So apropos of nothing in particular, I got an email the other day. Remember email? It use to be the elephant’s ears for group communication but now it has taken a back seat to texts and FB messages and whatever else the kiddos are using these days.
Anyway…the email was about getting together for lunch and seeing old friends. Being as busy as we all are, the potential date was the better part of three months from now. Replies filed in, albeit not as quickly as they did back in the heyday of email.
For no particular reason besides wanting to reply from a keyboard instead of my phone, I waited until I was in front of a computer to chime in. The cadence had subsided. Most everyone had already responded with their availability. I replied with my response a good two days later.
Then it happened. The same thing that always seemed to happened back in the day: Someone replied to a previous email thereby burying my response.
The saying goes the first time is an accident, the second time is a coincidence and the third time is an act of war.
To be sure, I don’t think that person was doing it intentionally, at least I hope not. But it did trigger some buried memories of being accidentally dropped from email threads and other minor exclusions. I use to be part of many, many social groups each with their own clique subsets. Running groups, Church Groups, book clubs, volleyball leagues, etc. For some reason, there is always someone who doesn’t want to let everyone play in the reindeer games.
Then I saw this article. Sabotaging someone’s birthday is certainly a more vicious angle but it is the same thing: excluding someone for no good reason.
Social exclusion occurs not only with children but adults as well, especially on social media, in the neighborhoods, in schools and workplaces…We have always known that being left out of things on purpose can cause hurt.
It doesn’t matter what the technology, it has always been a thing. Dropped from email chains, threadjacking on group forums, etc. Today it’s the 500-pound gorilla in the room, aka Facebook. There are times when I’ll comment on a friends post and see another friend comment as well and think “he never comments on my posts”. I know that some of it is FB algorithms and not showing everyone everything. But it is also that I have cultivated a “friend circle” of self-centered narcissists who only think of themselves. I’ve tried to Konmari those acquaintances as best I can.
I’m lucky that my social butterfly days are behind me and I have zero fucks to give about being invited to the team lunch. However, I have two small children who will someday, sooner than later, go through the same bullshit. I have to figure out how to raise them to have enough mental toughness to ignore this as best they can, and also develop enough self-confidence to not care when it does happen.
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Filed under: What I Learned This Week