Do you call or interact with your Facebook friends outside of Facebook? Would you even know who they were if you met them on the street? Odds are, you have some friends, some family, and lots of people you don't really know either from business contacts or people who requested friendships and you obliged so you can have as many friends as possible. Egocentric? Probably. But aren't we all to some degree?

The problem with strangers

Facebook becomes a problem to the individual when you are checking how many likes and loves you get verses someone else.

Most people do this because it is human nature to want to rise to the top, but generally, you can pretty much count the amount of people who are going like or love you on your hands and feet unless it's your birthday. For some reason, people go all-out for birthdays. Even strangers. Strangers don't care about your children or grandchildren, but they do seem to care about your dogs. I don't know why dogs are more popular than children. Maybe because they don't drool or wet their pants. For the most part, anyway.

When Facebook becomes painful

During the first part of February, I decided to post my anger with Memogate. I was in the hospital and had more steroids in me than a body could take. Fortunately for me, I still get mad when I think about it so it wasn't all roidrage. I get extremely upset when Republicans square off against Democrats and vice versa. They are supposed to be working for us, not be at war with each other.

The post

I stated my feelings about releasing the memo loud and clear, and while they may have been a tad over the top, I really felt what I said.

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I wanted to see the memo and I didn't want anyone to stop its release. I will add that I also wanted to see the Democrat memo so I wasn't playing favorites. I wanted to read what went on behind closed doors even if it was biased. As Americans, we have the right to know as long as it doesn't harm our national security, and in reality, this didn't. At least no more than the email fiasco and no one complained about that.

The comments

To make a really long story short, my Release the Memo post brought a ton of anger from friends and family.

Some wanted to change my mind, point out where I was wrong, re-educate me because I was obviously ill-informed, and even shared my post with others because they perceived me to be a right-wing bigoted fool. Seriously?

The emotional toll

I was horrified and felt terrible. I had been attacked because my opinion did not agree with their idea of what was correct. I began to believe what they were telling me: that I needed to be re-educated, that I was incorrect to have thoughts contrary to theirs, and it was important that I be chastised and told the correct way to think.

Contrary opinions were not welcome if you wanted to be friends. Some were actually worried about me.

I am a libertarian and I believe in a small government that stays out of my business, but I learned right then that if you're going to post on Facebook you'd better keep it to non-confrontational issues. I am, at heart, a people pleaser and there was no way I was going to please anyone with my point of view. Still, I thought I could handle the influx of negative reactions and discovered I couldn't.

Mental health experts believe that social media outlets increase anxiety and stress. I can testify to that. I began to question everything I believed in and it took me a month to work through the angst the post created. I read what I could, talked to those I thought could help me, and eventually just had to let it go.

I also shied away from Facebook and now understand why my Republican friends do not post about political issues. It can be traumatizing and I'm not a member of the party. In researching my experience, I learned that many mental health professionals believe you should delete those people who are not part of your physical reality.

Experts even go so far as to say you should delete those people who don't agree with you. I can't go that far, because I enjoy my friends and their opinions, even if they don't agree with mine. Yes, sometimes I feel the need to re-educate a few contacts, but I have learned not to use my words to hurt people. I did it once, and regret it to this day.

However, for the record, it is good to note that when your ideas differ from the perceived norm, it is best to keep them to yourself. Otherwise, you put yourself at risk.

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