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The Bystander’s Quandary

Screen shot 2014-03-05 at 7.37.32 AM(Todays guest post comes from my friend, Honor. She’s married, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t found herself in a relationship-related pickle. Feel free to leave advice/thoughts in the comments section! Honor, the floor is yours.) 

So I’m in a quandary. I have a friend, let’s call him Mike, that I’ve known since before we could drive. He and his wife Lindsey recently got divorced, and that’s where my conundrum comes in.

While the separation and divorce were underway, Lindsey dropped out of the social media sphere for a while, just went radio silent (a tactic I heartily endorse). But a few months after the divorce was final, she reappeared with news of a professional success. Then more: typical daily life reports (went to the gym, the dog is ridiculous) as well as introspective thoughts about where her life has gone wrong and comments about her new beau. Nothing exceptional, but I still feel oddly voyeuristic seeing them.

My allegiance is clear: Mike and I have been friends forever; his ex and I tolerated each other well enough, but it’s safe to say that we never hit it off. But somehow, I’ve been overlooked in Lindsey’s ritual process of unfriending Mike’s people. And it’s awkward.

See, Lindsey unfriended my husband—who she always clearly preferred to me—and others in Mike’s inner circle*, yet I’ve been missed as part of the erasure of her past life…and my best guess is she doesn’t realize it. I’m betting that she removed me from her newsfeed long ago or that my infrequent posts render me invisible, making this whole affair all the more clandestine and creeperish.

So the quandary is: do I continue on as a lurker**, do I banish her from my feed (something I currently only do for chronic reposters of saccharine sentiment), or do I unfriend her entirely? Here’s where I’ll admit that I kind of enjoy being a fly on her Wall—after all, isn’t drama what Facebook is all about?—and her personal and professional life read a bit like an episode of Felicity from the WB’s latter days.

But I still feel uneasy at the knowledge that she probably wouldn’t want me watching. All this leads to a bigger question: in this age of relational dissolution online, how should bystanders behave?

* Full disclosure: I had Mike look over this before posting it and he says he thinks there are about a dozen folks who his ex “kept” on Facebook that overlap with his. Makes sense, as one of the ways we find friends is through our significant others, but I doubt I’d qualify in that category.

** To his credit, Mike has no opinion one way or the other. He hasn’t requested information about her status updates (and I don’t volunteer any) and says that she probably wouldn’t notice or care if I unfriended her, so I should proceed as I see fit.

One Response so far.

  1. angie says:

    Unfriend her. Save the drama for your mama.

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