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Article of the Week: Sociopathic Archetypes of the Great Unfriending

Excerpted from Political Polarization and Unfriending by Warren Olson at Matt Christiansen Media

While I try to keep on friendly terms with those with whom I often disagree and enjoy both online and in-person political discussions, my experience has been some lefties are unable to do so without becoming continually trolly or resorting to personal attacks. For me, such bad faith can be grounds for dismissal. More often, though, I have been on the receiving end and have experienced enough of it to be able to categorize the experiences into different styles that say something about the personality type of the lefty doing the unfriending. Nowadays this most often takes place online on social media.

The Distancer: This is probably the most common form of unfriending. The person who can’t handle your different viewpoints just reduces interaction with you, maybe stops inviting you to events or becomes unresponsive to your attempts to initiate in-person or online interaction. It might take a while for you to realize the distancer has unfriended you, as it may not look much like any other form of two people drifting apart over time.

The Ghoster: This type acts stealthily and without warning. Usually quite suddenly, the ghoster will end all contact and block you on social media, from email, and their phone. Ghosting involves a definitive decision that you are now an unperson because of something you said or wrote. It may take some time before you realize you’ve been ghosted.

The Savior: At some point before unfriending you, the savior will pull you aside privately to have an earnest heart-to-heart conversation to discuss the wickedness of your political ways. The savior will end it by indicating there is hope for maintaining your relationship if you are able to accept the light, renounce your old views and repent, or at the very least keep your opinions to yourself. The savior believes he is being virtuous by displaying such magnanimity toward you.

The Drama Queen: This type will rather suddenly enter into a highly-charged tirade on how evil you are for not sharing her views and how she cannot be associated with you because “you’re not the person I thought you were”. She will permanently end contact with you with a sarcastic “Have a nice life!” as if to wish death upon you.

The Virtue Sniveler: This type waits for an opportunity to make a big scene out of the process of unfriending you to display her virtue to a broader audience. She will typically do so in a political conversation you may have gotten into with her on her social media post encouraging her friends to read Robin D’Angelo’s “White Fragility”. She will scold you for your bigotry before unfriending you and go on a virtue-sniveling tirade on not accepting bigotry among friends for all to see.

The Passive-Aggressive: This is the person who announces, “Unfriend me if………” on her Facebook page, or tells you, “I don’t think I can be friends with you if………”. The ifs are almost always followed by hallmark words of leftist moral outrage – Trump, racist, transphobic, homophobia, etc. The passive-aggressive wants you to do the work of unfriending her because it enables her to claim the moral high ground. She is giving you the option of silence if you value your relationship with her over your own conscience to speak your beliefs.

Political scientist Zach Goldberg has done some of the most extensive research on the rapidly changing political ideology of white liberals over the last decade that is remaking American politics, and the relationship between media, especially digital media, and the change in those attitudes, something he characterizes at the “digitalization of moral outrage”. This contrasts with the relative stability of attitudes of white conservatives.

“Due at least in part to digital media, white liberal attitudes that more or less endured for decades have been drastically overturned in the space of months or single years. In contrast, the attitudes of white conservatives – and conservatives in general – have moved at a more glacial pace, if at all. For liberals, the lack of awareness of how fast and far their attitudes have shifted fosters an illusion of conservative extremism. In reality, the conservatives of today and not all that different from the conservatives of years past. And it’s the frustration with white conservatives’ inability or reluctance to keep pace with liberals on the path to enlightenment that is intensifying our political divide.”

It is curious to me that I have lost so many friends in recent years that I have known for as much as three decades when my own views are, if anything, significantly more moderate than the more doctrinaire conservative views I held in my younger Reaganite days, at least on matters of economic and foreign policy. That was before the age of social media, but I certainly was not shy about expressing my views. Back then my liberal acquaintances were tolerant of those views, but now some consider them to be beyond the pale.

RTWT AT Political Polarization and Unfriending by Warren Olson at Matt Christiansen Media

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Richard August 5, 2021, 12:59 PM

    Reading the above, I’m supremely thankful that I was born in the early 1950s. Other than the occasional clique – which I couldn’t have cared less about – this sort of crap just wasn’t an issue. It’s a puzzle to me how so many become distraught over a bunch of digital wraiths unfriending them. Worse, I believe most would enter into a profound clinical depression were anything to happen to their precious phones.
    It really is a testament to the superior advanced living standard that we enjoy, that these people get their knickers in a twist over something so manifestly unimportant.

  • Dirk August 5, 2021, 1:38 PM

    Imagine if you will, zero social media footprint! Refreshing actually!

    Prefer the fellowship of actual animals over retards

  • ghostsniper August 5, 2021, 3:01 PM

    I don’t do fuckbook or twatter or any of the other nonsense so most of the above seems like something school kids would do.

    “Unfriend” you? srsly
    Why would any sane human give one runny shit if some silly ass unfriended them?
    What am I missing here?
    Maybe Vox’s “Night of the Pillow” is true but misdirected?
    I long for the days of usenet where even the trolls were mostly honest and easily spotted and being “unfriended” by a nitwit was a badge of honor. PLONK!

