By Caitlin Kelly
The spread of social media — “friends” on Facebook you’ve never met, “likes” that mean nothing when the chips are really down — has done little to define true friendship.
Like this horrifying story from The New York Times:
In early 2020, after Ava noticed Mr. Justin angling for her attention on TikTok, she learned that friends in New Jersey and Florida were selling him photos of her as well as her personal information, including her cellphone number, which Mr. Justin used to call and text her. In another instance, Mr. Justin logged onto a classmate’s school account and did math homework in exchange for information about Ava, her family said.
In what world do your friends sell your image and personal information to a stranger?
The 15-year-old girl ended up with a dead teenager on her lawn after he fired a shotgun through her front door. Awesome.
This recently hit home for me, in a less physically violent way, after — one more time! — a bitter envious stranger decided to badmouth me and try to hurt me professionally.
Using social media, of course.
Last year a “friend” on Facebook took a screenshot of something I said on my private page in real anger about an editor — and sent it to the editor, costing me a professional relationship.
I cut 200 “friends” and won’t accept any more.
There are too many days now it’s really toxic media, destructive media and why-do-we-even-bother media.
It’s sort of funny, sort of disgusting.
Only those whose own lives are small and shitty and disappointing feel the need to take down people who are visibly happy and successful, as I am.
So this latest attack, a fellow writer I even worked with years ago on a story, came after a friend of mine to discredit me by making false accusations, which I won’t detail or dignify here.
A true friend defends us, and they did.
What a coward this attacker is…and so charming to assume I couldn’t possibly have a good friend ready to stand their ground.
As I’ve said here before, I come from a family typically unable to express love, affection, support and belief in my value — as a daughter, cousin, professional. There’s been a lot of anger and name-calling and bitterness, ironic from people with a lot of their own success and a lot of money.
But the blessing it gave me?
One — self-respect!
I don’t give a shit what they think of me because they’re a dry well.
And I have tremendously loving and loyal friends, in Canada, in Europe, in Australia and New Zealand.
They have my back, if not literally, emotionally.
Because, being an ambitious and successful woman of strong opinions (OH NO!), I’ve been pissing people off since my teens.
Not with the explicit goal to piss them off, but not kowtowing to their disapproval or envy or attacks.
Women are trained from earliest childhood to smile, be nice, don’t argue, don’t bite back, suck it up, it’s “just a joke.”
So those of us who shrug and laugh at this bullshit are even more scary.
Why aren’t we scared?????
Because we have pals, and allies, who know us and love us.
I try hard to be a loyal, loving friend — sending cards and flowers and gifts, making regular phone calls, showing up when times are shitty, not just celebrating a win.
I admit, I am shaken when someone tries to take me down. Who wouldn’t be?
But, really, the best revenge is to laugh, call a true friend, and enjoy a good old chinwag.