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The dark side of Facebook: Feeling slighted by a friend

July 11, 2016 | By Continue Reading
A woman feels slighted when her friend ignores her Facebook posts.

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

I have a best friend that I’ve known since middle school. We’ve been friends for almost 20 years. I moved across the country a year ago. We’ve always had the type of relationship where we can go for months without talking or seeing each other and pick up where we left off.

Since I’ve moved away, I use Facebook a lot to keep family and friends back home up to date with important events and daily things. My close friend hardly ever “likes” or comments on my post. I’ve noticed this for a while and have told myself it’s not that big of a deal.

But recently I had my first child and use Facebook to share with everyone and she still rarely if ever likes or comments. It really bothers me because she is very active on Facebook and always posts pictures of her children and status and I always like and comment. She also likes and comments on our mutual friend’s, so I don’t understand why she doesn’t do it with mine.

I know since it bothers me I should talk to her about it but I feel so childish and embarrassed about it. I don’t know how to bring it up without feeling silly. I try and tell myself to just get over it (because seriously, its just Facebook for crying out loud) but when I see she’s interacted with other Facebook friends it irks me all over again. *sigh*

Signed, Kaylee

ANSWER

Hi Kaylee,

How lucky you are to have such a long-term friendship that has survived the years and also living on the other side of the country.

Please don’t use your friend’s Facebook “likes” as a barometer of your friendship. It could be that your posts don’t show up in her feed or she simply doesn’t see them.

If this friendship is important to you—and it sounds like it is—why don’t you try contacting your friend by phone or email to catch up rather than relying on Facebook posts alone? When you speak or write, you might even use the opportunity to ask her if she’s seen the pictures of your baby on Facebook? Is there any chance you would want to invite her to visit?

Yes, she has other friends but resist the urge to compare your friendship to others. The dark side of social media is when we use it to judge ourselves (and our friendships) by looking at other people’s posts.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Category: KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (23)

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  1. Tracy says:

    if we are seriously upset because someone doesn’t like our stuff on facebook, we’ve gotten in way too seriously. Don’t act on this, don’t talk to her about it. Use REAL life friendship to trump the inauthentic stuff on social media

  2. Chris Cheong says:

    Dear Kaylee,

    I have the same experience too. Talk to her instead of trying to figure out what went wrong. Good luck.

    Chris

  3. SusanB says:

    In my opinion, Facebook is mostly a negative force for relationships, friendships, families and society in general. I understand and relate to the poster’s feelings as I have felt the same negative emotions and this is one big reason I think Facebook is not a good thing. With many Facebook users having hundreds if not thousands of friends, there is no way one can keep up with the “likes” that are now required if one participates on Facebook. Many of us participate (myself reluctantly) despite the fact that it can lead to feelings of depression, sorrow and feeling left out. I participate less and less but have not deleted my account due to a feeling of obligation and fear I will be left behind socially, or FOMO (fear of missing out).

    Facebook is not real life. Facebook is a tool, nothing more and nothing less.

    Thus, one should never take it personally if a friend doesn’t “like” everything one posts. I understand the emotion as I have felt it myself, we are human. It is just impossible to keep up with all one’s “friends” on Facebook in addition to all the other demands of daily life.

    The voyeurism that Facebook involves is strange and unnatural to me. It is odd that I can witness petty arguments between people that I have no contact with in real life, or can witness the relentless bragging, posturing and begging for attention that happens on Facebook. Facebook can be a positive force occasionally but I think it tends to bring out the worst in people. Where else can you immediately determine that someone is a flat out narcissist?

    I, for one, will be happy and relieved when (hopefully) the pendulum swings back and Facebook goes the way of the dodo. 😉

    • Sandra says:

      Spot on, Susan B ! I keep reading all these articles citing studies that claim Facebook isn’t good for us, individually or as a culture. I like the way you put it: “The voyeurism that Facebook involves is strange and unnatural to me.” Exactly. More often than not, I feel like I there’s something inexplicably wrong, or downright unhealthy, about it. Whenever I have feelings that something isn’t right, I follow those instincts and back away from it, or run from it, whichever it calls for.

    • Penel says:

      I have ‘lost’ friends because of Facebook. They do not contact me because they are telling the world their little snippets on it, but never contact me anymore, even by email, unless I contact them. Or, unless they need something. That has the ‘user’ tone to it.