  • EX-Californian Pete August 5, 2021, 3:14 PM

    FacistBook? FarceBook? FagsBook? FakeBook? Not sure which one describes it best.
    I was on it a long time ago for maybe 2 weeks, then found out what an invasive POS it was. A couple of my black hat buds filled me in on the gazillion ways it tracks your every move, so I dumped it, deleted all files it left on my PC, and when a couple “popped back up” later, put a new hard drive and memory cards in my PC.

    And it’s gotten worse way since then- especially the political manipulation and censorship.

  • Jay August 5, 2021, 4:45 PM

    I’m afraid I’m guilty, under my main FB profile, one where I basically am apolitical, of unfollowing people who eventually reach a breaking point of going on ad nauseum about certain things. For instance, after Trump was elected, everything was Cheeto-in-Chief this or that. I let it go for perhaps as long as two years before I snapped.

    Once in a while I’ll look at the person’s page directly. I’ll let things be entirely out of hand leading up to an election, for instance, but then when it’s worse after the election, I might be done. More often I’ll snooze them for 30 days until the current whatever they are on about wears off.

    Conversely, I sometimes change who can see what I post to exclude people who have been obnoxious in some way, but I don’t necessarily want to unfriend. It’s not always about politics and such. I don’t even use Twitter any longer, but still have an account. Twitter helpfully would send me email updates of what people posted, and they tended to go heavily on someone I used to be close to online.

    After he became successful, he morphed from libertarian into a Biden boosting, Trump-hating member of the technofascist crowd. Intelligent and should know better, so it’s inexplicable to me. Except it’s not new to be leftist to protect wealth, forgetting economics that are actually good for the masses. Conversely, I wonder how many people, even being apolitical, expressly don’t follow me on that account. The interaction is near zero. Either it’s shadow usership (they are there but don’t REALLY use the platform), or people choosing not to see what I post. Blogosphere increasingly seems better than walled garden.

  • ghostsniper August 5, 2021, 6:11 PM

    @Jay, what is the point of all that stuff?
    What am I not getting?

  • gwbnyc August 5, 2021, 7:15 PM

    Soon after 11/3/20 I suspect my “political activism” brought my dismissal by three, I imagined, friends. Response to texts and email ceased. I never imposed, for that matter discussed my political stance with them at any time. I’ve been thrown out of a lot of places, sometimes flown out, and I’m enured to the effects.

    But they’re still felt.

  • julie August 5, 2021, 7:17 PM

    I have a weekly Zoom meeting with a study group across the country. Mostly retirees, they are absolutely terrified of the coof. All vaccinated, of course, but today they were expressing their rage and bewilderment at family members – often sons and daughters, healthy adults – who have refused the stab. They won’t visit face-to-face, they can barely stand to talk with them. They blame them for the resurgence of cases in their area, and they admit an increasing feeling that if their unvaxxed loved ones get sick, they get what they deserve.

    There’s no sense of compassion, no attempt to understand why someone who they otherwise love and respect would refuse the vaccine, just this overpowering rage, fear, even sense of betrayal, that someone else would say, “no thanks, I’m not at risk, it doesn’t seem worth it for me.”

    They have talked about how miraculous it was to have these children. Yet now, they talk as though they hate these same miracles, these blessings from God. So blinded, they can’t even connect their feelings with what we were studying today: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…”

    God help us all.

  • Jack Lawson August 5, 2021, 8:57 PM

    I have yet to understand the social media farce… I’ve never participated.

    It reminds me of listening to Mrs. Kienitz gossip about other people on our rural farm ‘party line’ phone system, where only one person, of 20 or so connected to the same line, could use the phone line at a time.

    I would have to interrupt her as so… “Mrs. Kienitz, I need to call the John Deere dealer to see if they have a part for our combine” to which she’d say cheerfully… “Okay Jack… I’ll hang up!” The two faces of Mrs. Kienitz… the snarly one as she was slinging shytte at some person… and the cheerful and friendly one to me.

    Just like ‘party line’ comments would be made that would never be spoken in public… up the ante some and put a computer screen between two people and they will communicate comments to each other that would never be said face to face… for fear of knives being drawn.

    Social Media bares the real hidden character of most people just like our rural ‘party line’ phone system did…

    If it doesn’t work for you… just like anything else… don’t buy it or use it.

    But just like Mrs. Kienitz… the pussies amongst us cannot resist to ‘gossip.’ You guilty are fueling this system… and it is not your friend.

    Jack Lawson
    Member, Sully H. deFontaine Special Forces Association Chapter 51, Las Vegas, Nevada
    Author of “The Slaver’s Wheel”, “A Failure of Civility,” “And We Hide From The Devil,” “Civil Defense Manual” and “In Defense.”

    “The willingness to stand in Harm’s Way and if necessary, without hesitation, sacrifice your life so that others may live… is the supreme spirit of mankind” – An anonymous American Soldier

  • jwm August 5, 2021, 9:02 PM

    I keep a facebarf account only because that is the way the whole cycling scene keeps current with rides, and events. And I pimp it for a few hits on the blog. But I no longer participate in any discussion, or visit the dump other than to check the “private” (ha ha) channel to trade notes with my club members. A while back I started at the bottom of the “friends list”, and just nuked over a hundred, including my brother, who’s a world class New York leftie. Eventually I just got bored, and quit nuking accounts.

