looking in she probably would have muted herself too. We’re still learning how to live with this new degree of free communication so don’t feel bad if you have to put someone on a time out. Your personal sanity and friendships will be better off for it.