I’m a latecomer to the whole smartphone party; I got my first iphone just a couple of years ago. I have certainly made up for lost time, though. I especially love to keep track of friends (both real and virtual) through social media. I find it all harmless fun but I’ve been hearing more and more about the issues grown women are having with it. Both as a friend and as a Relief Society President I’m getting teary calls from women I know who feel bad about not being invited to a party or get-together that they’ve seen plastered all over Instagram and Facebook.

Not being invited to a party is a conundrum that has faced girls and women probably since Eve threw the first harvest celebration and forgot to include one of her granddaughters. I remember crying at being left out and the same thing happens to my daughters. Nobody wants to feel unpopular and not included. In the olden days when I was a girl, you’d hear about a birthday party you weren’t inveted to through the grapevine. Or maybe you wouldn’t. But now every lunch date and bunco party is documented for the world to see.

Part of me wants to tell women who call me with their feelings hurt that this is just part of life. We’ll never be invited to everything. Somebody will invariably get crossed off the guest list. It’s part of being the human beings that we are.

But then I stop to think about it and get angry. Why do some women feel the need to put pictures up knowing that other women, including their sisters in the gospel, will see them and feel bad? Are they ignorant? Do they not care? Do they just think, “be a big girl and deal with it! If you’re sad, that’s your problem.”

So in case you didn’t know this, let me enlighten you: when you put a picture up on Social Media that shows you and a few other people having fun, somebody will feel bad that they weren’t invited. For whatever reason, people will be sad that they weren’t there too. Take it as a compliment—people want to be with you!

If you want to brag (and let’s face it, a lot of the time it’s bragging) about the great meal you ate, how about just taking a picture of the food? Or a selfie with the restaurant sign in the background? Do you really have to prove to the world again and again that you are popular? (This isn’t high school!)

The thing we forget about social media is that there are so many opportunities to interact. No, we are not having deep conversations but there is an opportunity to build people up and there is an opportunity to tear people down. Even in one or two sentences.

Sometimes I look at Facebook in a bad mood and I feel like posting the responses to people that I really feel, “Your kids are ugly”, “you are such an idiot for voting the way you do” and “I hate dogs and they have certainly never left paw prints on my heart”. But I don’t. Because I want to be remembered as someone who had something kind or encouraging to say. (Although let’s face it, mostly I say snarky things but hopefully people will remember that I had a good sense of humor.)

My point is this: we are responsible for the things we say to others, and the feelings that we create by the pictures and updates we post. Do you teach your children to be kind and respect the feelings of other people, or do you tell them that how other kids feel is not their problem? I’m guessing that you teach your kids to consider the feelings of others; we should do the same. Yes, the reactions of other people are their own. We aren’t responsible for the feelings of the women around us; but I don’t want people to feel bad about themselves because of the things I post. Do you?

Hildie

(Blog Team) was born and raised in Detroit, but is happy to call Austin, TX home now. She majored in Art History and Geography at BYU and graduated a week before having her first baby. There have been five more babies since then. Hildie is an avid baker and tries to fatten up the people she loves.

18 Comments

  1. Ardis

    July 3, 2014

    Hmm. Do you invite everybody you know to everything you do? I try not to hurt people’s feelings, and I try just as hard not to let my feelings be hurt by others. But I’m having a hard time wrapping my head or heart around the concept that I should hide my activities with these friends for fear that those friends, with whom I just did something last week, might feel slighted.

  2. Proud Daughter of Eve

    July 3, 2014

    I’m with Ardis. I understand your point about exclusion, Hildie, but I don’t see any point to posting pictures of only myself doing things. I want to include the people I’m with and if not every one of my friends can be there, that’s no intended slight or bragging.

  3. Jo

    July 3, 2014

    It took me awhile to realize this as an adult. I used to put pictures up of everything! Not sure why honestly. I no longer feel the need to do so, with the occasional exceptions. If there was a group event and I want to share the pictures, I make a private album on Facebook that is viewable only to those who were there too. It is a sensitive issue since we’re supposed to be a ward family, yet you obviously can’t invite everyone to everything.

  4. Barb

    July 3, 2014

    I try to find the balance between not flaunting a fun outing that others may feel left out of and a sincere desire to document my life (mostly for myself and my posterity) in a convenient and accessible way. Instagram has become my scrapbook because it’s so easy to use and later print.

