How well do you think you know your friends on social media? You may have tweeted, Direct Messaged (DM’ed), sent messages on Facebook, and yet…do you really know them? Recently, I had an experience with someone I thought I knew who turned out to be very different. The person I thought I knew was a funny, kind, tech-savvy guy living in another part of the country. We had virtual friends in common, discussed meeting up at conferences, chatted about all kinds of things, and yet…
One evening, out of nowhere, a mutual friend contacted me and told me that this person (let’s call him Terry Rantula) had been DMing her. Terry had been ranting at her, telling her all kinds of lies about me, and she now she was warning me not to trust him. I couldn’t believe it until she forwarded me the messages–messages saying that he had “turned my business around,” and that I had not paid him “for all his hard work.” We had never worked together. Never.
Looking back, did I somehow overlook the warning signs?
Avatar Instead of a Photo
Terry only has an avatar, so really he could be anyone. He could even be a she, when you think about it. If the person doesn’t ever want to share photos of themselves, then you don’t really know who you’re talking to.
No Real Name on His Profile
His name does not appear in his tweets or on his Twitter profile. On Facebook, he uses a pseudonym. Again, without any real photo. By the way, there are some photos that you should never use as your Facebook photo.
Thinking back on it, Terry had ranted to me in the exact same way about someone else whom he said hadn’t paid him. He’d sent about 24 DMs about this person (whom I didn’t know) late one night. I had no reason to not believe him, and yet, I couldn’t understand why he’d chosen to share this information with me (it was sharing, yet it was not social). We had not been having a conversation about it–yet there were two dozen DMs all in a row. That could have been a tipoff, and yet if we were truly friends, it wouldn’t be so unusual.
Terry had complained/bragged about getting drunk. He was proud when he got beer for free. Another red flag?
Living with Parents
While living with one’s parents isn’t necessarily a negative thing, Terry kvetched that the p’s complained about noise. He couldn’t talk too loudly, and one of them had wrecked the car that was going to be his. He was about to hit a milestone birthday, and had no job, no car, and was living with his parents. That was the last time we DMed on Twitter, and all of that information came out all at once.
I wrestled with whether to share this. Now that some time has gone by, I think sharing this story might strike a chord with someone else. I don’t mean to be negative because: law of attraction. And the positives of being on social media far outweigh the negatives. But truthfully, sometimes things like this happen. I don’t really know if there’s a moral to this story because sometimes people can be unpredictable.
Even if you know someone in real life, strange things can happen. This is an unusual post for me because I don’t have this story all tied up in a pretty box with a bow on it. I just wanted to share and maybe see what other people thought.
Anything Like This Happen to You?
Can you mourn the loss of a friend you’ve never met? How did you handle it? Leave me a comment below! And you don’t have to name names!
Note: No real tarantulas were harmed in the telling of this story.