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Ebb and flow of friendship

When I first came out, I anticipated people no longer wanting to be friends with me--either in the real sense of the word, or in the Facebook sense (or both).  At that time, I stated "I will not harbor any ill feelings against you and if you ever decide to change your mind and befriend me again, I will welcome your friendship with open arms and a happy heart."  And that is still how I feel.

Over the last year and a half, I have had many people unfriend me.  In fact, I'd estimate around 100.  But, also during that time (especially over the last month or so), I have had several people re-friend me. I imagine some people were simply upset at something I said--perhaps something anti-religious or anti-Mormon--and unfriended me in anger, but then later calmed down and decided to forgive me.  I'm grateful for the forgiveness of others.  And I never mean to offend people, even when I say something that I know many will interpret as offensive.  I imagine other people unfriended me because they didn't know exactly how to process the information that I'm gay--they didn't know exactly how they felt about homosexuality, perhaps they had never given it much thought before--and they needed time to think about it before seeing me as a friend.  At any rate, for whatever reason, I am truly happy to see people re-friend me.  I like seeing old friendships reforged.

I also wanted to share how unfriending and refriending affects me personally.  If I post something anti-religious (for example) and someone unfriends because of that, my immediate impulse is to post something even more strongly anti-religious.  Why?  I don't know.  It doesn't exactly seem logical to me.  But, that's the impulse that I have.  That's my immediate reaction.  That's how I feel.  On the other hand, when someone refriends me, my impulse is to post something more diplomatic.  I want to perhaps apologize for being so opinionated, or perhaps attempt to build bridges.  Again, whether that's logical or not I couldn't say, I just know it's my impulse.  My knee-jerk reaction to being refriended.

Of all the people that have refriended me, I have always been happy to see their friend request, and I have always immediately and gladly accepted.  I cannot hold a grudge for the time lost wherein we could have been friends but weren't.  There's already been that loss of time, and I don't want to make it any longer than it was.  I want to be friends with anyone who will befriend me.  I want to make peace, not war.  I want all of my friends to know that I am grateful for them being my friends.  I am grateful for the society of all of my acquaintances, including all of my Facebook friends that I have never met in real life, and especially all of my close friends and family members.  There are many more dear friends from whom I am anxiously waiting to hear.  Each person who refriends me after having unfriended me gives me renewed hope for the trend to continue--for these dear friends to want to be part of my life again.

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