Electronic Shunning: Why I'm Unfriending My Husband On Facebook


By Lisa Earle McLeod

It’s official, I’m a loser. My daughter refuses to friend me on Facebook. Yes, I am one of the grown-ups who’s making Facebook uncool. Once the purvey of hip teens, Facebook is now mainstream and middle-aged. Obama is on Facebook, as is Oprah, and they’re both older than I am, so you’d think I’d fit right in. But alas, it would appear that the leader of the free world and the queen of talk and philanthropy possess more panache than me. Because not only does my daughter refuse to friend me, but none of her friends will accept my Internet overtures either. Teenagers who I have lovingly welcomed into my home for over a decade have turned their electronic backs on me. Apparently having a picture of your mom, or your friend’s mom, on your Facebook page is social suicide (even if it is an airbrushed publicity shot in which she has been assured that she looks almost un-mom like). Not that they’ll come right out and tell you they’re rejecting you. Oh no, they hide behind a firewall of technology and just simply ignore your request. So you send it again, and you keep wondering, did they get it? Are they mulling it over? Do I not understand how this thing works? Will I know if they choose me? It’s junior high all over again, and I’m still hoping that the cool kids will let me sit at the popular table during lunch. But the kids aren’t doing anything different than many adults. You send in a proposal or a request for a meeting, and if people aren’t interested they don’t even send you back “no thanks.” The Internet has put shunning on turbo charge. At least in junior high nobody knew how many people signed your yearbook. But now, if you allow someone access to your Facebook page, they can see exactly how many friends you have, and how many people wrote on your wall. Welcome to the new world, where the popularity contest called life is judged electronically and you can be shunned with the click of a mouse. Blogs with hit counters tell the world which head cheerleaders we should pay attention to, and which bores to ignore, while Web site rankings feel like the electronic equivalent of voting for Mr. or Miss Freshman. I send out a weekly e-mail e-zine, and if one person unsubscribes, I’m scouring my commentaries with all the insecurity of 13-year-old scanning the mirror for potential zits. However, while I may have been shunned by my daughter, and some of the cool crowd, at least I have more Facebook friends than my poor husband. I looked at his page and all his friends are geeky guys from work and middle-aged people from church. OMG. That’s it! How can I achieve cyberspace popularity when my Facebook page has me linked with a man who used to be in the math league? It’s a cold cruel cyber world out there, and if a girl wants to be popular she has to be careful about who her friends are. So sorry honey, unless you can jazz up your profile or post a picture where you don’t look quite so middle-aged, I’m going to have to un-friend you. But don’t worry sweetie, you can still Twitter me, and no one will know.

Lisa Earle McLeod is a syndicated columnist, author, keynote speaker and business consultant who specializes in helping individuals and organizations create happiness and success. Her latest book is Finding Grace When You Can’t Even Find Clean Underwear – For more info – <>

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