I can’t unfollow you.

"I can't unfollow you."

A few weeks ago I dated someone who just didn’t feel as into “dating” as I did. Instead of just saying “that’s it, we’re through” we decided to try to stay good friends, but I knew I’d need a little time to shift back in to thinking of them only as a friend. Unfortunately our online friendship made that shift quite difficult… while I was trying to keep my distance, her day to day updates were still permeating my social sites (like Twitter and Flickr). After one of her updates, in which she wrote about a cute guy she met, I flipped out. All I could wonder was what was so wrong with me that I would remain so un-dateable. Obviously I was just being a very stupid boy. Perhaps the right thing would have been to just cut off all access to this person for a while, but I have so few friends in the city that I really didn’t want to lose another. Our friendship actually began online and I was worried completely “disconnecting” would cause some sort of resentment. That’s when I wrote this tweet and started drawing the sketch above.

After one hell of an emotional collapse caused by her innocent tweet, I did finally “pull back” electronically which has unfortunately seemed to have caused resentment. It really makes me wonder if it’s just ridiculous to let what happens online affect relationships IRL or if it’s something I just need to get used to. I believe online friendships can be just as meaningful as real world ones but may sometimes be harder to navigate. I wonder if my Blue Cross plan covers web2.0 psychiatry?

The painting above was made with my cheap watercolor sets and refers to “hahlo” instead of “twitter” which tends to confuse some people. Hahlo is a site I usually use to twitter from my iPhone.


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9 responses to “I can’t unfollow you.

  1. DocPop Avatar

    Wow. I really didn't mean to type all this, my intention was just to post the image with no context. I'm going to leave it up though because I never intended my blog to just be a link blog. I've often wanted to write more personal things but worried to much about my audience, which is sort of stupid… This isn't boingboing or anything, so when the urge to write comes I should allow it take me somewhere.

    I feel much better after writing it too. Yay.

  2. m@dalton Avatar

    not that its any consolation, but i think the painting is awesome. i got the somber feeling from it well before reading the post.

  3. Addy Avatar
    Addy

    I just saw your blog post and it made me laugh then get all teary eyed.
    I'm in the same boat following a a4 year relationship.

    Oh Web 2.0.

  4. DocPop Avatar

    Thanks for the comment. I'm glad the painting got a laugh and it's nice to know I'm not the only person that's felt this way.

  5. Knifemouth Avatar
    Knifemouth

    I think your comment/art has touched many, many people. (Like it or not?) So – gratitude here. I've been lightly and slightly following you, I might do more if I had the time for things that are art/fun etc., but – sorry / thank you / it will fade, all this 'kerploozy-uh-oh-ouch,' yes?

    As one recently dumped o so hard, if I saw a Twitter about anything of that sort, I'd get reactive and the online place we all meet is now the online place we go with our reactions, yes? What are we to do?

  6. kevnull Avatar
    kevnull

    I somehow only just saw this now. It definitely resonates with me and if it's any consolation, it's difficult no matter which side of the fence you're on. In fact, experiences of my own and others lead me to set up a panel at last year's SxSW (which eventually lead to Keely's one): http://breakups20.pbwiki.com/

    Somebody really needs to write a book on it already. Or at least do a research project.

    And I'm glad you wrote/painted that. Both are awesome.

  7. Alex Avatar
    Alex

    I know where you're coming from, but a lot of people(girls in particular…like mine) don't seem to be as “dialed in” with technology, and more specifically the concept of friendship by electronic means, as others. I think there is a bit of a correlation of these sets understanding and attitudes with nerdiness and one's philosophy regarding friendship.

    That is to say that people like myself and you(I assume) view friendship as a meeting of minds, which doesn't require the component of physical presence to have a certain amount of gravity and meaningfulness, while many others seem to see a face to face friendship as more meaningful than one online.

    What I do wish that the latter group of people would appreciate is that severing an online friendship by just disconnecting has every bit of the same amount of hurt feelings and a general sense of self-blame as doing the equivilent with a face-to-face one…in my opinion the former can do more damage because a meeting of minds through electronic means is without safeguards such as watching tv or doing something that is done minus conversation because an online relationship is strictly based on conversation.

    I can relate in a sense because I had struck up a reasonably strong friendship with a dude online in the wake of a painful break up. In our early exchanges, I was always encouraging him to suck it up and put himself out there again and find a new chick, if only in a fleeting tryst sort of way. He finally got his shit together and did it and he also became more immersed in his business which was taking off in a big way and it began to seem as though he had been filling-in his need for a meaningful/insightful face-to-face friendship with a woman by having entirely online [a] friendship(s)…which is kind of creepy in a Freudian sense.

    The whole experience was extremely surreal for me because I can get “snubbed” and have “snubbed” IRL friendships and not been bothered by it remotely and generally have a very thick skin to start with anyway, but something about him severing our conduit really struck me. Since the thing happened, I have actually set out to mend IRL relationships that I severed abruptly because many people were probably effected as I was by the severing of the online variant.

    The clip in one family guy episode where an inmate gets stabbed and says something to the effect of: “OH MY GOD! This is how it feels?! I deserve to be here!” comes to mind. At least I gained an important insight from the whole thing though.

    I still am put off by the whole thing as you can tell by my lengthy ramblings.

    You're not alone though, sir.

  8. Alex Avatar
    Alex

    I know where you're coming from, but a lot of people(girls in particular…like mine) don't seem to be as “dialed in” with technology, and more specifically the concept of friendship by electronic means, as others. I think there is a bit of a correlation of these sets understanding and attitudes with nerdiness and one's philosophy regarding friendship.

    That is to say that people like myself and you(I assume) view friendship as a meeting of minds, which doesn't require the component of physical presence to have a certain amount of gravity and meaningfulness, while many others seem to see a face to face friendship as more meaningful than one online.

    What I do wish that the latter group of people would appreciate is that severing an online friendship by just disconnecting has every bit of the same amount of hurt feelings and a general sense of self-blame as doing the equivilent with a face-to-face one…in my opinion the former can do more damage because a meeting of minds through electronic means is without safeguards such as watching tv or doing something that is done minus conversation because an online relationship is strictly based on conversation.

    I can relate in a sense because I had struck up a reasonably strong friendship with a dude online in the wake of a painful break up. In our early exchanges, I was always encouraging him to suck it up and put himself out there again and find a new chick, if only in a fleeting tryst sort of way. He finally got his shit together and did it and he also became more immersed in his business which was taking off in a big way and it began to seem as though he had been filling-in his need for a meaningful/insightful face-to-face friendship with a woman by having entirely online [a] friendship(s)…which is kind of creepy in a Freudian sense.

    The whole experience was extremely surreal for me because I can get “snubbed” and have “snubbed” IRL friendships and not been bothered by it remotely and generally have a very thick skin to start with anyway, but something about him severing our conduit really struck me. Since the thing happened, I have actually set out to mend IRL relationships that I severed abruptly because many people were probably effected as I was by the severing of the online variant.

    The clip in one family guy episode where an inmate gets stabbed and says something to the effect of: “OH MY GOD! This is how it feels?! I deserve to be here!” comes to mind. At least I gained an important insight from the whole thing though.

    I still am put off by the whole thing as you can tell by my lengthy ramblings.

    You're not alone though, sir.

  9. […] since I saw the sad Keanu meme start to spread, I knew I wanted to mash it up with my "I can’t unfollow you" painting. ← “Cocaine” by the Downer Party blog comments powered by […]

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