Gone. Motherhood is hard enough without having to put up with someone who has mistaken it for a competition. The drama queen whose status flips between "engaged" to "single" to "my new boyfriend has the biggest cock ever!"? She stayed for her entertainment value.
I also went through and checked my privacy settings for everyone. Limited profile is a wonderful thing: you don't have the awkwardness of ignoring an inappropriate friend request from someone you don't want to offend, because you can just add them to your list of people who see nothing but your name and a blank wall should they actually look at your Facebook page.
Some people were on this list from the beginning, like my former boss turned back-stabbing co-worker. Others were casual work friends who now report directly to me, and I no longer feel comfortable with them seeing all the details of my personal life. It made me laugh when I went to a few people's pages to set them to "limited profile" and saw they had done the same. I happily deleted those people with no hard feelings; obviously our acquaintance had run its course.
With all this maintenance work and exposure to frenemies, why do I bother with Facebook at all? Despite the negatives, I like having the opportunity to keep up with friends I might otherwise lose touch with due to distance or just our busy lives. I work full-time (on maternity leave right now) and have two kids under the age of three, so there isn't much time for in-person socializing.
Facebook also helps me keep up with my family, who isn't very close. My sister is three years younger than me and my brother six years. I've often felt sad as I've gotten older to realize most families have a closer bond than ours. Growing up I didn't know that other kids heard "I love you" more often than once a year or that some mothers hugged their children every day. I just thought that all families were cold and distant.
When I first started blogging, I secretly hoped that my blog might open conversations with my family and help us get to know each other as adults. What I didn't realize is that they didn't want to know me. One day when I mentioned a post, my mother turned to me and said, "I'm never going to read your blog. That's not how I communicate. If you want to tell me something, you'll have to call me and tell me." I switched to an anonymous blog and moved on. At least there was still Facebook.
Having finished my Facebook clean-up that day, I decided to catch up with some family members, leaving a "happy birthday" on a cousin's wall, admiring my sister's new shoes and smiling at another cousin's new baby pictures. I wondered what my brother was up to and clicked over to his page.
His wall was blank.
I stared at the screen, hitting "refresh" a few times in case Internet Explorer had forgotten to load part of the page again. The wall remained blank, a silent slap across the face.
It's OK, I guess. We're not close anyway.
So why does it hurt so much?
Update: After a few people asked whether I was sure my brother didn't just post infrequently, I decided to go look at his page again. The blank wall came up as I remembered and I felt a twinge of sadness again. As I went to close the tab, my hand brushed the touchpad and the auto scroll came on, rolling the window down to show 2008-2012, all 28 posts. The stupid Facebook timeline makes it look like the wall is blank if there are no recent posts - it used to show the most current post at the top no matter how old it was.
I have been laughing at my dumbass self ever since. I'm so glad I didn't say anything to him and have him show me this. I would never live it down.