In the real world, the concept is fairly vague. People make friends in stages and steps and the lose them in a similar manner. People move, lives change, you interact and intersect with these people less and less until you no-longer really consider them friends. However, you never formally declare that friendship over-and-done. There’s no need, it’s just understood.
Now that we have websites where we specifically list all of our friends, one by one, we have introduced the dilemma of when to remove someone as a friend. In most cases, online friend connections languish even when the friendship has long since faded away. They are the Langoliers of web friendships. Sometimes you remove someone because they were only tangentially your friend : someone you met at a party once but never talked to again, a boyfriend or girlfriend of a friend that they’ve long since broken up with, etc. But, in general, it’s not a big deal because it’s likely to not even be noticed that the connection was severed.
However, when someone has ticked you off, when they’ve been so heinous that they no longer deserve to be linked to your life there comes the decision of whether to completely cut online ties and clicking that box that sends them into the virtual trashbin. I’ve had to face the hard version of this decision twice in the past year… the second time being today.
Was ST that bad? No. We had a wonderful friendship at one point, one that I will remember as one of the most inspiring and rewarding that I’ve had in my life. It is exactly that overwhelmingly great value I discovered in that friendship that makes it so hard to let go of. But the relationship, the friendship, rapidly spiralled into oblivion in a painful torrent of miscommunication and misunderstanding that cannot undergo love’s recovery. And today it was formally declared that there’s no point in continuing a friendship between us. We are two people who have lost reciprocal faith in the other person’s actions and words being motivated by the open and honest expression of care, affection, responsibility, respect, commitment, and trust.
As silly as it sounds, it is time to unfreind ST. Isn’t it enough just to say goodbye in person? Instead, I have to click a prompt declaring that “yes, I really do want to remove this person as a friend”. Thank you, digital world, for adding another (slight) layer of complexity to our personal lives.