Warning: This is a rant.
Today I taught Joy School and one of the little boys was going on and on about how he was having a Birthday party, but that only two people were coming and all the fun things they were going to do. I told him that it wasn't very nice to talk about something that not everyone was invited to. He kept talking about it and then proceeded to talk about how one of his friends was coming over to play that afternoon, but that no one else could come. I kindly reminded him of what I had said earlier, but he wouldn't stop so finally I pulled him aside and asked, "Are you trying to make people feel bad?" He looked at me with his beautiful brown eyes, shook his head, and said, "No." I replied that I knew that and that I knew that he was a very nice boy and that it wasn't polite to keep talking about things in front of people who weren't invited -- not that it was a secret, just that it was a little bit rude. I know that I was probably being sensitive because my own son was one that was being excluded, and had been many times before by this same boy who he considers a friend. I also know that this little boy isn't trying to be mean, he is just young and doesn't know better and he is probably just really excited about his friends.
And yet -- and yet! I wanted to also say -- and after your party don't post pictures of it all over the internet! Adults do this on facebook all.the.time. Otherwise completely lovely and kind people do this. I have kept my mouth shut, but I cannot take it anymore! It is as if, with the advent of facebook, all basic laws and rules of common courtesy and politeness have completely flown right out of the window and I'd like to rein it in, if you will. I understand that people get excited about their own lives and activities. I know that people who get offended about not being invited to things should grow up and not be so immature, but by that same token the other side is that people should not be so childish as to ignore the fact that they could be hurting other people's feelings. It is a basic human need to feel accepted and included so no matter how people may try to not feel bad, sometimes they just can't help it. And I know -- I know! that you cannot invite 600 people with you every time you go out to dinner or have a game night at your house. I completely understand that, but it is also not a requirement to plaster proof of those same events all over your wall if not everyone was invited. In some cases that might be okay. Say you're at a church event and you post some fun photos from that night. Your neighbors aren't going to feel bad because they're not part of that group. Or a family thing -- great, post away! But if you're just having a get together with a few friends, why don't you just keep it to yourself? There are lots of ways in which you can still express your excitement about that activity. If you must do it on facebook there is a way to do a private message with all of those involved and you can even attach photos! Alternatively, you could create a little group which only includes the exclusive group with whom you enjoy getting together. Everyone can post pictures and have all kinds of conversations about all of the fun things that you do without everyone else! You could send a text message -- most people can even get photos on their phones! So you could have a lot of fun with that! Or you could even call your friend and talk about what a great time you just had! But if someone is with your friend, who wasn't invited, they might ask you to call back another time, because talking about it in front of them would be rude, right? You could even take the old-fashioned route and go print photos from your fun night and send them by mail to your friend with a little note recounting all of the great things that you did together. See? So many options!
Now I'm just going to pull you aside and say, Are you trying to make someone feel bad? And you're going to look back at me with your beautiful eyes, through which I can see what kind of a person you are inside, and you're going to shake your head and say no. No. You don't want to make someone's stomach ache with hurt when they read your comment. You don't want to make someone cry from loneliness or rejection when they see your picture. It could be someone who is usually invited and wasn't that time, who wonders why they were left out, why they weren't chosen. Or perhaps you have one or two facebook friends who never get invited to anything and they just saw your post and feel completely horrible. You don't want to make someone, anyone, feel like that do you? No, no you don't. So stop it!