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Getting Unfriended When You Did Everything Right

August 21, 2018

Everyone gets unfriended on occasion, right? Maybe you were a little too vocal about your position on the 2nd Amendment. Maybe people didn’t want to see “just one more post” about Star Trek Attack Wing.

The fact is, it happens. It’s an odd experience emotionally. Typically, it happens after some online flame war. With accusations thrown back and forth, ad hominem attacks, memes and more memes.

And let’s be honest, if it wasn’t for the adrenhiline rush of burning up the keyboard, most of us wouldn’t waste our time.

But, what about when you do everything right? What about when you are completely supportive. You don’t argue. You agree with the person and you still get unfriended? What is that about?

Cognitive Dissonance

It’s the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs or attitudes especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitutde change. (Yeah, I Googled it.)

Congitive dissonance is when reality doesn’t match your world view. For example, if I see a homeless person begging on the street, and then he walks into a Ferrari dealership and pays cash for a new car, those two pieces of information are really difficult for me to hold in my head at the same time.

Where it gets really touchy is when it comes to people’s belief structures. There’s a perception that Conservatives are racists. Some people honestly believe that if you are a Conservative you are racist, even if you don’t believe it yourself.

I’m a Conservative. I have at times been accused of being racist. Generally at that point in the discussion, I reveal the fact that 7 of my 13 children are black. I’m also called anti-immigrant, because all Conservatives are. 9 of my 13 children are from other countries. Generally the online conversation stops at this point. Mostly because the facts of my situation:

– Conservative
– Black children
– Immigrants

…don’t match with the other person’s world view of what constitutes a Conservative.

I had a somewhat disappointing interaction yesterday. An aquaintance I know is suing the Mormon Church. She was abused by her father for years and feels the Church covered it up. Technically, she’s suing her father, but she’s really trying to go after the church.

She’s very angry. I fully understand her anger and her frustration. And I sympathize with her. In fact, I’ve on multiple occasions offered words of encouragement.

Yesterday she posted a meme aimed at those would defend her dad (who was never brought to justice.) I commented that it’s terrible that this abuse has been going on for so long.

My friend misunderstood my comment.

You think this abuse ONLY happened in the past? It’s happening now!!

I, of course, apologize for the misunderstanding. Of course, I believe it’s happening now. I was pretty effusive in my apology.

My friend wasn’t satisfied. She asked me about the abuse that happened in my family in the past. My results were different than hers, but I acknowledged that mine was unique. And how sorry I was for the abuse that she had to endure.

Still, she wasn’t satisfied. She finally dug through my personal facebook page and found a meme that said,

“Keep calm
And Remember
You are a Mason”

This is from your page. This is why you are the way you are.

I agree. Do you see Masonry as a good thing or a bad thing?

Most Masons will tell you that they are the men they are because of the teaching of Masonry. I know it’s thought of as a secretive society that’s in league with the illuminati to take over the world. But, honestly? It’s a bunch of guys getting together talking about how to a better bunch of guys.

Anyway, anyone who is a Mason will readily admit to it.

That was enough of a condemnation for my friend. She unfriended me after that.

I, of course, considered the conversation. She kept trying to find something to dislike about me, some attitude or belief that she could seize on to condemn me. I simply refused to give her any. I wasn’t fighting with her. I was supporting her. But, that was something she couldn’t abide.

Her world view is that the Mormon church is bad. . .evil even. And everyone who willingly remains a member is either evil or naive. She needed to maintain her belief. I refused to conform to her stereotype. I created too much cognitive dissonance and she could not remain friends with me.

Several months ago I wrote about Luther and how he ghosted on me after a five year friendship. It hurt at the time. Looking back, I think it was a similar issue. I refused to conform to the stereotype that Luther had of Conservative white guys. It got to be too much and instead of addressing his own biases, he simply eliminated me from his life.

So, if you find yourself on the receiving end of an unfriend request, keep in mind that it really might be you. But, it’s not your fault.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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