The sting of rejection

No, I’m not going to write about some romantic rejection.  Those do suck, undeniably, but there’s little I could say that isn’t already better said by an 18th-century poet.  And, I seem to be doing well enough on that front recently that I’m not currently in the grip of any particular anguish.

Although, man, I probably just jinxed myself really hard by writing that.

Instead, I’m writing about a more culturally-recent, and somewhat more impersonal, kind of rejection.  I’m sure my regular readers (all… 37 of you.  Actually, that’s more than I expected.  How the hell did so many people find out about this web-log and decide to read it frequently?) will remember that I recently decided to keep current with my Facebook account.  And, I’ve been good about it.  I almost missed an event invitation just a few days ago, but I caught it (and attended, and was happy I did) because I now check every few days.  Also, someone text-messaged me and asked if I were going, but in theory I’d have seen it on Facebook too.

So, I’m (more than before, at least) up-to-speed on my Facebook account.  And, when I ran into someone the other day, and she asked about a mutual acquaintance, I told her that I didn’t know how he was doing but I’d ask him and say hi for her.  Since I’m now diligently(-ish) using Facebook, I thought I’d check up on him and maybe send a quick salutation and see what he was up to.

But… we’re not Facebook friends any more.

I was a little uncertain how to feel when I realised that.  He and I weren’t tight by any stretch, but I always thought he was a cool guy, and we share a couple of people who are important to both of us.  So, knowing that at some point he made the decision to un-friend me felt a little weird, especially when he’s still “friends” with plenty of people I know he doesn’t keep in touch with (one of whom asked me about him in the first place, assuming I knew him better than she did).

My first thought, of course, was to feel rejected.  To be honest that hasn’t quite gone away yet.  But, I quickly moved into something more like a combination of curiosity and worry.  He must have un-friended me for a reason.  So, what did I do?  I don’t deluge Facebook with updates or links or anything like that (in fact, he must have un-friended me at a time when I had no presence at all), so he wasn’t just getting off a spam list.  I’m at a loss about what I could have done to alienate him, especially given how little contact we had in the first place.

Of course, now I’m concerned that I did or said something to unknowingly offend this person whom I was reasonably (although fairly casually) fond of.  Did I say something impossibly stupid when we last  spoke?  I don’t think I was drunk the most recent time I saw him, but of course I’m capable of being an idiot at any level of sobriety.  Did a drama bomb go off somewhere out there of which I remain totally unaware?  Given the qualities of our common social circles, I suppose that’s possible.  Maybe I said I’d do something important for him and then totally forgot?  I can’t imagine what it could have been, though.  It definitely bothers me that I might have somehow been a king jerk without realising.

I can’t ask him though.  If he were open to communication with me, we’d still be friends on Facebook.  And, asking other people about his private decision seems inappropriate too.

So, I suppose I just need to let it go.  Objectively, I realise that “friend” status on a social-networking website isn’t the most important thing in the world.  It’s not as though I like this person any less for the rejection, and if anything I’ll probably be distressingly nice if I see him, in an effort to mitigate the enormous injustice that my paranoid imagination tells me I must have inflicted on him.  I just remind myself that there’s really nothing I can do about it.

This is the whole reason I sometimes avoid Facebook in the first place: I’m not thick-skinned enough for vague and distant social interactions.  Too often you’re not given enough information, and if your head isn’t in an optimistic place it’s very easy to assume the worst.

But, if I have to use Facebook to avoid being a hermit, I suppose it’s not such a terrible thing that it forces me to toughen up a little.  I doubt this kind of networking is going to go away any time soon.

I just need to get over the insecurity that everyone seems to have more friends than I do.

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