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Social Networking Gone Awry

November 24, 2008

I have a confession to make. Facebook and Myspace make me feel like a teenager all over again. And NOT in a GOOD way!

High school was not a good time for me. I was not considered one of the popular girls; however I had a few friends that I (mistakenly) trusted. I was fiercely loyal and trusting, which meant that each time that one of my friends betrayed me, I was devastated. I was so glad when high school was over and I could move on. I did almost everything that I could to cut ties with every one from that time.

Fast forward to about two years ago. My husband and I both joined Myspace and Facebook so that we could keep up with the kids in our youth group. Of course that put my name out there to be found. The first person to find me was my childhood best friend whom I had not spoken to since I was 12. That was awesome! However, after that everyone that found me was a former high school classmate. I did the polite thing and allowed them to add me to their friends list and we made the typical small talk via messages. The messages eventually stopped and they stayed in my friends list almost as if my high school memories where suspended in limbo. It was not really a big deal because I had a steady stream of updates from the youth group teens to keep me occupied.

Well, since my husband has resigned from being the youth pastor, I have tried to distance myself a little from the teens so that they can bond with their new leaders. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Facebook and Myspace, they each give stories or updates about your friends. I was finding myself getting very sad when I would read about the teens, so clicked the little button beside the stories about each of the teens that says “read less about…”

Well, that meant that I was reading more about my long forgotten high school friends. And I must confess that I feel a bit like a voyeur. I would see that “Suzy” wrote on “Tim’s “ wall and although Tim is married they are engaging in what can only be called flirting. I can’t help but remember that I once dated “Tim” and it was “Suzy” that lured him away from me. I read that “Jennifer” and “Allison” are “BFFs” and remember how “Allison” used to me my BFF until when I was 17 she decided that she liked “Jennifer” better.

And here I sit, watching them engage in more juvenile behavior than the kids in our former youth group, and being glad that I have grown past that, but realizing that I am still hurt and angry from wounds caused ten plus years ago. But I am also realizing that they have either forgotten all about those incidents that hurt me or perhaps they never knew how much they had hurt me. Either way, they have probably moved on. So why haven’t I? Why does what they do still bring up the hurtful memories of the past? Why can’t I just not care about what they are doing? And why, oh why, can’t I bring myself to just delete them from my friends list?

I know that part of the process of “becoming new” is to let go of past hurts, offer forgiveness and accept forgiveness. UGH. I just don’t know how.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Snickelfritz permalink
    November 24, 2008 4:16 pm

    In order to make me feel like I was in high school MySpace would have to force me to populate my friends list with people whom I greatly dislike and who would mock my profile incessantly, and it would have to load at 14.4 baud speeds for me while other peoples’ myspace loaded at 300K rates. And it would be the only thing my browser was able to load. But I get your point.

    People used to tell me that the jerks in my high school who ruled the roost and were so mean and nasty would envy me years out, but I always thought that they were just saying that. I always assumed it was some meaningless platitude to try to make me feel better because they pitied me.

    Now, though, I see they were right! The handful of people in high school that were actually nice to me are the ones I see on facebook that have jobs, kids, seemingly good lifestyles, and have gotten the heck out of the garbage dump we called home. The ones that were nasty to me either got someone knocked up, or knocked up themself depending on their gender, out of wedlock. In some cases it was multiple times and with multiple people. Others are in jail, which I found out from looking at the state inmate search. Others just never bothered putting any effort in life and are just surviving to survive.

    Granted, this is not the case for everyone there and I don’t feel any satisfaction that the people that I disliked are now failures in life, just pity. I guess it’s true that unless you actively work on becoming more Christlike, the immature patterns of behavior you have as a teenager will follow you around for as much of your adult life as you allow it to until you finally grow up.

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