  5. Colleen

    July 3, 2014

    I have discussed this very topic with several of my friends. I am of the opinion that it is tacky to post photos of every social event online. My group photos are generally of family gatherings or inclusive social events where there was an obvious open invitation. Maybe I’m overly sensitive of hurting others’ feelings, but I’d prefer to be too cautious than otherwise.

  6. Tiffany W

    July 3, 2014

    Certainly something challenging to think about. I recently hosted a party with a large guest list. I agonized over that list because I knew that parking was going to be a major issue. I didn’t want to hurt people’s feeling by not inviting them but I also knew what my limitations were. In the end, i invited people with whom I had a real relationship instead of an acquaintance. I opted not to post pics on social media so I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

  7. jtg

    July 3, 2014

    For a long time I did nothing at all because I feared hurting someone’s feeling by not including them, but I realized I was holding myself hostage from building friendships. Now I just keep an obsessive spread sheet on who I last invited to what to ensure I rotate through everyone… Sigh.

  8. Melanie

    July 3, 2014

    I see where you’re coming from and I certainly think people should be thoughtful when they post photos to social media, but I have to disagree with your conclusion that we should, as a rule, avoid posting pictures of social events because others may feel left out. By that same reasoning do my friends need to stop posting photos of their kids because it makes me feel bad that I don’t have any? Should I not post photos of a trip because someone might not be able to afford a vacation?

    When I feel left out or overlooked or forgotten by friends I try to use it as an opportunity to evaluate myself as a friend. How much effort have I recently put into reaching out to include others or make my friends feel noticed and important? I’m nowhere near close to perfect in doing this but looking at things from this perspective helps to take the sting away.

    • jsd079

      July 4, 2014

      I like what you said in the last paragraph. I often do the same thing and evaluate what type of friend I have been over the last few months. This is a tricky subject, but social relationships take work and effort. You’re not going to have friends by sitting in your home and throwing a pity party for yourself because you don’t have friends. Those throwing parties often make friendships a high priority in their lives. I see nothing wrong with posting images of group parties on IG. It is simply impossible to invite every person you know to a party, and those putting forth the time and effort to be a good friend are the ones getting invited.

  9. M2theh

    July 3, 2014

    Life isn’t a 3rd grade birthday party where the whole class has to be invited or you can’t hand out tickets. We should be sensitive to people who might feel left out, but everyone can’t come to everything.

    I had a SIL mad at me for 4 months because I invited my dad and brother (not her husband) over for leftovers. And there were no pics on Facebook of us eating leftover stew.

    I’ve been left out of things, which can be a bummer but lets me know I need to plan my own party.

  10. Olea

    July 4, 2014

    I have spent the last 18 months in London, and I’m about to go to Seattle for at least a year, and the inside jokes my siblings post on Facebook make me feel more connected to their lives. So, even though, probably, there are people who feel left out by their photos or conversations, I’m glad they post them. If you use Facebook as a way to improve and develop your personal relationships, I love to see those posts! They’re much more heartwarming than “inspirational” quotes.

    Of course, we should be open to noticing other people’s emotions – and we should definitely cultivate a welcoming attitude to others, so they will feel comfortable to share how they feel – but we I don’t think we should avoid posting expressions of genuine love in case it affects someone else. Communication is key!

  11. Katie

    July 4, 2014

    I agree that we should be sensitive to our friends’ feelings, but I don’t agree that we’re responsible for all the feelings people feel in response to our actions. That’s just not true. That sounds like “We’re responsible for the thoughts boys have about us if we show our shoulders”. I just can’t get behind that. Don’t intentionally post pictures you know might hurt someone’s feelings, but, I wouldn’t go so far as to never post a picture of my friends on social media- that’s a little extreme.

  12. Kristine A

    July 4, 2014

    I see both sides too. I think many women never left high school and enjoy being “popular” and someone others envy.

    But if you want to be invited, host your own party. Make your own awesomeness. Don’t call your RS pres crying, that’s also a sign you may still be just as emotionally in HS as the others.

    Wards are not meant to fill all of your social needs, and no one is required to put you in their circle.

