Kindly Unfriend Me to My Face

Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by Riaz Patel

About a week ago I was "unfriended" by someone on Facebook. Since then, I have spent many nights wandering around my kitchen at 3 am. And as I poured yet another bowl of cereal by the light of the refrigerator, I asked myself: was I a truly good person? If so, why was I so easily disposable? Perhaps I was completely unaware of aspects of myself that are deeply objectionable to those who know me.

To be clear, I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook. In fact, I often forget to look at it for days on end. Which is all to say, the “minus one” in the Friend tally wasn't an ego hit. It was a heart-directed strike.

Because this wasn’t just a friend on Facebook. This was an actual Friend. Capital “F.” For well over a decade.

We’d met through work ages ago and had immediately taken a profound liking to one another. And as we built our careers, we’d always make it a point to celebrate our successes together as well as offer support during those times when Hollywood can leave you flat on your back and feeling alone. Since 2011 we’d regularly volunteered side-by-side at a domestic violence shelter and those experiences, in particular, became the basis of an even deeper friendship. We were so close, in fact, that as recently as this past May she was the “you-just-brought-your-baby-home-and-I-can’t-wait-to-meet-her-so-I’m-heading-over” kind of friend. I’m actually looking at the photo as I type.

So when that kind of friend decides they don’t even want to passively see or hear about your existence, it definitely stings.

In hindsight, I have to say I appreciate the sensitivity built into the overall design of Facebook that it does not announce or highlight each time a person drops you from their world of awareness. It saves us all a lot of exactly this particular brand of pain. So how did I know I had been disposed of, you may ask?

By fate. I happened to run into a mutual friend at a party last week. And we had spent hours chatting before she felt quite comfortable enough to ask about the "blow-up." Whatever argument had erupted between the two of us, she hypothesized, must have been fiery enough to incinerate a friendship of that many years. As she spoke her eyes were brimming with truly empathic tears as she noted that these were dark days, indeed.

My eyes, in contrast, were as wide as dinner plates as I asked what on earth she was talking about. The friend she was referring to and I had just texted a few weeks prior, I stammered as I fumbled for my phone to show her the actual last exchange. The very last word being “Adorableness!” referring to a recent photo of my daughter. There had to be some misunderstanding.

So, I checked my Friend list on Facebook right then and there: Gone. I checked the other forms of social media we had used for years to follow one another in our busy lives: no trace of her. I was stunned. I remember feeling very sick, very quickly.

She had vanished from my life. Why?

I came to find out it was because I was talking to someone from waaaay over on the "other side." A new friend named "Glenn."

Someone she thinks she knows from his reputation in media. Someone whose value system she thinks is flawed. And someone whom she thinks believes in things that she doesn’t.

But here’s what is so strange: she never asked me if I agreed with these so-called “beliefs” of his. She never even asked me to discuss the thing, in particular, that so bothered her. And here’s the kicking-est kicker off all: I don’t even know what the “thing” was.

Why? Because she never told me. She just silently opted out of my life and I was only just accidentally finding out.

Think for a minute if there existed a type of magical scale that could somehow accurately measure the weight and importance of all the experiences we have in life. On one side of that scale, I would put all the weddings, birthdays, game nights, work successes, inspirational conversations that I had shared with this friend of mine, including the time we had spent with one another’s children. I would happily watch the scales tip heavily and fully to that one side in celebration of all that we had shared together in our common history as friends.

And then I would watch --- in shock, horror and disbelief --- as all that was reversed, and the scales shifted decidedly and definitely in the opposite direction because of the weight of one silent disagreement, the specifics of which I will never know because she never offered me the dignity of a conversation.

As a result, I have spent night after night down a rabbit hole of self-doubt because one of my dearest friends didn’t think me worthy of a little guidance in understanding something about which she obviously felt so strongly. Fueled by Raisin Bran and worry, I have been flinging metaphorical fistfuls of hay in the air, searching all over for that pesky “needle” of a mistake I may have made. Five cereal boxes down, and I still don’t have an answer.

So why write this piece about a friendship that no longer exists and about a question to which I may never know the answer? Since I have been cut out of her life entirely --- as have almost all of our common friends --- it’s not because I harbor hopes of her one day reading this. In fact, I’m not writing it for her, at all. Here’s to whom I am writing it:

  • Anyone who has done the same on Facebook
  • Anyone whose recent Superbowl party had similar absences
  • Anyone who has been avoiding “that cousin” at Thanksgiving
  • Anyone mourning a time when personal relationships weren’t "collateral damage" in elections and politics

 

Because the worst feeling of all was that, in her eyes --- eyes that have seen me for a decade --- I wasn’t even worthy of a teachable moment. So here’s what I believe with all my heart and why I am writing this:

Whether you are a Trump-voting coal miner in Charleston, WV (where I lived as a baby) or a newly-energized liberal activist in Los Angeles (where I live now) I believe everyone deserves the opportunity and the dignity to teach and be taught. A moment to say: “This is what you may not know about my life. This is what I’d like you to understand.”

