The other day I noticed that a person I consider a real life friend had unfriended me on a social networking site. Awkward. So I sent her a message asking why. I know that sometimes people get unfriended by mistake, and if that wasn’t the case, I just wanted to know if I had done something wrong.
While declaring she didn’t have to justify herself nor her decisions, she went on to do so. Apparently I had made it clear on several occasions that I don’t actually like her, and I don’t respect her, her journey, her background etc. This was all news to me. Obviously she was continually getting the wrong end of the stick, and instead of talking to me about it, it became this giant thing. (This is the same person who thought “are you coming to the wedding?” meant that she was no longer invited, when in fact she just hadn’t RSVPed, and I actually just needed to know if she was coming.)
So I apologised for the miscommunication, and said I wouldn’t bother her again. There was some more back and forth, finishing with her saying she “can’t change how you think, feel or behave, so I’ll leave you to it.” After which she proceeded to block me.
This got me thinking. The online world has made it far to easy to just ignore things we don’t want to deal with, and to not take responsibility for our actions.
Sure if someone’s spouting horrible, hateful things at you, being able to block them is a blessing. But if you’ve been a jerk, and someone’s calling you out on it? Or they just happen to disagree with you over something? That really is the online equivalent of putting your fingers in your ears, and singing, “I can’t hear you!!” All it proves is that you can’t have a mature discussion.
What is society going to come to when so many of us can’t talk about things properly? How are we supposed to learn and grow? How are we going to recognize that our actions have consequences? It’s very troublesome, and, being the easy way out, is unlikely to change.