|Posted on April 20, 2012 at 9:10 AM|
"Fake friends are autumn leaves;
they are scattered everywhere."
The Facebook Dilemma
On FB, I've found myself engaging with well over a thousand people I have never met: those people we call "Facebook Friends." I enjoy the learning, the inspiration, that free classroom of the world where people of like minds and interests can come together and share enthusiasm about a common interest. For me, it's tarot and oracles.
However, I learned the hard way that there is another side to Facebook and the internet in general. It has taught me to take pause and take inventory of what I accept on my Facebook page.
After finding myself embedded quite unsuspectingly with someone who had an enthusiastic but also extremely fake persona & picture, (fake everything, everyday) on the internet (and which continued on the phone), I now find myself feeling awkward, uncomfortable, and even unsafe accepting new friend requests from people with no picture of themselves. But even a picture is no guarantee. This person did have a picture on their Facebook page...it turned out to be a picture of somebody else.
I'm not talking about stage names or professional names that are a Standard Operating Procedure in our field. I have no qualms with those. I'm talking about completely imagined personas and lives turned into a full-blown fraudulent Facebook profile, an imagined life and lifestyle, much like what was shown in the movie Catfish, a true story about a false Facebook relationship experience that was built on lies.
I'm also finding myself increasingly surprised by how many people think a fake online persona is okay, and part of some imaginary game we play that needs to be fulfilled. I sometimes wonder if we can still find authenticity on a place like Facebook.Perhaps I am a bit old fashioned. I do value honesty and authenticity.
The Internet Generation and "Friends"
Perhaps this is the turn of the new internet generation. How much do you value truth? Does authenticity matter or is Facebook an okay place for pretending? After all, the internet is the ideal place for shape-shifting. Hiding behind a keyboard, we can create any image we want and swashbuckle the world.
My situation made me stop and take pause as to the purpose of my FB page.
"Friends?" Clearly I don't have thousands of friends in my "real world." Nor would I want that many. So why do I let it happen on Facebook?
How do we define these people on the internet? Perhaps "acquaintances?" Perhaps Facebook is best used for networking and marketing where anyone can and should see and participate? But wait ... isn't that what a Fan Page should be for? My Tarot Tribe: Beyond Worlds Fan Page serves that purpose for me.
On our personal Facebook page, however, who should stay and who should go? My dear, "true" friends can be counted on one hand. I clearly don't need Facebook to engage with them.
"An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind."
It Used To Be So Easy!
What are the rules for participation in your world? It used to be easy for me. I used to accept anyone who was nice. If they're mean, they go. I just don't want to experience people-bashing in my world. Easy enough, right?
However, learning I had a relationship with a top-to-bottom phoney made me take a new inventory of what I "do and don't accept" on FB. After all, he was nice, right?
I learned that the devil wears a smile.
As did many people who have dealt with slick criminals, I'm sure.
Today, I find myself removing a few people each day simply if I find we are not interacting or that our interests don't seem to match and I don't recognize their name. Nothing personal. We just don't interact.
It's not a numbers game for me. And yet, maybe it is. Surely some of the numbers must matter if I have over a thousand who are people I never met and probably have no interest in meeting. This thought makes me look within. I admit: I am trying to reach out to the world through Facebook and internet interactions. I do want to inspire. And I do want to promote good tarot.
What Are Your Personal Limits?
Take pause for a moment.
What does it take for you to "unfriend" someone?
What are your FB limits or boundaries?
What is the purpose of FB for you?
How do you keep your space healthy and positive with unsavory fish biting on the FB friends hook?
Do you have personal limits as to what you allow?
Would you even care if someone was completely made up?
Or do you just "let it be," and "whatever goes, goes"?
What Tarot Tells Me About Facebook Friends
I pulled a tarot card from Kat Black's Golden Tarot on where this energy is right now for me regarding Facebook "friends" and what I have to learn.
The Hanged Man card arrives, a Major Arcana card, a big trump lesson of truth for me. Literally, truth. This is not the Justice card or the Judgment card, but rather taking inventory, observing and trying to figure it out -- what is real? What is good? What is authentic? What fits my ethics?
I am seeing Facebook in a new way, from a new perspective (upside-down here), trying to chew out the purpose, becoming more enlightened, hanging in suspension as I try to determine the safety and purpose of it all.This is the card of "taking pause and taking inventory."
Because he's upside-down, I am asked to see things differently. All may not be as it seems. His eyes are open. Watch and learn.
Kat Black's interpretation of her deck's Hanged Man card is particularly poignant. She writes:
"Trust that all will get what they deserve. Sacrifices may be necessary, and not all battles will be won. Some are not worth fighting, and are better off foregone. Self-control may be necessary in times ahead - you may need to bite your tongue and accept that others will get what they have coming to them, without need for you to intervene."
The sacrifice may be in the unfriending process, as some battles are not worth fighting or even observing anymore. Kat mentions self-control here, so perhaps I need to be sure I am not too heavy-handed: to watch, and not bang on the "unfriend" button in every situation. But not all battles can be won, and I can keep my world free of them should I wish to do so. But watching and waiting seems to be the energy here, to make sure all angles are observed. And then release.
Watch first, respond later.
There is nothing particularly unsafe about the Hanged Man card, although I can see him being an uncomfortable position.... Unless, that is, we turn him into a yoga pose (Tree Pose, actually), and make it a life-learning experience of observation flexibility and insight before action.
Tree Pose, shown above
The tree pose's purpose is to calm the mind and develop balance and stability (like the strong stance of a tree). It also strengthens the legs and feet, our very tools of mobility and getting to where we need to go.
Balance and flexibility. Perhaps one rule does not fit all. Perhaps each person needs to be weighed with my own personal inventory, which may change based on where I am in my life, their behaviors, and what I need to keep my world positive, clean, and in sync with my definition of those with whom I wish to share my world.
This is also a solitary card.
He's not in a crowd. And therein may lie a deeper message.
So I ask Tarot here for brief advice on the best way to proceed.
The Lovers, Reversed. Another Major Arcana card, a big lesson.
Kat Black (deck creator) says of this card reversed:
"Failure, division and frustration. Possible breakdown of a relationship."
So yes, there will be times when we need to prune the "friends" list, when someone fails to meet expectations and we feel frustration, division and then breakdown happens.
Ending the Facebook relationship is acceptable and even recommended when this happens. It becomes the sacrificial lamb for personal peace and clear space.
What About You?
Only you can decide when to be flexible (young sapling) and when to be stable (ancient oak).
Who stays and who goes?
What is your criteria?
Have you defined it yet?
A Personal Tarot Activity for You
Draw one card from your favorite tarot deck or oracle and ask:
What do I need to know about choosing friends
on Facebook or the Internet?
"Fake friends are no friends. Choose wisely."
How can you become a lie spotter ... and then go from lie spotting to truth-seeking, and eventually trust-seeking?
Pamela Meyer, author of the book Liespottting, says, "On any given day we're lied to from ten to 200 times, and the clues to detecting those lies can be subtle and counter-intuitive." Meyer, shows the manners and "hotspots" used by people trained to recognize deception—and she argues honesty is a value worth preserving. She shows us how to spot the truth in our everyday interactions. This video is worth watching.
It can be a bit more challenging on the internet, where body language and subtle interaction cues may be lacking.
“Each betrayal begins with trust.”
Here's wishing you a tarot-filled week of honest friendships.
Learn more about the secrets of reading tarot at our award-winning educational tarot podcast.
See a listing of all show topics HERE.
Categories: Life Experiences as Seen through Tarot