A few months ago, I came across The Five Types of Moms to Unfriend on Facebook on Yahoo Parenting, and I have to say, I was disgusted. This was picked as a post popular for the quality advice it offers? You’ve got to be kidding me. It seems to me like the advice offered is that if someone annoys you, isn’t perfect, isn’t just like you, and doesn’t interest you, you drop them. Does it not count because it’s “just Facebook” and not “real life”? I don’t think so. All of life is real life. I’ve been dropped before, and guess what? It hurt. Treat people like people wherever you encounter them. Here’s another way to see these five moms:
1. The Mom Martyr: She’s exhausted, and she’s not sure that anyone cares. She’s not sure there’s any point in all the hard work she does. She’s just trying so hard to get everything right. Do you suspect she seeks validation? Then would it kill you to give her some? Can’t relate to her because your life has no demands? I doubt it, but if that’s the case, maybe you can donate some of your own free time to help her. In the same boat? How about offering some sympathy.
2. The Power Parent: You know what? Maybe it’s your own insecurity that makes you think she’s showing off. OF COURSE people take pictures of their life when it looks good. They’re not trying to pretend they have a perfect life; they just didn’t suppose you want to see their dirty socks and the finger that they cut making supper. (I have friends who post photos of their injuries; it’s not my favorite. But they’re still my friends!)
3. The Mom Bragger: “She secretly wonders if it matters at all.” Again…would it kill you to congratulate her? She’s not trying to show off; this is the big news in her life, and she’s sharing it with her supposed friends. What’s wrong with that?
4. The Mommy Mom: I’m not this mom, but you know what? I never write about the news, either. It’s not because I’m ignorant or don’t care; it’s because I find such things can be touchy or easily misunderstood, and I’d rather have those conversations in person. This mom is just excited. Is that ok? If she told you about her morning sickness in person, would you roll your eyes and say, “Go away?” Then why treat her that way online, especially when it’s so easy to just ignore the post completely. It’s not hurting you! I promise!
5. The TMI Parent: I’ll say it again: she’s just talking about what matters and is going on in her life. This one almost comes close to making a good point, though; “That’s fine, as long as your friend list contains solely loved ones who are invested in your life.” Why would it contain anyone else?
Ok, ok, we all make mistakes and friend a bridesmaid we met at a friend’s wedding or the person we hung out with once at a business conference; they’re not people you know, and it’s ok to unfriend them. Facebook also has handy and perhaps underused tools to block notifications without dropping the friend and to control exactly who sees your posts. But when I read articles like this, I can’t help but wonder what the author thinks is ok to post on Facebook. She doesn’t want you to be a martyr and say you’re having a hard time; she doesn’t want you to be a power parent and say you’re having a great time. She doesn’t want to hear about the big things going on in your life, and she doesn’t want to hear about the little things. Um…I have to be honest, the one person I might be tempted to unfriend here is the hypercritical author. But you know what? She seems to feel threatened by these 5 kinds of women, and that makes me feel sorry for her. She, sadly, doesn’t seem to have the social aptitude to realize that most of them–most of us–are not intentionally grooming an image, we’re just speaking what’s on our hearts. She doesn’t seem to have the grace to say that nobody’s perfect. She doesn’t have the wisdom to remind us that people are really individuals, not types. So maybe, just maybe, being flawed just like all the rest of us, she needs a friend, too, who will care for her anyway.
Got any ideas on how to be a better friend, even to imperfect people?