Ok, I’m not sure that Facebook is the root cause of the problem, but it seems that before Facebook became popular it was easier to maintain friendships with people who held differing views. These days the world seems more polarized when it comes to opinions. As people broadcast their thoughts and prejudices on Facebook, relationships can be strained and tested. For example, how long do we tolerate political messages from good friends who happen to be on the other side of a political fence? What about the people who constantly post about causes they feel deeply about, but we don’t? Since Facebook doesn’t really allow us to pick and choose the type of posts we see from friends, sometimes we make choices to terminate the relationship, on Facebook anyway. Once some people know you believe a certain way, they don’t want to be your friend anymore. I’m pretty sure I’ve been “unfriended” by people because of my Christian and conservative posts.
I’ve unfriended a few people myself. In the past I considered some of these people very good friends, but time and geographical distance changed the relationship for them. They started making rude, condescending comments about things I was posting. Instead of treating me like a friend, they treated me like someone they might argue with on a public forum. Perhaps that’s where they learned to behave that way. I chose not to tolerate it. My friends don’t have to agree with everything I say, but I expect a certain degree of respect. The Facebook environment seems to encourage people to say things online to their friends that they wouldn’t dare say to your faces.
Strangely, even friends who share very similar political and religious beliefs seem primed to want to fight. Instead of insulting me, they insult my friends, even if those friends are agreeing with me. On some of my posts I have deleted posts of friends who chose not to behave with respect. People are forgetting how to be nice.