    Julie, that story is a heart breaker. Last spring I had a hope that maybe, just maybe we’d all be able to breathe easy again. But it was just the constrictor snake allowing us to exhale. More and more the crush gets tighter, and tighter. The fear mongers have cranked it up to eleven. I’m right at the LA/Orange county line, so I can escape a little of the mask insanity, but only a little. It’s like a sequel to last winter’s horror movie: RETURN OF THE FACELESS.
    I broke out of the back yard the other day for a quick cruise on the bike. I rolled down to the park for a smoke, and some quiet time under the trees. Except for one homeless guy the park was empty. About an hour later I pedaled out. School is back in session. High school kids were crossing the boulevard for lunch. All neatly masked. Nearly full voluntary compliance. High school kids.
    The pill is black. Vanta black.


  • PA Cat August 6, 2021, 1:58 AM

    For julie–
    About your angry study group members– I don’t know whether the following will help, but in case it does– I gained some understanding of the relationship between fear and anger when I was attending Al-Anon meetings some years back to cope with an alcoholic stepfather. It became obvious to me as people in the group talked about their difficulties with their family alcoholics that fear and anger are conjoined-twins emotions (we can’t say “Siamese twins” any more); IOW, when a person is experiencing intense fear, anger is just below the surface, and vice versa. Your group members are terrified of the “coof,” so it’s predictable that they lash out in rage at anyone who disagrees with their view of the virus, even their own children.

    And then there’s the way social media and Zoom lure people into amping up their emotions on any subject. I have never had an account with either Zuckerberg’s or Dorsey’s platforms because I saw early on that they encourage users to shelve the ego and the superego (to use Freud’s terms) and allow the id to run amok.

    Meanwhile, I wish you well and will keep you in my prayers.

  • Sam L. August 6, 2021, 7:35 AM

    You’re better off without them.

  • Annie Rose August 6, 2021, 7:37 AM

    I pulled the FB plug in November 2019. It was simply getting too unbearable to read the increasingly shrill and hateful comments being flung around by people who I knew and had genuinely liked, until they let their masks slip when they began advocating “re-education” camps for those who held opposing political views. It felt strange at first, but after a couple of months I realized that my entire outlook on life had improved, I wasn’t ruminating over crazy comments, and I actually had more time to do better things. It was truly freeing. Then last April, I volunteered to join a local board of fellow crafters. They asked me to promote our guild across social media. The looks of shock and disbelief when I told them that I wasn’t plugged in to FB, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Snap Chat was amazing. They then all shared how awful they thought these platforms were, but how they still were on them every day for hours. For those who belong to groups where they update activities and get-togethers on FB, you can get rid of your FB page and still see recent posts on these groups. Just search the name of the group plus FB homepage. Ask them to send out group email blasts as well and tell them that you are no longer on FB and Twitter. The more people unplug from these time wasters, the more groups will go back to other means of communicating.

    Julie, I would encourage you to begin searching for a new online prayer group, if you feel unable to gently confront their Un-Christian views. Did Jesus shun lepers, cripples, adulterers, and even tax collectors (considered the most vile of all)? No. He welcomed them and admonished those who would shun them. The words “fear not” are mentioned in the Bible 366 times. Those in your prayer group are going against His words and actions when they shun their own children. Who do they imagine will be there some day in their final moments to comfort them if not their children?

    When we are continuously exposed to those who have bitter hearts in our faith groups, it can begin to pull us away from the purpose of meeting together and our faith. Surround yourself with those who will support you in your growth and be careful of those who would lead you away from that path. Don’t be afraid to offer them another point of view. Be strong like Debra. Fear not.

  • ghostsniper August 6, 2021, 8:43 AM

    The reason poor behavior exists is because everyone has their own custom justification for it but the harsh reality is that the poor behavior itself is the justification. Everybody is an addict to something.

  • LS August 6, 2021, 10:21 AM

    Worse is when someone cuts you off based on third-party information, erroneous or not.
    Then again, if they didn’t have the decency to come to you for the facts first-hand, you’re probably better off without them.

  • julie August 6, 2021, 11:35 AM

    To those who responded to my comment, thank you. I think I’ll only be meeting with them for the next two weeks or so, as they are/were (depending on mask & vaccine fears) planning to resume in-person sessions, at a time that doesn’t work for me. Even so, it’s not right to simply vanish and say nothing. I didn’t speak up during the meeting, because I wanted to think and pray carefully and (as much as possible) dispassionately about what I had to say. For me sometimes, it is better in writing.

    These are people I care about deeply, who in all other ways are decent, loving, earnest, God-seeking people. First and foremost, I am praying for them, and praying especially that the bonds of fear may be released from their hearts so that they can move forward with wisdom and compassion, especially in regards to their family members.

    Lord, have mercy.