Nobody has a right to all of you.

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I recently changed the way I use Facebook. I deleted my personal account that had several thousand “friends”- most of whom I never knew in real life – and started over, this time only friending people I knew, liked and had spent time with.

I also made the decision to not friend people I like, but who primarily use social media for work announcements – I will use other ways to stay in touch with them.

My friends list went from nearly 3,000 to less than 300, and is much more manageable. Most people have been understanding.

But not everyone.

Someone unsubscribed from my newsletter the other day. When you unsubscribe, you are given the option to say why. Here is what he wrote in the box:

I had thought that we were friends until your Facebook friending showed that you do not reciprocate. I wish you well.

So many layers in just 21 words.

I could spend hours talking about the ways in which Social Media deludes us into the appearance of connection without the reality of it.

But the bigger point I want to make is this:

Nobody has a right to all of you.

I share a lot of my life and thoughts on Social Media. I have an Instagram account, open to the public. I have a Twitter feed, open to the public. I have a professional Facebook page, open to the public. I have a newsletter that goes out every week where I share very personal things.

All of that is open to him, but because he did not have access to this one part of my life I choose to reserve for people I am in actual relationship with, he got mad.

Nope, nope, nope.

You have a right to boundaries, a right to decide how much of you is available, to decide how much of your life, your time, your story, your pictures, your memories you wish to put out into the world. You get to decide how much of your life you want to share with people, and you get to decide that on a person by person and event by event, basis.

And if people do not understand that or respect that, then you get to decide they should not be in your life at all.

2 thoughts on “Nobody has a right to all of you.”

  1. I’m going through this process right now: trying to trim down my social media because it’s all too much. I feel bad for unfriending people, or not putting them in my ‘inner circle’ friends list, but really? This person from college who only comments on my posts to preach religious ideals doesn’t need to be my “friend”.

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