If nothing else good comes out of 2020, at least I know who my real friends are.

I can’t tell you how many people “unfriended” me in 2020. Whether it was over politics, covid-19, vaccinations, Black Lives Matter, Afghanistan, the Polish economy, or whatever, I offended people to the point they didn’t want me in their life anymore. Sometimes it was over someone or something I supported or didn’t support. Other times it was when I was silent, which obviously meant I disagreed with whatever the current narrative was.

Right, wrong, or indifferent, those in my life who were supposedly my “friends” showed their true selves. This happened not only online, but in real life also. While this may seem like a tragic time in my life, it really wasn’t. Those people who felt I wasn’t worthy to be in their life actually did me a favor.

I found out I was disposable as a friend.

If I had to guestimate, I’d say I lost at least 50 or so “friends”, if not closer to 75. I wasn’t really counting though (it may have been a higher number than that). Surprisingly, I don’t miss them. Much of the reason why I don’t miss them is because the only interaction I’ve had with these people in the past year was listening to them tell me how stupid I am, or allowing them to bait me into ridiculous arguments which I knew I wasn’t going to win (even when I was right). Looking back, I really didn’t need that in my life back then, and I certainly don’t need it now.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I’ll admit I actively unfriended some people too. It wasn’t so much that I disagreed with what these “friends” believe, or that I didn’t want to hear what they had to say. It was how they went about saying it. I still have friends who disagree with me now, and vice versa. That’s perfectly okay, but this is where people’s true colors showed themselves. If there was a theme to 2020, it was either, “I’m right and you’re wrong, so I don’t like you”, or, “You’re ignorant and worthless because you disagree with me.”

Surprisingly, I don’t care that people unfriended me.

I was never one to be a friend “collector” on social media. That’s what I call people who are obsessed with watching their friend count go as high as it can on sites like Facebook, Instagram, and others. These are the people who “friend” everyone online. I had a few hundred friends on Facebook, but every one of them were people I’ve had some sort of interaction with in real life. I’ve met them in person or worked with them, they were friends of friends, and so on. They weren’t just random strangers who clicked a link to be my friend. In other words, I value true friendship.

I thought my friends were friends…

In 2020 I learned real friends don’t just message you to insult you. I learned real friends actually want to talk to you, and have conversations, and share interests. I learned that real friends genuinely care about your life and well being, regardless of who you voted for or what your beliefs are. What I experienced with those who are no longer my “friend” is they didn’t do any of those things. Therefore, it’s no big loss.

There’s a difference between being opinionated (as I am) and being toxic. Toxic people make life miserable. Ridding yourself of this poison is good in many ways. You just have to be able to recognize it, and more so, actually do something about it (and be okay with it). I’m not going to change my beliefs and I’m not going to change who I am. If you don’t like me for me, so be it. I’m okay with that. I may have lost many “friends”, but I also found some new ones. So far, they seem to be the real thing.

Hopefully it stays that way.

~ Marty ~