Karma, Leave Me Alone

One afternoon, I see a woman at the my son’s fun run who I haven’t seen in years. We were quite close back in the day, but since a thingthatIwontgointo, we’ve only spoken once or twice on Facebook.  One of those Facebook times cleared the air and I still care about her, but I am so stressed about E’s first race that the prospect of starting a strained conversation is too much for my anxious self.  Instead, I focus on my son and pretend I don’t see her.

The next morning, I awaken to a Twitter conversation between me and two other people.  I join in, and while chatting, I click on one of the tweeters’ profiles only to find she recently unfollowed me. I scroll through our current conversation, and after double-checking that she is not the person who mentioned me in the first place, I immediately unfollow her. And since my unfollow is also saving face for her I shout at my iPhone YOU’RE WELCOME and go on with my day. And by “go on with my day” I mean “unfollow anyone else who hurts my feelings for the next five hours.”

I finally log off Twitter and within five minutes of leaving my house, I run into an acquaintance. This particular person has given me a very odd vibe on and off for years, but I recently decided it’s all in my head, and I’m excited for a chance to prove it to myself. So I smile at him and say, Hi. How are you? He, in turn, barely answers or makes eye contact, and he most certainly does not ask how I am doing although I’m pretty sure I would’ve answered by yelling: SOMEWHERE BETWEEN WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM, DUDE, AND OH MY GAWD, WHY DON’T YOU LIKE ME?

After obsessing over every detail of my day for a while, I conclude that I must reach out to my friend who I ignored at the race. I must right my karmic wrong.

I dash over to my computer thinking: I’ll send her a Facebook message congratulating her on her run and apologizing for not saying hello!

Except I can’t.

Because she unfriended me.

Karma sucks.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

21 thoughts to “Karma, Leave Me Alone”

  1. It’s hard enough to navigate social interactions in person. Social media makes it all even more confusing and frustrating. I’m so glad that I never started using the facebook.

  2. i’m so glad i never have to see most of the people who live in my computer.

    did i just say that?

    well, i think i just proved how antisocial i really am.

  3. Lord knows I’ve done the similar things. I’ve lost friendships over it. If i don’t talk to someone for awhile I feel guilty and then just shutdown. Those who have stuck by me understand how I tend to retreat into myself for periods of time but keep pushing in until I open up again. But they’ve stuck by me through it because I’ve told them about it.

    I say that you look up her email address in her facebook profile and send her a link to this post. She probably felt the same way you did but didn’t understand what was going on. I bet you’d be surprised at the outcome…

  4. Here’s my issue. If she KNOWS that you ignored her and that’s why she has unfriended you, isn’t she just as wrong for not coming up to you at the race and saying hello? Wasn’t she doing the same thing? If she thinks she was waiting for you to say hello, how in the world can she assume you ignored her?
    She sounds absolutely ridiculous. We need a category on Facebook for “Absolutely Ridiculous People”.

    1. I do need that category because I have someone else in mind who would be PERFECT.

      The only other possibility I just thought of (which actually lets me off the hook completely) is that she unfriended me before the race and I hadn’t noticed. Of course, it doesn’t explain the 2 other awkward incidents I was forced to endure — unless my karmic retribution goes further back in which case, I’m screwed.

  5. Social media is a wonderful thing—until it gives you a complex. I’ve had this happen ALL too many times. I’ve decided to stop taking Twitter unfollows personally (since I mostly tweet about my blog and Donnie Wahlberg, which I’m sure can be annoying to anyone who’s NOT obsessed with their favorite childhood boy band.) But being Facebook defriended can cut to the quick.

    BTW, did I just invent a whole series of words? I think I did.

  6. It’s really hard being socially awkward. I say this from a sympathetic place. Because I must insult 100s of people by not realizing I’m not following them. I just assume, if I’m talking to you, I MUST be following you. That’s how twitter works, right?

    I’m so dumb. And offend so many with my dumbness.

    “Glad you and I have never run into any issues like this,” KLZ says to Alex, awkwardly.

  7. I am such a people pleaser that it used to bother me when people unfriended me. I would try to figure out what post offended them and worry about it. I have had days like the one you had. It sucks. Thankfully my shrink has been trying to help me with this problem. 🙂 Social stuff is hard. No bones about it. I find it even harder now when I am not working and so I have to be the one putting myself out there.

  8. I have so many of these same problems in person. Which is the reason why I heart the internet. I can take some time to think of an appropriate response (although it doesn’t always happen the way I want it to), I can delete things, I don’t trip and fall in front of my computer screen…

  9. As I teenager I think I was pretty well versed in social interaction but now that I am an adult it scares me & I usually screw it up. This spring we moved to CA & went out a few times with an associate of my husbands & his wife. We hit it off & she & I hung out a few times, but every time we did I would leave feeling that something seemed really off with her & it made me uncomfortable. Over the summer my family came to visit so naturally her & I didn’t see each other much because I was spending it with my family. Long story short she unfriended me from FB & than txtd me & told me I should blog about my abortions. People are weird! And I also find the whole “I’m going to unfriend you” thing to be so 8th grade.

  10. I get where you’re coming from. And last I checked you can send people messages on FB even if you are not their friend. Social networks are a bizarre world where etiquette is often disregarded. People get very upset about things when they need not too. Good luck.

  11. Oh geez I hate that kind of thing! I’ll never unfollow you.

    I had 1 friend who pointed out a pic on another friend’s profile of her 6mo obviously in a front facing car seat, and she was unsure whether or not to say anything — in fact no on she told was willing to. Except me. So I did, in the nicest way I could think of (i.e. a FB message because I am a coward). No response, no response to a voicemail, nothing. Just an “I’ve been so busy!” next time I saw her and no mention of the issue at all. Yay for avoidance tactics! (And yay that they never got in an accident!)

    1. Speaking of speaking up, a good friend of mine suggested that I ask the guy who so clearly still begrudges me for an unknown reason if I’ve done something to offend him. She said that he’ll probably say no but I should still call him out on it.

      PS. I have a Twitter list called “People I Can’t Alienate” that I’m totally putting you on

  12. I’m one of those people who barely smiles or nods because I’m worried that I will seem too friendly. I have no middle ground when it comes to social interaction. I’m either bitchy or awkwardly over friendly. Either way, it alienates people. Oh well. I still have a few friends.

  13. One oddity I have noticed on Twitter on my iTouch (and it is probably the same on the iPhone) is that if you go to someone’s profile, you will see they are following you. Then if you go to their timeline and then back to their profile, it says they are not following you. Go figure?? This has caught me a couple times when I thought someone I chat to regularly has just dumped me. Anyway, check it out. I believe you use the iPhone. I often wonder how many others get caught on that one??

  14. FACEBOOK! Nothing but trouble. i think most people on my “real” Facebook account simply set it up so they do not see my status updates. Which is fine by me really.

    Now, once you join Google+, you are going to become paranoid: Which circle did this person put me into? Am I in the circle that’s labeled “NEVER SHARE”? LOL

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