Some people do it frequently, but yesterday was the first time in ten years that I’ve unfriended a person on facebook. I struggled with my conscience over the prospect of breaking ties with a personal friend over a dispute on facebook, but I eventually decided it was the right thing to do. Now, that I’m having second thoughts about the way this ended, I’ve decided to write this blog post about how the dispute came about that led to my decision to unfriend a friend. I find that writing about an unpleasant experience can sometimes make me feel better. Furthermore, I hope I’ll get some constructive and informative feedback. Please do not let your opinions about poetry taint your comments.
The dispute discussed here might seem trivial and inconsequential, but it involves a matter of personal respect and ethics. Since I am presenting the case, one might argue that it will inherently be one-sided, but only a small portion of the face book conversation between me and the other person is relevant to the dispute, and I present the most relevant parts of that. If you read this article and recognize the facebook post on which it is based, I invite you to point out anything I’m writing which you believe misrepresents the essence of the dispute, but please do not identify the post or the other person.
If I recall correctly, the post received about 83 comments, including my own, and the other person entered the conversation quite late. The other person is referred to as person X, and comments by me or Person X are in quotations. Directly below is the full text of what I remember as the Person X’s first post.
“You’re consistent with your dislike of 21st century poetry. Pssst, we’ve got it. You hate modern poetry. No need to keep trying to convince us.”
Directly below is the text of the first two sentences of my response, to Person X’s comments above and nothing else in my response was directly related to his comments.
“Why do you appear to be angry because I don’t like 21st century poetry. I respect your right to enjoy all poetry and don’t mind that you appear to be an avid and outspoken supporter of poetry from this century.”.
Below is the first of the two relative excerpts from person X’s response to my comments above:
“Nothing in my observation indicates anger. Not sure how you drew that conclusion. Also, wow, nothing I’ve ever said suggests I’m an avid fan of 21st century poetry, Much less outspoken.”
Below are my responses to Person X’s comments above.
“I based my opinion that you appeared angry because of the tone of your response and your statement that , You [meaning me] hate 21st century poetry. I do not accept your statement that nothing you ever said suggests you are and avid supporter of 21st century poetry. “I based my opinion about [your support of 21st century poetry] on your many comments on face book that support 21st century poetry.”
Later in that same comment, Person X made the following statement, which led eventually to the irreconcilable dispute.
“I hope you take my corrections of your “blatantly false statements” about me as constructive.”
Below are my relative comments to Person X’s comment above.
“I find your extremely harsh statement above not to be constructive but to be a direct attack on my character. Please point out a single statement in my comments that you believe to be even an unqualified statement about you, and especially any you believe to be blatantly false.”
I sent Person X a private facebook message in which I implored him to reconsider his claims that I had made false statements about him, and he replied politely that he had said all he intended to in his previous comments.
I sent him one more face book message which is shown below, and he responded with the message which follows mine. My next to last sentence below is a reference to a country song written and recorded by Toby Keith.
“I have had words with you on facebook before, but I’ve always respected you and I’ve enjoyed your company when we came into contact. However, I have just read your last comments here, and I can only say – I wish I didn’t know certain things about you now that I didn’t know a week ago. You are the first person who has made false claims against me in a quarter of a century and you are also the first person I have unfriended on facebook in the last ten years. It is with a heavy heart that I bid you farewell and good luck.”
“Thanks, good luck to you.”