Yesterday, an old friend of mine (by which I mean we were good friends in maybe 4-9th grade, saw each other sometimes in high school and had no contact after that until Facebook came around) posted something on FB about how the difference between people who fulfill their dreams and those who don’t is that the former never stop believing. I have a low tolerance for ‘follow your bliss’ and affirmations with low meaning content anyway – they ring a lot of my bells, including the fallacy of assuming everyone has a singular dream that consumes their life (aka Proper Job), and the way “you just have to believe” can obscure the need to actually work for your dreams. I thnk a lot of them are actively harmful, because they set people’s expectations wrongly. So I commented something like “In my experience, the people who fulfill their dreams get there by working their asses off, and by having a bit of luck either in being supported by people around them or being able to move to be around supportive people.” I probably should not have posted – people who post feelgood aspirational stuff never seem to tolerate disagreement well.

Well, she complained that I always seem to be either disagreeing with or ignoring her posts. I will admit to being more disagreeable than I intend all too often, but after more discussion it appears that her feelings are hurt because even though we have all this childhood history together I rarely Like or comment on her posts.

Which leaves me somewhere between a headtilt and a WTF.

I checked: all of her posts in the last month and a half have been either this sort of ‘inspirational thing’ or else about Bernie Sanders, except for with a picture of Multnomah Falls, to which I commented with some facts about how close it is to Portland (and how crowded – I think she’d thought it was off in the remote wilderness somewhere. SHe is in fact one of the three people who are part of the reason I voted for Hilary Clinton, because their incessant Bernie posts left me feeling bruised and bullied. (I did have some better reasons for my vote, as well – but I do tend to be recalcitrant when I feel like I’m being coerced.)

Interestingly since she hasn’t commented on any of my posts so far in all of 2016 – I don’t keep track and hadn’t noticed (and don’t really care), just went back and looked out of curiosity. Apparently this has been festering for a while, because when I commented on that she told me she’d stopped Liking my posts because I didn’t Like hers “even though it’s not tit for tat” and now doesn’t get shown them. I think I like my method of regarding these things better, which is to be grateful for comments and attention I get, and assume the ones I don’t get are because people are off being busy doing other things.

I would ignore the whole thing if I didn’t care about her, but I do like this person, or I did once, and I think I would like her now if only she’d shut up about Bernie. But literally all I know about who she is now is her city, her job, her Presidential candidate, that she’s close to her brother (another person who turned off the Bern for me) and that her mom died two years ago. And that apparently she views Facebook as a counting system you can use to determine who really cares about you. But she is not, currently, a friend. She is a Facebook friend, and despite their coopting the f-word, the two are not the same. I actually have a really easy way to tell, when it comes to Philadelphia people: when my dad died, two years ago, my actual friends were the people who showed up at the funeral or when we were sitting shiva, or who at least called/IMed/emailed to say they couldn’t make it but were thinking of us.

I am irritated, and I refuse to feel guilty.

Anyway, I ended up sending the following note last night, on the theory that if I didn’t say something she’d just continue to get madder at me for not responding. No comment so far; I don’t know if I’ve done more harm than good.

“I’ve been thinking about how to respond to this – because if I don’t, the same thing will happen again down the line. I think you and I must use FaceBook in very different ways. I don’t consider it a test or a metric for how much someone likes me or vice versa – some of the people I care about most aren’t even on FB, or are on rarely, and there are people who comment on my stuff whom I barely know (as well as some I’ve come to know and like just from conversations we’ve had on FB). I like having conversations, but when someone “scatters breadcrumbs” in a public post, I don’t feel obliged to pick them up. On the other hand, if you want to talk to me, I’d be happy to talk to you – by phone, by Skype, by old fashioned letter, by email, by IM, or in FB messages like this. We were good friends back in about junior high, but we don’t even really know each other now – I know who you’re voting for, but not what you like to do for fun, what you like to read or watch, how you think or feel (aside from mad at me right now). I do know I liked you as a kid, and I bet I’d like you as an adult if I knew you better. And then you’ll know because I tell you or show it, not by how many posts here I respond to.”