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4 Types of People to Unfollow on Social Media If You Have a Chronic Illness

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You know how in the “Harry Potter” series the Hogwarts’ students take a Defense Against the Dark Arts class? Well, like a good little Hufflepuff, I’m seeking to remove some of the darkness from my own life via social media.

Now, I personally hate “unfriending” anyone on Facebook because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. (However, if the person is being aggressively hateful toward me, I’ll unfriend and block them for my own sake.) But, I’ve recently become a fan of a new “defense” that keeps me from sinking into the darkness of my more negative social media friends (you know the types of Slytherins I’m talking about) – the “unfollow” button.


Let me explain how this works for the less tech-savvy – like me! If you click on a Facebook friend’s name, then click the “Following” button, you have the option of “unfollowing” that person. By unfollowing, you are still friends with the selected Facebook user. They don’t receive a notification that they’ve been unfollowed, and you will no longer see their posts.

Who do I unfollow? The people who bring more frustration than joy into my life through their social media postings. I’ve listed a few examples below.

1. Peddling Paula

Let me be very clear: I have a lot of awesome friends who sell products online, and I wholeheartedly endorse their endeavors. However, I also know people who sell health products in the absolute least sensitive manner possible. You know who I’m talking about. Peddling Paula will openly mock anyone who is sick and say they would be better if they would only buy her magic elixir. Paula will track down any post that hashtags chronic fatigue or pain in order to try to sell you overpriced vitamins that will make your hair grow, behind shrink and breath smell like daisies. Peddling Paula will make you question whether you’re doing all you can for your health – even though you’re spending every day doing physician-approved treatments for your illness. I assure you: unfollowing the peddler will make your life less complicated.

2. Pray-It-Away Paul

I’m a person of faith, and I am very grateful for the lessons of grace and compassion I have learned through my personal faith journey. I will gladly pray for you when you ask me to do so, and I believe there is power in that action. Having said all that, let’s talk about Pray-It-Away Paul. Paul is that guy who constantly posts on social media saying things like, “If you pray to remove the sin from your life, your illness/ afflictions will be over.” Or, “God blesses me with health because I thank him for it every day.” No, Paul. That’s not how it works. Prayer is not a magic spell. You can’t use it as a way to ward off illness. A person who is ill (physically or
mentally) did not choose to be in that condition simply because he/she chose not to pray enough. Instead, that person is sick because life is sometimes unfair. Fortunately, I don’t believe God is working on a merit system where He gives good things to the people who please Him and chronic illness to everyone else. So, sorry, Pray-It-Away Paul, but you’re unfollowed, because I don’t need you questioning my faith. It’s fine without your input.

3. Political Pete

I ran into Political Pete during the last election cycle. I have no clue why everyone decided to let their ugly hang out for six months or so, but, let’s be honest, it wasn’t pretty. Political Pete was the person who kept saying things like, “I can’t wait until [insert candidate of Pete’s choice here] is [insert political office of Pete’s choice here], because he/she will put all these fake disabled people back to work.” Ugh. Pete, you’re a jerk, and
you don’t even know it. Now, if Pete knows “fake disabled people” – meaning imaginary people with ailments – by all means, his imaginary friends don’t deserve any type of benefits. However, if Pete is referring to real people who are ill that he doesn’t (in his non-medical, non-professional opinion) deem sick enough to receive benefits, his opinion is not welcome in my life. I am not specifically hating on any political party. Rather, I’m saying if you are using your political opinion to demean others, then you’re a jerk, and your opinion does not need to be shared with others. Bye, Pete.

4. Pouty Petunia

Petunia is the friend that is always upset with someone or something. I get it. I have my pouty days, and I’m sure I’ve had my fair share of “woe is me” posts. We all have our Pouty Petunia moments. However, if you have a person in your life that always brings you down, limit your interaction with him/her. Petunia is the person who in one day is mad because she has a cold, commercials are loud, water is wet and once, when she was 6, someone called her a doo-doo head. Pouty Petunia will suck the life out of you in seven posts or less, and I promise, you’ll be happier if you unfollow her.

Friends, I am very grateful for social media. It has enriched my life in a powerful way by making the world of those with chronic illness feel connected. However, I am also aware of the effect it can have on me, and I strive to remove all the negativity possible. It’s OK to remove someone whose posting offers more hurt than hope. Let’s keep our Defense Against (Social Media) Dark Arts-game strong, friends!

Peace, love and health.

Follow this journey on Crazy Chronic Life.

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Thinkstock photo via StockRocket.

Originally published: June 21, 2017
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