      Their ability to think and listen is lessening and the time they spend on Facebook means they have no more time for chats, even on email. I left Facebook very early in the scene, years ago when I took the attempts to link to people, but was rejected, That told me a lot about the clique nature of the tool in my view. I am closest to the people who are not on it, and can have conversations because they read more and use the phone to hear voices and hear the expression in people’s speaking.

      I love the internet because it opens up a wide world and knowledge and opinion base but the Face-bookers I know are locked into the immediacy of it and the manipulated news on TV. On the other hand, my half siblings use nothing! One hated email, complained about computers and use the phone only when it suited them. Even when I tried to make contact to my half-brother by email, there was no attempt to respond. But they have issues re Mum’s death and I leave them to their whinging.

      I work on a few close friendships and that is it. People are ego driven by nature and now I am a great believer in only communicating with people who are uplifting and send energy in a two-way transfer. I have given up the sappers. I am lucky too in that my hubby is my best friend.

      I like your post Susan, and all the other FB detractors. My youngest son under 30 left it years ago and uses text and talking instead.

      Thank you everyone!

  4. PeachPie says:

    I hate FB. I briefly signed up a couple of times and had immediate annoyance. The people I’d happily moved on from are the ones who found me right away. One ridiculous twit who I know and can’t stand used it to try to publicly humiliate me then played stupid when confronted. Then tons of people who know people who you know what to be your friend too, and if I wanted to be in their world, wouldn’t I be already? If I’m not on visiting or calling basis with someone, we don’t really care what each other is doing on a daily basis. And then we hear about hurt feelings over FB constantly.

    I don’t know who sees what etcetera but my guess is she just doesn’t feel that close to you anymore, which would have been just fine except that FB has shoved it into your face. It just gets too complicated for me. But good luck to you.

    • SusanB says:

      I love this, PeachPie! I love that you said you hate Facebook and you don’t mince your words. I also *really don’t care much at all for* Facebook (yep, hate it). Thank you for stating what so many people will not say or are afraid to say. 🙂 Someday I will delete my account and I will remember exactly what you said!

  5. Lucy says:

    I’ve felt this way, too. I take things to heart too much and I wish FB would just die already. I realized one day I’ve never been the “popular” type, never will be, and it’s mostly a superficial forum for bragging or bitching. I have severely cut back my involvement with it and am much better for it.

  6. mary says:

    I am guilty of this very thing. As time allows, I hop on FB for 60 seconds at a time, like one or 2 things, and hop right off. I rarely comment on anything. Thereby ignoring gobs of pictures and pieces of info that likely mean a lot to me but I don’t have time to go through my newsfeed and find them. (Also, FB “weights” what you see in your newsfeed. Posts with more likes get weighted higher and are more likely to be at the top of your newsfeed. Reverse being true: no likes or 1 like weighted less and you are likely to miss them unless you have notifications for that person enabled.)

    It doesn’t mean I don’t care about my friends. It’s a time thing for me. FB is pretty low priority to me.

    The friends that I am closest to communicate with me *outside* of FB. Good old fashioned e-mail is the best. 2nd is texting. 3rd is phone calls. 4th is skype. (FB is the very last resort for communicating with me.)

    Also, I can’t help but wonder if the letter writer’s (Kaylee’s) friend doesn’t have kids yet? Is she trying but having difficulty conceiving? In which case pictures of her friend’s baby might be bittersweet for her. Or, does she have a brood to care for that would make our heads boggle? In which case her kids are constantly competing for her attention and FB might get 10 seconds while she’s in the bathroom? Is she going through a divorce or a serious illness? Or is she happily single, busy with work and and a very active social life? We don’t know right? And does any of that even factor in to this?

    I think the answer is simply to take the friendship off FB and into real life. Please don’t judge the depth of your friendship by FB activity. That will drive you batty.

    And another thing 🙂

    I am prone to calling facebook “fakebook” because people say and do one thing on facebook and something entirely different in real life. How many times have I seen a couple argue in real life, then 30 mins later the wifey puts a glowing picture of them smiling and/or kissing and/or in some lovebird position, with a comment that oozes verbose horsefeathers about how much in love they are….yet 30 minutes earlier it was one curse word after another about what a low life scumbag the other is and screaming threats to leave the relationship. I’m not saying that is either Kaylee or her friend’s situation at all; that was just a random rant.

