Friday, May 8, 2009

You Can't Make Them Be Your Friends

For years now I've tried to develop friendships in cyberspace. I've participated at message boards. I created a blog. I joined facebook. At first it appeared I was making friends. Then I noticed cliques developing and I was not invited to join. There are message board cliques, blogger cliques and facebook … well … it's pointless and, quite frankly, childish.

I made the mistake of thinking I could fit in with the LDS communities (active, inactive and former members). I found that because I was not brought up in the LDS Church, I was on the outside looking in. I was the only member of the Church in my immediate family. I joined the Church when I was 19 years old because I wanted to have something in common with my future husband.

I was a member of record from March 1972 until November 1980. My husband and I were fairly active in the Church while living in Queens, New York. We held multiple callings (concurrently). We were, I'd like to believe, respected in our ward. We were not married in the temple, but felt we were heading toward having our marriage sealed.

Then we made the fatal mistake of moving to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1978. My husband had second thoughts about moving there. I felt since we had started making arrangements to move, we should just do it. Also, I thought it would be so uplifting to live among the Saints in Utah. Such was not the case. It was there that we saw the hypocrisy of the members. It was there we felt unwelcome. We were "strangers" in the wards we attended. Yes, we had some "assigned friends," but we knew their friendship was not genuine.

We chose to be excommunicated from the Church in November 1980. At that time, you could not send in a letter of resignation. From that time forward, I kept my distance from the LDS Church. Then along came the Internet, and I found myself being pulled back into mingling with the Saints in cyberspace.

My first experience was with the on-line group Recovery from Mormonism ("RfM"). It was there that my husband and I found kindred spirits. My husband wrote his story and submitted it to RfM. His story can now be found among the hundreds of exit stories.

For several years I harbored deep resentment toward the Church and its members. My feelings started to change when I found the message board LDS Women. I thought I was accepted by these women, that was until I wrote something that irritated two women on the board. They could not understand why I would want to associate with them if I was not a faithful, active Latter-day Saint woman. Their written attacks on me were vicious. In the end, the administrator of the message board discontinued sponsoring it. LDS Women bit the dust.

As for blogging … I have two blogs, one public and one private. At first I enjoyed blogging, especially when someone posted a comment. But then I started looking at other blogs and realized I am not "popular." Sure, I have numerous lurkers, but few, if any, care to leave a comment. I thought I might shut down my public blog. I told my husband it's like I've been banging my head against the wall and a voice told me "You do know you can stop doing that." Today I decided to add this post.

Recently, a light went on when I read these words: "You can't make them be your friends." That is so true. I was trying to "make" people in cyberspace be my friend. I have learned that it's impossible to do that, at least for me.


Anonymous said...

Maybe you should get off the computer and try to make friends in real life.

Anon2 said...

I followed a link here from Papa D's blog. It's the first time I've seen yours.

I have a blog, too, and of course the more people comment the more I love it. I look forward to hearing from the same steady group of participants. I understand what you're asking for here.

Read your post again, though, and imagine who might comment. As far as I can see, the only possible responses are, "Yeah, those Mormons are horrible and you're better off without them!" or "What are you talking about? Friendships are things you build and invest in; they aren't handed to you as ready made packages, whether it's Utah or Florida, Mormon or Buddhist."

Neither kind of response is going to lead to any discussion, just to people taking sides.

I may return here to see if you've left any response, and if possible to chat with you. But I don't return to blogs as a general rule unless there is something there for me to discuss, and you have given me nothing to discuss here.

In other words, if the crickets are chirping, try something else. Send up fireworks that draw people here and that drown out the crickets. Don't just sprinkle cricket food on the ground and dare people to prove you wrong by commenting.

TB said...

Anonymous, you're rude and for the record Kalola DOES have friends in real life and I happen to be one of them. If you're not going to add anything of substance to her post why even bother commenting?

I understand about wanting comments since I have a blog as well, but it's never really been a big deal to me if I get comments. We're definitely different in that aspect. I'm on Facebook too but I've never noticed a clique. I miss seeing you on there though and hope that you'll come back.

Oh and there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to make friends online in addition to real life.

Kalola said...

TB, thank you for confirming that I do, in fact, have some friends in real life. As for Facebook, I just can't seem to get the hang of it. I've mentioned in the past that I'm a techno-virgin. LOL

Anonymous ~ I am, for the most part, a shy person and very often consider myself a misfit. My life experiences, I feel, are quite different from other bloggers. Also, when it comes to making friends IRL and on-line, I admit I have trust issues.

Anon2 ~ Thank you for commenting. I'd be interested in learning what issues you like to discuss. I try to make my posts comment-worthy and to encourage discussions. Alas, I'm often quite clueless as to what to post on my blog.

I have been told I should write whatever interests me, so that's what I do. As the saying goes: "Different strokes for different folks."

TB said...

Why is it always the people who claim to be tolerant who usually end up being mean and nasty? I think that's the biggest problem I have with organized religion.

I used to attend a church in Oakland and left once I saw how hypocritical it was. My old church feels that if you're no longer a part of them, regardless of whether you're leaving to go to another church or leaving the religion completely, then they feel justified in completely shutting you out.

How is that acting like Christlike? Like you I also harbored resentment toward that church and the people who attended (it was non-denominational Christian). I like reading your blogs and hope that you continue to post things. Maybe I'll overcome my shyness and post more often instead of lurking all the time.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog ever since you first started it (I think- linked from MC a couple of years ago? I used to comment as "a silent friend")- and seen you go through the gamut of erasing posts, deleting the entire blog (more than once) going private (more than once) and trying so hard to write about what you think will interest others instead of saying what you really think. I have to say, I think this is by far the most honest post you've ever made!

I don't say that to imply that you've been dishonest up to this point, but you haven't really been true to yourself a lot of the time, have you? I hope you keep blogging but BE YOURSELF! We're all outcasts in one way or another- embrace that and run with it! Please keep searching for your own truth, and don't allow your happiness to depend on the approval of others.

Andrew S said...

I just came here rather randomly (followed a link from Papa D's blog as someone else said), and I guess I'm not the best person to comment (so I wonder why I'm persisting), but if I may be an armchair psychologist, I would ask something about a comment you had made with respect to anon2:

Thank you for commenting. I'd be interested in learning what issues you like to discuss. I try to make my posts comment-worthy and to encourage discussions. Alas, I'm often quite clueless as to what to post on my blog.Isn't this your blog? Don't you have to decide what things interest you and then just press forward with them?

I have to mimic some of Anon2's comments. What kind of comments could come about from certain posts? Could there conceivably be further dialgoue?

Just a few thoughts I had.

Anonymous said...

I check in every once in awhile and the problem I have is all your posts have something to do with the LDS religion that you want no part of. I know there are feelings towards the church/members and things that happened and that's fine, each person is entitled that. But like has already been stated I don't feel like I know who you are or what you enjoy. It all seems to be quotes from talks and trying to make other people happy so they will comment and be your friend. Be yourself and you'll be surprised at how people will gravitate toward you.

Stephanie said...

I'm sorry to hear you've had some rough experiences. Good luck. I enjoy checking in on your blog when I have a chance.

Mormon Heretic said...


I came here via Faithful Dissident's blog. I must agree with others--be yourself. I often say things that are unpopular, so don't let that bother you. FD and I think very much alike on many issues, and we've become good cyber-friends. If you speak your mind, I'm sure you'll find kindred spirits.

My brother always tells me to delete comments that don't add to the conversation, especially if they're rude. It's your blog, after all, and you don't need to put up with rude people.