Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Social Networking Platforms & Family Members...What's the Best Policy?

In Sociology class, we learned about the principle of personas. The easiest way to explain this is as follows:

Everyone has a core personality but within that core personality, we wear different masks for different people/situations. We have the workplace mask, the family members mask, the mask for the kids, the blue collar mask, however many you need for various situations in your life. People get used to the mask you present. If you present something or someone learns of something contrary to that mask, all Hell can break loose.

The best example I've got that I'm sure would be discussed in Sociology classes today but wasn't when I was in college b/c it predates my college experience is social networking profiles. Specifically, Facebook or MySpace profiles if you went to college around 2005 or so.

I've experience this whole persona issue firsthand. Those of you who are married or have family members who refuse to acknowledge your right to your feelings can certainly relate.

The quandry is the integrity of your social networking profile vs. deception toward your family members. People experience that with people in the working world as well as evidenced by immature employers firing people for having different political views, hating their supervisor or not wanting to lick an employer's boots for having to do 3 jobs at once with no salary increase to an already pathetic wage. I think a simple conversation with the employee would be more productive.

Let's also contrast this from firings for revealing confidential information or endangering someone's life.

Personally, I push for integrity. There are ways to maintain it without airing dirty laundry such as:

A) Not naming specific names
B) Sticking to discussions on your feelings & opinions, not statements that could be considered defamatory (who wants a defamation lawsuit?)
C) Being vague enough to not make someone immediately know things but purposeful enough to make your point to those who need to hear it

I've had family members get in my face for social profile status postings. With my family, I continue to assert my 1st Amendment rights to speak & that they have no cause to censor me since their name was never used. In the case of in-laws, I simply blocked their ability to see my Facebook status updates as a default proposition.

Maybe some of you have family members and relatives who are capable of behaving like adults and not taking it upon themselves to become the Thought Police or demanding you to put up with someone else's crappy treatment. If you do, God bless you & thank your lucky stars that you aren't related to me or scores of other people whose families are screwed up. Honestly, I think my father may be the most sane of any of mine & he's the alcoholic.

After multiple annoying inquiries bordering on inquisition style tactics from family members, it all came to a head recently.

You may recall my mention of a close friend of mine who lost her mind without the assistance of drugs, alcohol or domestic abuse. Nope, her drug is a spineless scumbag who still lives with his baby mama & is jerking both of them along (while fantasizing about a threesome if you believe my husband & a guy friend my husband hates who claim all men want to do it). Baby mama is hardly Mother of the Year considering she's leaving her child in the care of my friend, her romantic rival & has family/friends who'd keep this child.

Despite her assurances that she would A) get away from this wannabe polygamist & B) perform wedding duties as requested before her life came crashing down, she has done neither one. Now I could care less about the religious aspects of the marriage breakup & if this man were single + encouraging her not to ditch her responsibilities, it would be very different.

But what I really care about is that this "friend" doesn't bother taking up grievances with me. Apparently, she has a problem with me feeling that if a friend of 20 years can 180 on me in a second, I have no chance of ever having a close friendship with anyone else. If I have to always think someone's going to perform a drastic 180 & become someone I can't respect, then I can't take that chance of getting close enough to get hurt.

I also think this person is going to mess up the wedding & that's going to end the friendship for good, especially when I offered an out that wasn't taken. Not to mention this "friend" didn't even show up for my wedding, never got me a wedding gift & hasn't bothered telling me directly about things in the past year or so. I have to hear about her life from my mother.

I posted a status update reflecting this view without a direct mention of names or situation. Instead of calling me & asking about it like a mature person would do, what do you think this "friend" does?

She decides to tell my sister. My sister mentions it to my mother, who mentions it to me. Now when my mother mentions stuff on social networking, she does in a scolding & somewhat confrontational manner. You get the sense you've just been tattled on for bad behavior. When asked, I informed her that I stand by my feelings & have a right to them. She attempted to defend this person & I pointed out that my life will be changing as well. I don't want people I don't respect being a part of it or asking for favors resulting from this new life.

My sister is apparently okay with this person taking credit for an important wedding role & being as reliable as some of her ex-friends who weren't asked because they are known for being unreliable. Those people were never my close friends & I don't respect them. I certainly don't approve of many of their life choices & are not the type of people you can help since they are black holes.

A different person in the wedding party is stepping up & I told my sister she should do something really nice for that person.

The quickest way to get me to hate your guts is to tattle to family & not talk to me. This "friend" has my phone number & could have called to speak to me. She also has a good idea of what I think about dragging family members into personal situations.

Gee, can we behave more like a 12 year old? I should go telling her father or her brother about things & see how she likes it. I refuse to speak to her since she won't bother giving me the dignity & respect of bringing personal grievances directly to me.

Furthermore, since she wants to behave like a baby, I decided it was best not to allow her to see any more Facebook statuses. As far as I'm concerned, she's part of a campaign to censor me. Not to mention that I don't appreciate attempts to be infantalized by anyone.

So I have 2 personal beefs with this person: my sister & being treated like a kid instead of an adult. Doing #2 is not simply burning bridges with me: that's throwing gasoline on the bridge & lighting a match.

You also can't exactly get treatment for being addicted to people. You can fix substance abuse or domestic violence situations, though it might not work. There's nothing to stop the same thing from happening again w/this friend.

I'm really not sure I can continue in that friendship. I don't feel it's being valued & I'd rather save my friendship for those who actually care about it, who care about me. Let me have a few people who care over a million who don't anytime.

As I was milling over this one, a friend of a friend asks why you would friend family members anyway. Good point!

I guess if you haven't, you probably shouldn't unless they have a modicum of maturity. If you did, you should probably just make sure they never see your status updates. I'm hoping that will make my life far easier. Being related to me or knowing me for 20 years is not some free pass to treat me like crap, censor me, etc. Those types of bonds mean nothing to me; I'm of the school of creating your own ties with people who love, support & genuinely care about you & your best interest. Most people have at least 1 relative who does none of that, including me. I say why bother w/them. Thoughts?

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