  7. Melissa says:

    Wow, a page right out of my book…Part of my issue is that yes, I have been friends with this woman for 30+ years now. We started out as partners, but figured out pretty quickly, that we were better off as friends. Needless to say, we were inseparable throughout our time living in CT. We both moved out of there the same year. She left 1 month previous to my move. Both different states and obvious different lives. She still works, I am on disability (which lends itself to not having work friends, etc.) whereas, she has a job, has made new friends, etc. She lives in an area that actually has life and things to do. I am not in one of those areas and it sucks. Her place is progressive and attune to all of life’s varieties. Me, here, people are backwards, racist(in my opinion) and very much not into gays/lesbians… SO, we talk, but not very much. She has made a new life for herself and I do not fit in as well as I did. We have not cut each other off, but my idea of being friends and hers has changed. I do get offended when I see she posts to her new friends and barely acknowledges me or my postings..HOWEVER, I DO get it that we are in 2 different places and have new lives…It still hurts though…

  8. Anonymous says:

    This has happened to me, too, with a very close friend who lives far away from me. I agree that it can seem petty to stress over something like Facebook ‘likes’ or comments, and Irene has some great advice over not letting something like that be a barometer for a friendship.

    In the end, at least in my case, the number of likes and comments boiled down to two different styles of communication. I like to use Facebook and enjoy scrolling through my news feed and liking and commenting posts. I am curious as to what my friends are up to and will also frequently comment or like acquaintances’ status updates.

    My friend hardly ever goes on Facebook anymore and only occasionally will comment on our mutual friends’ posts. She hardly ever likes or comments on mine but we’ll communicate a lot through private message.

    That said, there are also times when a friend might deliberately ignore your posts. This has also happened to me. They were going through a hard time in life (I found out later) and I suspect my positive news in my life might have annoyed them. I don’t know for sure, but I think they unfollowed me. This person used to frequently comment and like my stuff, but no longer. But they continued to update their own page and interact with our mutual friends. Even though I’m a little sad to not see her comment on my posts anymore, I continue to like and comment on hers, though, like I always have. It’s just my nature.

  9. Jacqueline says:

    I don’t take it personal. My own son, his girlfriend, or the woman I live with ever “Like” my posts. Since I see them in person, I would rather talk and be with them, than have them “like” everything on line.

  10. LauraSL says:

    I’ve had friends question why I don’t comment or “like.” It seemed petty. I am a frequent user, but I don’t see every post! Or sometimes I see something on the fly and don’t have time to respond to it. I would not ask her. If you want to share your pics with her, I would take the direct approach and send them to her directly in a private message. They you’ll also see if she opened your message.

    • mary says:

      I agree with all you wrote. It does come across petty. I’ve only had 1 person ever ask me directly if I saw such and such picture. “Well no, you’re on my restricted list for good reason, but when I have time I’ll check it out.”

      You said: “…but I don’t see every post!” This is so true. Who can keep up with every post in their newsfeed?

      Another thing that your post really reminded me of: if someone posts too many baby, vacation, pet, grandkid, “must find home for this dog immediately” pictures, political horse manure or recipes, then I unfollow them. Then sometime later I find out they posted that a devastating event happened (lost spouse, job, had surgery, house fire, miscarraige, tornado, etc.) and I had no idea because I unfollowed them so I don’t see their posts. Then they’re like, “How could you not know this terrible thing happened? I put it on facebook.” I feel badly when that happens.

  11. Lisa says:

    First Congratulations on the birth of your daughter. I am sorry yu are feeling hurt by your friend. 20 years, is a long time to remain friends so good for you. I know how it must hurt you. People are funny, whether we know them a long time or a short while. Sometimes people do things as a way to show us they are hurt. Maybe your friend is upset you moved so far away and can no longer see you so she is doing this to hurt you. Does your friend have your new address? If not pass it along to her. If she does, then send her a picture of your daughter and say, not sure if you saw this on FB so I wanted you to see our new baby. Then if she doesn’t answer or respond either you can reach out to her and ask her is there something that I did cause you to be distant towards me? Be kind, be sweet let her know you aren’t on the attack and see what happens. Or better yet send her a card with a picture of your daughter and tell her you miss her and maybe she could come for a visit, that your home is always open to her and her family. Don’t get yourself worked up over this. Sometimes we are better friends to our friends then they are to us, this doesn’t mean they don’t care for us.

    • Irene says:

      I loved the last line of your post.

