Social media may be great for a lot of reasons, but there is one thing that I can’t forgive it for: making it so easy – too easy – for us to take the easy way out of matters that we need to face. This is a pattern which I’m increasingly becoming aware of and I think it needs to be talked about.
Before social media, we were faced to deal with our issues directly, even if it would now be considered ‘the hard way’. Before social media, you relied on speaking to someone face-to-face and this was the way to resolve problems and issues. These days, it seems to be all through online conversations, whether that be on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and even WhatsApp. Even though these apps all serve their purpose in terms of making it easy for us to communicate with each other, one thing that they all have in common is an ‘unfriend’ button and a ‘block’ button. The purpose of this is to quickly and effectively remove someone from your chat conversations, but also seems to be a metaphor for removing them from your life. I know this sounds all too cynical, but I do believe that the purpose of these kinds of buttons are changing and mean something else these days to what their original purpose was.
There has been too many times when I have been on the receiving end of someone hitting the ‘unfriend’ or ‘block’ button because they saw the easy way out and decided to take it. How could we not take advantage of such an easy solution to our problems, when it’s only a click away? Why would we go to all the trouble of sticking it out, choosing the hard way, when these buttons are so easily within our reach and saves us time and energy, as well as giving us an easy way out of something/someone we don’t wish to deal with anymore? Let me ask you this: when did it become so hard – too hard – to simply communicate this with the person before deciding to press such a button. When did we get too lazy to keep the other person informed with our decision, out of respect?
I want to give you an example: I have been talking to someone for a couple of weeks now. We met up less than a week ago and everything went fine. He left my house saying that he hoped to see me again soon and I smiled and gave him a hug as he left. Only twenty minutes later, he sent me a message on Snapchat saying that he hoped I’d had a lovely time with him. What a lovely message to receive from a guy after seeing him for the first time, right? That’s what I thought, too. Now fast forward nearly a week later. I haven’t heard from him in a few days so I message him on Snapchat. It’s only then that I realise he’s having doubts about me, and so I do my best to talk it through with him and reassure him as much as I can in an honest way. He tells me that he has a friend coming over soon, so I ask him politely if he can make time to talk about this with me because it’s important. He agrees and says we can talk about it later on this afternoon.
However, only an hour later, I go on Snapchat to find that he’s blocked me and I have no way of talking to him anymore, let alone having the conversation with him that needed to be had. I can only assume that this was him deciding to take the easy way out, simply because he did not want to have that conversation with me. Hence, it was easier to block me altogether than to tell me himself that he didn’t want to ever talk about it. Bear in mind that this was someone previously told me that they felt a connection, and we did talk about seeing each other again and things that might happen in the future with us, things that we were planning on doing together and that sort of thing.
I used to think that blocking someone on social media was a result of unwanted harassment, verbal abuse, that sort of thing. But now I feel like the block button has a whole new meaning, and it turns out it can be used for something as simple as getting out of a conversation with someone. You can disagree with me on this if you want, by all means, but the only way I can see this is that it is extremely cowardly and lazy of the person. This is when I know that I’m dealing with someone who would rather take the easy way out than to do the right thing. This is someone who would rather press that block button, no matter how unjustified it is, than do the right thing.
I’ve seen this kind of behaviour time and time again from various different people who take advantage of social media in this way: to solve their problems, to get rid of their problems and to give themselves an easy way out. I don’t believe that this is the purpose of social media, and to be honest it saddens me that it has become a way for us to do this. If this is what people are using these features for, it’s only teaching us to run away from hard matters and problems that we’re facing. It’s teaching us that it’s better and more effective to take the easy way out simply because it’s being offered to us, than sticking out the hard times and finding out what solution, or conclusion, you might come to on your own. Personally I find it quite hard to see how this benefits us in the long run, how this kind of thinking helps us grow and learn, develop existing relationships and to keep an open mind.
Would you believe it if I also told you that the person I was seeing for a year (before this latest incident happened), ended things between us by blocking me on WhatsApp? Do you see what I’m getting at here? It seems completely unjustified when you think about a relationship with you have someone, history that you have with someone, an emotional attachment that you’ve grown to associate with someone close to you, and yet still a click of a button called ‘block’ can be the thing that separates you for good, regardless of how uncalled for it is given the situation and context.
Maybe I’m being biased because I’ve never blocked anyone for this reason and I’ve only ever been on the receiving end. Maybe I just don’t understand what it’s like from their point of view or what lead them to do this rather than to simply communicate. But, the thing is, I don’t want to know, because I’m not the kind of person that does take the easy out. I’m not the kind of person who is too lazy to communicate or to do the right thing, and I hope to God that that never changes. People might let you down and disappoint you with their actions and decisions, but that doesn’t mean that we have to resort to the same behaviour and ultimately sink to their level. I like to think and believe that I’m better than that because I know better than that. What about you?
Lucy Rebecca x