If You Can’t Say Anything Nice… There’s Always Facebook

(Originally posted September 29, 2010 on blogspot.)

Sometimes we just need to vent. Whether we’re exhausted Mommies, or frustrated spouses, or fed-up coworkers, or hurt sons and daughters, we just need to get things off our collective chest. So, we turn to our collective facebook page. And we update our collective status.

And inevitably, someone tries to Polyanna the crap out of the situation. “I know you’re really frustrated that your iron burned a hole through your shirt, but at least you have an iron!” At least you have a job. Or a spouse. Or a son or a daughter or a parent or a place to live.

It is inevitable. And.

It. Is. So. Annoying.

Ladies and gentlemen, no matter what Monty Python tries to tell you, it is not helpful when we always look on the bright side of life. When someone posts a venting facebook status, they are, on some level, hurting. Maybe not time-to-call-the-hotline hurting, but hurting. And when you make these accentuate the positive comments, do you know what you’re saying? You’re telling your friend that their hurt is not valid.

Now before you get all riled up, let me anticipate two of your arguments and then we can just shut this down before it starts.

1. But it’s not healthy to have all that negative energy!

Is it healthy to focus only on the negative? No. It is not. And I’m not talking about those people we all know who complain about everything. I’m talking about the majority of the healthy folk who occassionally admit to feeling something other than walking on sunshine. Because we all get frustrated and sad and angry and hurt and sometimes we need to let it out. And I would argue- with the approval of any psychiatrist worth anything- that it is pretending everything is always ok all the time that is really the unhealthy choice.

2. But you don’t understand. That person is complaining about something I want and don’t have! Of all the nerve!

Yeah, I’d feel bad for you if I hadn’t, for three years, been a woman struggling with infertility reading facebook complaints from tired mommies. And I thought “man. I really want a baby. And she’s complaining about having a baby. That seems unfair.” And I felt sad. And jealous. And angry.

Hypocritical of me to admit? Here’s the difference. I THOUGHT those things. And I FELT them. I did not, however, say them. Or, maybe I did. Maybe I posted my very own facebook status, or texted a friend, or booked an extra therapy session. But I did not and I would not comment on the status of the person who said the thing that hurt me in the first place. Because honestly. How does telling another person they have no right to hurt, or making them feel guilty over hurting make me hurt any less?

It doesn’t.

So seriously. Please think before you facebook. Otherwise, us ivy-and-near-ivy-leaguers are taking it back. *

(* I have no authority to make this threat. But it sounded cool, no?)

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