      Sometimes we are better friends to our friends then they are to us, this doesn’t mean they don’t care for us.

      So true!

      • LauraSL says:

        Very true, but like most things you get what you put into it. I hate to use the cliche phrase, “You reap what you sow.” 🙂

        I do think if someone is so aware of FB likes, they need to find other interests.

  12. Amy F says:

    Hi Kaylee.
    I’m big on talking about issues in a relationship, but I don’t see this as an issue in your relationship as much as an issue about your insecurity and using faulty thinking to fuel that insecurity. To me, talking to your friend would be sounding needy and high maintenance. If a friend talked to me for the amount or liking I did about her posts, I’d want to run in the opposite direction because it would scream “Drama. she’s dumping her issues on me.” I want to know if I do things that inadvertently hurt someone, but I would consider this a sign of immaturity since it’s about me and my use of social media and not that friend. I might even want to unsubscribe from that person’s feed, because I don’t want to feel the pressure of knowing she’s judging our relationship on whether or not I like her posts.

    You ‘re falling into a trap of judging the quality of your friendship and your importance over artificial means, and that’s not fair to you or your friend. When you get into a trap of X means Y, your placing your friend/spouse/coworker/family and that relationship in an unfair position.

    If my friend texts me right away, it means she cares. If she doesn’t, I’m not important.
    If someone likes my post, it means they like me. If they don’t, I don’t matter.

    If you want to have friendships bases only on social media, you may lose some wonderful people who either don’t use Facebook, or don’t use it the way you want them to.

  13. Sandra Anne says:

    If it helps to know you’re not alone — let me assure you that you’re not alone. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard one of my friends share a very similar story about feeling “ignored” on Facebook. It’s so common that I’ve come to believe it’s one of the pitfalls of social media.

    Irene is right — it could be that your posts aren’t showing up in your friend’s feed, especially if she has a long list of other “friends” on Facebook. Or it could be that she assumes you two are so close that she doesn’t need to pay attention to you on Facebook — especially if you spend a lot of face time together. In the quest to be popular on Facebook, a lot of people spend undue time courting new friends and other people who actually don’t matter as much to them in person. It’s weird, and it’s childish, yes, but that’s Facebook. For that reason, a lot of people I know are taking breaks from it — and they find they feel much better, more mentally healthy, with less Facebook. Sadly, even though Facebook connects people, it also stirs twice as much trouble as we used to have with people before Facebook was invented.

    I hope you continue to spend “real time” with your dear friend, and focus on the good times you have together, not on what happens online. And if you’re really close, there would be nothing wrong with saying to her, in person: “I’ve been posting some cute photos on Facebook, and I wonder if you’ve seen them?” That would open the door to a conversation that might clear the air.

    • Patricia says:

      Great post and response. You are correct in saying that a lot of people go through this — I know I do. I find that I am most of the time. You are correct by saying that the best way to pull through this is to disconnect.
      Thanks for the feedback everyone.

      • Sandra Anne says:

        Sometimes I think Facebook brings out the inner high school kid in everyone 🙂

        • Penel says:

          Now, that is one heck of a nail to hit on the head. Love it!

        • Penel says:

          I have ‘lost’ friends because of Facebook. They do not contact me because they are telling the world their little snippets on it, but never contact me anymore, even by email, unless I contact them. Or, unless they need something. That has the ‘user’ tone to it.

          Their ability to think and listen is lessening and the time they spend on Facebook means they have no more time for chats, even on email. I left Facebook very early in the scene, years ago when I took the attempts to link to people, but was rejected, That told me a lot about the clique nature of the tool in my view. I am closest to the people who are not on it, and can have conversations because they read more and use the phone to hear voices and hear the expression in people’s speaking.

          I love the internet because it opens up a wide world and knowledge and opinion base but the Face-bookers I know are locked into the immediacy of it and the manipulated news on TV. On the other hand, my half siblings use nothing! One hated email, complained about computers and use the phone only when it suited them. Even when I tried to make contact to my half-brother by email, there was no attempt to respond. But they have issues re Mum’s death and I leave them to their whinging.

          I work on a few close friendships and that is it. People are ego driven by nature and now I am a great believer in only communicating with people who are uplifting and send energy in a two-way transfer. I have given up the sappers. I am lucky too in that my hubby is my best friend.

          I like your post Susan, and all the other FB detractors. My youngest son under 30 left it years ago and uses text and talking instead.

          Thank you everyone!

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