Back when we were starting our adoption fundraiser over the summer, we were trying to figure out a way to stay organized with all of the donations coming in. Dustin created an Excel spreadsheet where we could plug in people’s names, donation amount, and how many puzzle pieces they got. We failed to include a column for whether or not we had written a thank you note to them. Stupid us. We started writing thank you emails and notes and it got a little chaotic. We were constantly asking each other, “Have you written these people a thank you yet?” or “Are you writing them or am I?” I’m sure there are some folks out there who received multiple thank you notes from us. I mean we’re just REALLY thankful. Or bad at creating Excel spreadsheets. It’s whatever.
One morning, we were both at work and a texting conversation happened that was one of the most frustrating ones ever. We could not communicate what we needed to and neither of us was understanding what the other was saying. In essence we were arguing about thank you notes, who was writing who, why we hadn’t written them already, and adding a column to that said spreadsheet where we could note if they had received a thank you from us. Dustin thought I was at home and had access to a stack of notes we had already written. I wasn’t but assumed he knew I was at work. You know these kind of conversations or is it just us?
We got it resolved and Dustin texted me this:
I laughed out loud when I read it. I laughed throughout the morning when I thought about it. I could just picture Dustin saying it and I genuinely thought it was a funny text message. I laughed at the struggle of communicating through text messaging. I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t even frustrated by the end of it all. I just thought it was funny.
Then I did something that I don’t normally do. I posted the above picture on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the caption, “Sometimes it’s just a struggle.” I didn’t ask Dustin if it was okay to post it because I didn’t think it was a big deal. I thought it was funny and I knew other people would think it was funny, too. My motivation wasn’t to make him look bad. We were both a part of the conversation that made it a struggle. My intentions were just to post something real life and funny. That’s it. The picture was posted out of context but seriously who can summarize the above story in less than 140 characters?
You want to know what happened next? I got a lot of “likes” on Instagram and Facebook. I felt confirmed in what I had put out there for the world to see. People thought it was funny just like I thought they would. I win, right?
Wrong. I got home and Dustin expressed that he was PISSED I had posted that on social media. I was genuinely caught off guard. IT. WAS. FUNNY. However, to Dustin the picture was posted out of context, it was about him, it was something he had said, and he felt like it made him look bad. I hadn’t asked if it was okay to post that and it hurt him to be scrolling through social media and see that posted there unbeknownst to him. He didn’t want to publicize that argument. Period.
Did I fully understand where he was coming from? No. Did he fully understand where I was coming from? Not really. Did we eventually work it out and everything was okay? Yes.
Looking back I should have just deleted the picture when he told me he didn’t want it on social media. Or I should have clarified the picture and put it in context. I should have done something but I didn’t. I chose to let my pride win. I chose to let “likes” on social media win. I chose to justify and make my point over letting it go. I chose social media over my husband and that makes me sad.
Ever since then I’ve tried really hard to be careful what I put on social media. About my husband, my marriage, what I’m doing, what’s going on, about my job, etc. I don’t want to put a picture out there with me and a group of friends hanging out because I know there are people who were not invited to said hang out. And let’s get real, that sucks to be scrolling through social media and find you were the one not invited. I don’t want to put quotes from students because I didn’t ask them and it’s a part of their “story” I’m telling. I don’t want to put something out there that could jeopardize my marriage or my relationship with my husband. I don’t want to put something out there that could jeopardize my relationship with my friends.
Can we make a pact to think before we post things? Whether it’s a picture, a status, or a blog post. Whether it’s about just you or it involves other people. Whether you think it’s harmless or not. Whether it’s posted in context or out of context. Whether it’s posted to hurt or to tell a story. Just think. Social media can be a great tool or it can be really hurtful. You can get “likes” or you can keep relationships. What are you going to choose?
P.S. Dustin doesn’t know I’m posting this.
P.S.S. KIDDING. 🙂