I don’t usually post things of a personal nature here, but I’ve had some recent experiences that I felt I needed to put down in words, and I figured this is the time and place.
I’ve recently had a separation from a group I belonged to for nearly ten years. For quite some time, I posted there and felt as if I was part of a community. And I was. True to myself, I didn’t take myself excessively seriously, and certainly made my share of jokes.
But this site was full of humorless people who largely took themselves far too seriously, and couldn’t handle opinions that differed from their own.
This caused problems, problems caused conflict. Three of us in particular had a particular problem with each other. We went through periods of being enemies, being friendly, and arguing about absolutely everything.
The membership, while assuring that the three of us had the most “liked” content on the entire site, also complained to site administration behind the scenes, or utilized the site’s “block” feature to sort out content that they didn’t agree with. Not something I would ever do, because I am an adult and I’m capable of disregarding someone if I want to ignore them.
Things went along this way for years, and came to a head when Philadelphia Flyers player Ivan Provorov decided that he would not support the team’s Pride Night and skipped warmups so he didn’t have to wear the special event jersey the team was wearing in support of that cause.
I expressed my displeasure with his actions. One particularly aggressive religious conservative took me to task, and insisted I was not allowed to criticize someone for their beliefs. I pointed out that if Provorov has the right to think being gay is wrong, I have the right to think he is wrong. Things escalated from there.
The other two guys I mentioned earlier were also involved in the debate. I should mention, the two of those guys attacked each other mercilessly all the time, and had previously been suspended from the site for doing so. The admin of the site, fed up with the debate, decided to ban all four of us.
As it happened, one of the other two and I talked quite a bit via email and exchanged cell numbers. The third guy, he had given the second guy his cell number previously when #2 had a tragedy in his family. So #2 started a group message between the three of us.
From adversity comes strength.
It turned out rather quickly that the three of us, who had more in common than any of us would ever have thought, really liked talking to each other. There was still some insults, jokes at each other’s expense, and so forth. But it just so happened that the two of these guys, one who I settled my issues with long ago and one I was still actively arguing with all the time, have somehow turned into two of my closest internet confidants.
In the meantime, over a month has passed since our banishment, and people at the site in question can’t seem to stop talking about us. They mention things that we referenced. They mention jokes I would have made. All the while, maintaining that we were not liked and the site is better off without us. It doesn’t appear that way to me, as having looked back through the posts since our departure, the posts are very bland and lesser in both quantity and quality.
One thing is for sure: the three of us are WAY better off without them.
There are lessons to be learned here. First, always be who you are. Those who are intelligent enough to see that will always respect it, and you’ll always wind up in the right place.
Second, when the chips are down, you always learn who was really on your side, and who was just pretending.
Third, always keep your mind open when considering who you do or do not want to spend your time with. Don’t write people off. Get to know them better. You may not even realize what friends you could have if you do.
Fourth, don’t take yourself so seriously. Have a little fun. Make dick jokes. Make weird analogies. Have a meltdown over absolutely nothing. Call people out when they do it. Just be real.
The last month has taught me an awful lot about people, and the lesson was well appreciated.