And all the person on the other side has to say is... absolutely nothing. To try not to focus on what they are saying, but the way they are saying it. are they saying it? Are they hurt? Or angry? Do they feel powerless? Or afraid? If so, about what? Those should be your follow-up questions, not the legitimacy of their "Alternative Facts." We need to dignify one another’s humanity enough to humble ourselves and actually have the conversations, even if they are uncomfortable.

I’m not saying look away from politics and all that matter to you and your family --- but I am saying don’t forget to also look toward those who are standing right next to you and what matters to their family.

I believe dark days can and will turn into pitch black nights when they lose any light of hope. But as bad as things seems now --- like that painful feeling of having lost an old friend --- they cannot get worse if we simply do not let them.

Eric Weinstein, managing director of investment firm Thiel Capital and host of "The Portal" podcast, is not a conservative, but he says conservative and center-right-affiliated media are the only ones who will still allow oppositional voices.

On "The Glenn Beck Podcast" this week, Eric told Glenn that the center-left media, which "controls the official version of events for the country," once welcomed him, but that all changed about eight years ago when they started avoiding any kind of criticism by branding those who disagree with them as "alt-right, far-right, neo-Nazi, etc.," even if they are coming from the left side of the aisle. But their efforts to discredit critical opinions don't stop there. According to Eric, there is a strategy being employed to destroy our national culture and make sure Americans with opposing views do not come together.

"We're trifling with the disillusionment of our national culture. And our national culture is what animates the country. If we lose the culture, the documents will not save us," Eric said. "I have a very strongly strategic perspective, which is that you save things up for an emergency. Well, we're there now."

In the clip below, Eric explains why, after many requests over the last few years, he finally agreed to this podcast.

Don't miss the full interview with Eric Weinstein here.

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Glenn Beck: Why MLK's pledge of NONVIOLENCE is the key to saving America

Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Listen to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s pledge of nonviolence and really let it sink in: "Remember always that the nonviolent movement seeks justice and reconciliation — not victory."

On the radio program, Glenn Beck shared King's "ten commandments" of nonviolence and the meaning behind the powerful words you may never have noticed before.

"People will say nonviolent resistance is a method of cowards. It is not. It takes more courage to stand there when people are threatening you," Glenn said. "You're not necessarily the one who is going to win. You may lose. But you are standing up with courage for the ideas that you espouse. And the minute you engage in the kind of activity that the other side is engaging in, you discredit the movement. You discredit everything we believe in."

Take MLK's words to heart, America. We must stand with courage, nonviolently, with love for all, and strive for peace and rule of law, not "winning."

Watch the video below for more:

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Conservatives are between a rock and a hard place with Section 230 and Big Tech censorship. We don't want more government regulation, but have we moved beyond the ability of Section 230 reforms to rein in Big Tech's rising power?

Rachel Bovard, Conservative Partnership Institute's senior director of policy, joined the Glenn Beck radio program to give her thoughts and propose a possibly bipartisan alternative: enforcing our existing antitrust laws.

Watch the video below:

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Dan Bongino, host of The Dan Bongino Show, is an investor in Parler — the social media platform that actually believes in free speech. Parler was attacked by Big Tech — namely Amazon, Apple, and Google — earlier this week, but Bongino says the company isn't giving up without a fight. In fact, he says, he's willing to go bankrupt over this one.

Dan joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to detail what he calls a "smear" campaign behind the scenes, and how he believes we can move forward from Big Tech's control.

"You have no idea how bad this was behind the scenes," Dan told Glenn. "I know you're probably thinking ... well, how much worse can the attack on Parler have gotten than three trillion-dollar companies — Amazon, Apple, and Google — all seemingly coordinated to remove your business from the face of the Earth? Well, behind the scenes, it's even worse. I mean, there are smear campaigns, pressure campaigns ... lawyers, bankers, everyone, to get this company ... wiped from the face of the earth. It's incredible."

Dan emphasized that he would not give up without a fight, because what's he's really fighting for is the right to free speech for all Americans, regardless of their political opinions, without fear of being banned, blacklisted, or losing jobs and businesses.

"I will go bankrupt. I will go absolutely destitute before I let this go," he said. "I have had some very scary moments in my life and they put horse blinders on me. I know what matters now. It's not money. It's not houses. It's none of that crap. It's this: the ability to exist in a free country, where you can express your ideas freely."

Watch the video below to hear more from Dan:

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