Earlier this afternoon, I published a blog post called Finding Out a Friend Was Never a Friend at All. In that (short) post, I shared a (short) text exchange between me and a woman, who I once thought was a friend, who quickly began being horrible and vindictive when I wouldn’t freely use my platform to push hers.
Of course, the responses to that post were extremely varied. Some people said nice things about me. Some people said horrible things about her. Some people said chastising things about me. Some people started arguing with each other. I lost a couple hundred readers.
The (large) debate that ensued was exactly what I expected, if I’m being honest. And, just like I expected, it made me question whether it was the right move to share what I shared.
But, you see, I didn’t just throw that up on the blog the second it happened. That conversation happened a week ago (as you’ll see by the time stamps), and for the past seven days, I thought long and hard about whether I wanted to share it or not.
Eventually, I decided I wanted to share it for three reasons.
First, I have really been hitting a limit lately when it comes to this kind of thing. The more popular my blog seems to get, the more people close and far feel that I need to prove my friendship by helping them push their own stuff. I have had a huge wave of it the past couple months, and it’s making me want to start pushing away from everyone.
This woman’s email was just one example, and an extreme one. I’ve lost dozens of friends since starting this blog when I had to tell them no. I’ve had relatives distance themselves when I wouldn’t use my platform for their ends. I even broke things off with one woman in the past because of it. And so, I felt a need to finally share an example so that others could just kind of pull back a bit and realize how silly the “pressure to be a real friend” is.
The second reason is that my friendship with this woman is a friendship that is not worth fighting for. Did I throw her under the bus by leaving a teeny tiny thumbnail in place? Perhaps. I’ll own that, even though I don’t think it’s big enough that anyone would ever recognize her. But I felt that I had to do it at some point with someone to really demonstrate the extreme that I deal with on a constant basis even in my real friendships (which are worth fighting for).
You see, I get no fewer than two requests from friends (close or distant) each week asking me to help with their very good causes, or their new businesses, or their ___________ you fill in the blank. Sometimes a lot more. And I tell almost all of them no because, let’s face it, if I fill up all of my readers’ newsfeeds every single day with everyone else’s stuff, my readers are going to lose major interest in a hurry.
And so, I decided long ago that I had to keep my page to stuff about me, my son, my best friends, my family, my dating life, my readers, and all the funny, sad, and awesome stuff that happens to us in between. If I’m not personally tied to something, no matter how good a cause it is, I don’t generally share it. And believe me, I’m tied to lots of good, worthwhile things, so there is no shortage there.
Anyway, the final reason I decided to share it was because I have shared with you so many of my ups and downs on this blog. I have shared the good. I have shared the bad. I have shared the sad and the mad and the ugly. And I hope, throughout it all, that I have been real and always shared very real slices of my personal life with you all.
And, unfortunately, this is a very real part of my personal life. It’s a dynamic that I have to deal with almost every day. It’s something that makes blogging truly difficult and I know by now that being real about things is one of the quickest way to change those things.
And I am at a point that I need to change things. On that week of my birthday at the end of May, remember how I told you all I was just having a hard time and things were difficult for me? It was because I had had a giant wave of friends and family members demand so much from me that week and not offer anything in return. The last straw for me was when I went to help my grandma move into her 4th story apartment on my birthday, and a certain relative was just being rude, and I said something like, “hey, I’m here on my birthday, be nice,” and her very literal reply was, “your birthday doesn’t matter.”
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