Have you ever spent a half hour reading alll the comments on a sensitive issue status? (religion, politics, and whether you eat at McDonald’s are favorite ones) Yeah, me too. You get up and walk away feeling spent, even if you never left a comment or so much as ‘liked’ anything. But that drama still gets you, doesn’t it?
Here’s a few things I think make for a better Facebook friend:
1. Be Happy! I don’t know about you, but it makes me weary to be around people who are always a little grumpy. They had a bad night, their keys were lost, the mailman was late, the cat sneezed on them…you name it. I do want to hear that you were in a car crash yesterday, I mean, if you didn’t tell me on FB, I would likely never find out! But everyone gets tired of hearing every. little. annoyance. you had in your day.
2. Be Kind. You really have to be careful here. It is so easy to let a little unkindness creep into our FB status updates, and especially our comments. That snarky comment or veiled criticism? Not necessary! My personal rule is to try to only say things that I would say in person. Yes, sometimes I am snarky and yes, I like a good debate. (in person and online. I am really trying to work on this area – most times my snarky comments in real life are not cool. ) But if you would be a bit uncomfortable saying it in person, then please reconsider saying it on Facebook. Remember that the very impersonal nature of the internet makes everything more intense, because the other person cannot read your body language, or hear your tone of voice. (emoticons help with this! )
3. Walk away. You’ve probably heard the saying: “You don’t have to join every party you’re invited to.” And I don’t just mean the ones you are ‘literally’ invited too, either. I mean that glaring wrong, that unbelievable opinion, that irritating remark that your friend wrote. (your friend! Surely she knows better than that!! How can she actually believe that stuff? Doesn’t she know the truth?!) Yes, I have attended many more ‘parties’ than I ever should have. I regret so many things I have spewed out in frustration. Just keep scrolling, my friend. It’s not worth the anger, misunderstandings, and strained friendship to participate.
4. Stay awhile! On the other hand – if there is a civil discussion going on, you can calmly and kindly put forth your conflicting point of view. Most people enjoy a good discussion, as long as no one turns it into a soapbox or ugly rant. I personally really enjoy hearing differing opinions on various topics, but I rarely ask for them. Mainly because I really don’t want to start the flaming and ranting. (I have inadvertently started controversial discussions – usually by accident! Who knew the that advising a happy, cheerful relationship with your husband could cause such furor?! ) Point is, just be kind. Practice the Golden rule.
5. Encourage. I saved my favorite for last! I love, love, love when I open Facebook, and there is an encouraging status update. Yay! I can use all the encouragement I can get. I am sure others feel the same. When someone posts a Bible verse, a happy story, or a word of encouragement – I want to pull up a chair and stay awhile!
I enjoy the small trivia about your day. I enjoy hearing you praise your children. I smile when I see ‘mushy’ love statuses. I enjoy pictures of your cup of coffee or the sunset. I want to see that awesome grade you worked hard for. And I really want to see the latest picture of your sleeping baby! These are bits and pieces of your life… this is why I am on social media – to be social! So keep posting funny quotes, tear-jerking songs, and probing questions. Just be kind. Please be kind. To everyone – but especially that person you disagree with.