Today I've unfriended more than 30 people on Facebook. It may have been you, or one of your friends. It is not often that I talk about my "friends" as defined by social media, but given that I've spent every single second of my last run mulling the contents of this blog post, which continued to torture me today, I had to do something about it. This was not an easy decision. As a matter of fact, I've been debating it for over a year, but only recently it started to consume me to the point where it's been affecting my emotional well being. If you've followed me long enough, you should know that I take my mental health pretty seriously. Because if I weren't... I wouldn't be here to talk about it.
The next question is obviously WHY. And the answer is very simple: because being connected to these people HURTS. How?? See, I wear my heart on the sleeve. I am an extrovert, not shy of giving compliments (and they are always genuine) or telling someone that I like them and that I want to be their friend. With some of these people I did just that, months or even years ago. Because I really cared about them. Many of them inspire me on a daily basis and I know that they are GOOD people. But they all have something in common: they don't care about me (or if they do, they never showed it). Some of them may consider me a weirdo, a groupie, a fan, or purely an annoyance to whom they rest connected for reasons that I cannot comprehend. Connecting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram for the sake of it, because we're teammates, because we share the same hobby, because of curiosity, because it may turn into a business opportunity, or a sale opportunity, because we want to keep tabs on each other, or who knows what other stupid reason devoid of care, compassion or empathy - it's not for me. I am not strong, nor superficial enough for it.
Sometimes I admit, I accept friendship requests too quickly, but I always take the time and try to connect with the person. If they don't reciprocate in any shape or form, if they never answer my questions, comments or concerns, if they never share my enthusiasm, or never Like something that makes me happy, it becomes a relationship that I'm uncomfortable with. I put so much energy into every single one of the connections that I make, that after a while it starts eating me at the core that this person doesn't give a shit. And so I unfriend, to protect myself from these feelings that can become a real burden on my psyche.
Lately there has also been another trend on some of the blogs I read. Their authors feel a sense of pride in making declarations that end up hurting more than they can imagine, such as "I never take selfies", "I don't eat sugar" or "I never weigh myself", or "I never run in skirts". For all of us who do take selfies, obsess with the scale, enjoy a dessert every once in a while, or just find running skirts extremely comfortable - those statements make us feel like shit because they ARE judgmental. The author may not say it out loud, but they must find comfort in knowing that they are better than us, the other 99%. The effort that I need to put in justifying these statements for those who make them it's seriously draining. Maybe they don't mean it, or maybe it's their way of reassuring themselves. Who am I to tell them what to write on their own virtual space anyway? So I rather take a bow and retreat in my own corner of the Internet.
Last but not least, I've unfriended a bunch of triathletes that I've connected with via the groups that I belong to on Facebook. Some of these people are pros, or full time coaches, or people who only share, breathe and live triathlon. These people are obviously too busy to connect with their audience, or choose not to waste their energy on people who are not part of their immediate circle - thus ignoring 90% of their connections (and they do have a shit ton of social media friends, so I can understand the "noise" that must be surrounding them). But while they are inspiring in their dedication to beating PRs, qualifying for Kona, or getting the most defined and toned body, they also could benefit from showing their human side: failures, injuries, stretch marks, DNFs. People who only show the "perfect" side of their lives, only mingle with other pros or "fast" people, or spend half their time plugging their sponsors, make me angry. Anger is something that I've been feeling more and more lately and it doesn't make me a better person. So, I had to unfriend these people as well to shield myself from the shitty feelings that get triggered whenever I open social media and stumble on them.
I have no intention in changing any of these people. They all do what they want with their lives, their friends, their hobbies. And I do the same with mine. We all want the best for ourselves, that's for sure. So anyway, I really do hate these kind of posts and I am still debating whether to publish this, but maybe something good will come out of it, who knows.