Sunday, November 16, 2008

Facebook Demons

I edited my Facebook profile a couple of days ago, and I’m surprised at how much better I feel. I’ve written about Facebook in a previous post- I mentioned how reaching out to former classmates had little appeal to me, mainly because I didn’t have fond memories of my school days.

When I signed up for Facebook, I listed my high school, and, as I wrote previously, did so with trepidation, concerned that I might be contacted by former classmates. A few did ask to add me as friends (one erroneously, it turns out!), and now one of them occasionally posts comments on my Facebook wall.

-Disclaimer/warning to that friend- Please do not take what I’m about to write personally. Well, I guess there’s no way you couldn’t take it personally, so let me rephrase that: Please understand that I’m writing about me, not you, and about my neurosis. I mean you no ill will.

What precipitated my revising my profile was a comment this friend wrote to an update I posted about how I had managed in a meeting I attended. Her comment was along the lines of that as she had known me since I was four years old, she had no doubt that I had managed quite well, and could do so under any similar circumstances.

You may be thinking, ‘What’s the big deal? So an old friend chuckled that you don’t seem to have changed much over the years.’

It turns out that it was a bit of an issue for me. Not that I’ve actively tried to change my personality, or to escape my past, but I found it irritating that someone I’ve had little contact with in over 40 years was making assumptions about me based on childhood interactions.

I mean- FORTY years! Are our adult personalities reflections of our personalities at the age of 4 or 14? Is there no room or hope for change and growth?

Why the heck was this bothering me so much?

I turned to my husband for advice and reflection.

“It’s simple,” he said. “It’s like why I always order vanilla ice cream- it brings back fond memories. Good memories make you want to seek out the past.”

“Aha!” (Yes, I actually said, ‘aha’!). “That’s a great way of explaining that I don’t seek out old classmates because I don’t have good school memories. But why am I having issues with her comment?”

“Because it is a bit ridiculous to think that you are the same person you were when you were a kid. And it’s presumptuous for someone to assume you are.”

[Um- wait. I think those were my words. I think what he said was that he could understand that I would be irritated that someone would assume that I hadn’t changed. He never actually said that I hadn’t changed, though ……]

After mulling it over for a couple more days, I finally decided that the only way I was going to get any peace over this was to delete the reference of my high school from my profile. Now I wouldn’t have to fret over old classmates finding me in a Facebook search.

Of course, it hasn’t put to rest the issue of why I took umbrage at her comment. But that’s OK. Reflection leads to growth and change. And that’s something I embrace.

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