    Make your own circle!

    I’m glad I don’t Instagram because I just don’t care. About other ppls pictures.

  13. Kristine A

    July 4, 2014

    That being said, I don’t post pictures of my social/friends stuff unless it’s my actuall HS friends annual reunion. There’s still a way I can save them in my memory book without having to post every fab thing in my life on the internets.

  14. Tiffany W

    July 4, 2014

    A quick question, why on earth do women call the Relief society president to complain about being left out from an event? I mean, really! Aren’t we grown women capable of dealing with social issues without an adult to referee? Sounds an awful lot like tattling.

  15. Kerri

    July 4, 2014

    I’ve thought a lot about this problem as well as the bigger problem of how to have fun with dear friends without hurting the feelings of those who feel left out of those relationships, and I don’t have a great solution.

    Last year I felt inspired to gather some friends for a fundraising breakfast at my home. I agonized over who to invite so that I didn’t create hurt feelings, but couldn’t invite everyone I knew. I felt like it was successful until someone came to my door in the middle of the breakfast to tell us how thoughtless I was for not inviting her. I felt terrible, but I didn’t have a good solution for how to host a small party without creating feelings of exclusion so I haven’t done it since, which makes me sad, too! (And I certainly wasn’t posting pictures on IG!)

    No easy answers here.

  16. Lara Slemon

    July 4, 2014

    I tend to invite pretty much everyone, especially people I know won’t come. I’ve never ended up with too many people to feed (and I’ve had a couple loaves/fishes miracles)…but I know everyone is different about capacity. I don’t usually post photos of small parties with just a few people. I take them, but keep them for myself.

    I’ve definitely felt hurt over the years–there have been times I had estimated a friendship to be one way (always including them in our family/friend events, etc.) and figured they didn’t reciprocate because they were busy/tired/sick…then read their blog and realized that we were literally the only family in our age/kid situation in the ward they didn’t invite over on a regular basis. It was pretty hurtful, and with social media it became apparent there were several people I considered good friends that fell into this category. Maybe it makes me emotionally still in high school (I’ve never complained to the RS president about it though, does that count?), but it made me sad.

    I get not everyone gets invited to everything, I don’t expect to be. For whatever reason, there are a lot of things that happen with the women in my ward; craft nights, play dates, trips to the beach, picnics, lunches, that I’m not invited to. I still invite these women and their kids to my home and to our activities, and try to remember that everyone has their comfort zone (apparently, I’m incredibly uncomfortable to be around lol). I do think that no one likes to be left out continually–practically on a weekly basis, while having the documentation of those events made really public.

    What social media has done for me, is make me realize how easy it to appear that their are definite cliques within the women at church. Not just circles of friends, but actual cliques. Groups of women who could invite others–space is not an issue if you’re headed to the park–and choose not to, all the time. And I’m not convinced the etiquette my mom taught me of not handing out invitations to people at church or school so others’ feelings wouldn’t be hurt, is something we outgrow. Do you need to invite me just because we’re friendly? No. Do you need to post a public recap of how much fun you had without me? All the time? Erm, that seems like you just handed the two girls on either side of me an invite and deliberately ignored me. You’re not responsible for my feelings, but you are responsible for being polite and kind.

    No perfect solution, I meant this to be balanced; it’s not so much. Social media is still a new animal for lots of people, and transferring old rules of etiquette to new avenues can be complicated. Ultimately, all I can do is take ownership of my feelings and get over the “ouch” moments, and try to make sure that I avoid making others feel the same way if I can.

    • JP

      July 4, 2014

      Although this has nothing to do with instagram, exactly, when I was a ward YW president, I had younger counselors and whenever we had a get together, they would always come to my house as would many of the girl’s moms, etc. but I realized to my chagrin that I was not being invited to my counselor’s parties or get togethers. That was when I concluded that I was in my 50’s and they were in their 30’s. We were friends but not buddies. It sort of hurt my feelings a little at first but then I realized they were my daughters age so it really should not have been a surprise. The real surprise was that I was getting older and although I didn’t feel older inside, I just did not fit in with that age group as a pal. Oh, I know we can have friends in any age group, but to really hang out together? Something to think about.

Comments are closed.

RELATED POSTS